Large 8vo. 24, lxxii, 498 pp., (1)f. Bound in contemporary French mottled calf, raised bands on spine elaborately gilt-tooled with lilly motif. Inconsequential toning and finger soiling in margin of title. Otherwise, immaculate.
First edition and fine copy of this work on plant classification which eclipsed all previous taxonomies, and whose general arrangement of families remains current today.
Jussieu’s taxonomy was based on the species contained in the Jardin du Roi, supplemented by material provided by some of the great 18th-century Pacific discovery voyages, those of Bougainville and Cook (first voyage). “The Genera plantarum soon found its way to centers of botanical research. With excellent generic descriptions, the book provided a thorough summary of current knowledge of plant taxonomy. The genera were arranged in a natural system based upon the correlation of a great number of characteristics, a system which proved to be so well designed that within a few decades it was accepted by all leading European botanists...” (Stafleu, DSB). It was also utilized by subsequent scientifically minded explorers in describing the plant life of other countries (von Humboldt for Brazil).
Jussieu (1748-1836) came from the second generation of this botanical dynasty. He was active in the French Revolutionary government, and there is a tradition that says that the last leaf of the present work was printed on the day the Revolution broke out.
* Horblit 68b; Pritzel 4549; Hunt 703; Stafleu in DSB VII.198.