Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Tournefort, Joseph Pitton de
TOURNEFORT, Joseph Pitton de (1656-1708), a botanist of considerable reputation, was born at Aix, in Provence, in 1656. He studied in the convent of the Jesuits at Aix, and was destined for the church, but the death of his father left him free to follow his botanical inclinations. After a couple of years collecting, he studied medicine at Montpellier, but soon returned to his favourite pursuit, and was appointed professor of botany at the Jardin des Plantes in 1683. By the king's order he travelled through western Europe, where he made very extensive collections, and subsequently spent three years in Greece and Asia Minor (1700-1702). Of this journey a description in a series of letters was posthumously published in 3 vols. (Relation d un Voyage du Levant, Lyons, 1717). His principal work is entitled Institutiones Rei Herbarise, (3 vols., Paris, 1700), and upon this rests chiefly his claims to remembrance as one of the most eminent of the systematic botanists who prepared the way for Linnaeus. His exact position among these has been discussed at length by Sachs (Geschichte d. Botanik, Munich, 1875). He died December 28, 1708.