Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Adanson, Michel (1727-1806), a distinguished French naturalist, of Scottish Jacobite ancestry, was born at Aix, in Provence, 7th April, 1727. He was educated at Plessis; Needham first gave him a microscope, and he studied under Bernard de Jussieu at the Jardin des Plantes. Having obtained an appointment in Senegal in 1748, he remained there until 1754, mapping the country, making astronomical and meteorological observations, studying the languages, and forming immense collections, part of which he described in 1757 in his Histoire Naturelle du Senegal. This work contains the first sketch of his system of classification, applied to molluscs. In 1763 he applied it, in his Families des Plantes, to the vegetable kingdom, and in an immense unpublished work, offered in 1774 to the Academy of Sciences, of which he had been elected a member in 1759, he applied it to all three kingdoms of nature. His system consists in drawing up a number of artificial classifications - classifications based, that is, on one set of characters - and finally placing together those species which came together in the greatest number of classifications. He thus distinguished 58 families of plants, and prepared the way for Jussieu's natural system. Reduced to poverty, he received a small pension, and died. August 3rd, 1806. The Baobab was named Adansonia by Linnaeus in his honour.