Monthly Archives: June 2022


Fecha: Del 04-07-2022 hasta 08-07-2022

Horario: 9.30 a 12.30/ 13.30 a 16.30

Duración: 40 horas.

Cuerpo Docente: Dra. Irina Podgorny, Dra. Susan García, Dra. Nathalie Richard

Implementación del 4 al 8 julio 2022 .
La inscripción a nuestros cursos se realiza completando y enviando a la Planilla de Inscripción descargable desde AQUI. Aquellos graduados de otras Unidades Académicas (nacionales o internacionales) que no sean alumnos de nuestras Carreras de Posgrado deberán acompañar la planilla de inscripción con una certificación de su calidad de graduado (copia digital de diploma de grado o analítico).

Se recuerda que la categoría “interno”, integra alumnos de las carreras de posgrado de la FCNyM, docentes y graduados de la FCNyM.

Si usa el contacto presente en esta página, recuerde incorporar el nombre del curso por el que solicita información.

Archivos asociados

Más información AQUI

Two Brothers botanists: Mexican plants in French herbaria (Part 2)

By Louise Couëffé, University of Angers

(read the Part 1)

In 1912, the system of circulation of specimens was modified because of a changing of the numbers of the plants by Brother Héribaud, which caused some mistakes. Brother Arsène directly sent some of the plants for identification to A. Daveau and other botanists, such as Bouly de Lesdain and Jules Cardot. They were the main elements of this multipolar network of the circulation of those plants. However, Brother Héribaud went on centralising the main part of the collect and sending plants to other botanists: in 1912, he sent a Ranunculus to Hector Léveillé, who studied it and wrote an article in the Bulletin de l’Académie internationale de Géographie botanique. Hector Léveillé also received some plants from Mexico from Carl Hansen Ostenfeld, a Danish botanist, for whom it is not possible to identify the way of acquisition of those plants. The fact that the first network became multipolar and was completed by commercial networks blurred some aspects of the circulation of specimens. However, as each specimen was informed with the name of the species, the locality and date of collecting and the name of the collector, and linked to scientific publication through their number, they could be used as scientific objects linked to scientific knowledge or integrated in herbaria as objects of collections. 

Those specimens were both scientific objects, studied for identification or description of new species, and objects of collection having a geographical and botanical interest as well as an economic value. The plants sent to Brother Héribaud were also a kind of economic resource for the congregation, as they were sold to amateurs of Botany and collectors. Prince Roland Bonaparte bought many specimens collected by Brother Arsène (471) or Brother Nicolas (338) from 1906 to 1911. The correspondence between Brother Héribaud and M. Belhatte, a botanist in charge of Roland Bonaparte’s Herbarium, show that each plant was bought for 0,20 or 0,25 f. He also sold plants to merchants of plants, who sold them to other collectors for their herbaria. If it’s difficult to identify the way the followed to enter Monguillon’s herbarium, because not documented by correspondence, Eugène Monguillon was in contact with a lot of Botanists at this time, a part of them studying lichens, and also with Hector Léveillé. If he was fond of the study of lichens, the Mexican specimens were conserved in a collection of exotic lichens made of three volumes not registered in his catalogue (unlike his specimens from Sarthe).

In the case of Harmand’s lichens, the specimens were given by Bouly de Lesdain after their study, because they were labelled with the labels of his herbarium. They seem also to have been conserved as part of the main collection.

Figure 2: Université catholique d’Angers. Collection Harmand. Lichens du Mexique et du Nouveau Mexique. Lichen collected by Brother Nicolas, 1912

Finally, before 1914, the merchants were also the intermediaries with the scientific institutions which acquired plants collected by Brother Arsène and Brother Adelme-Nicolas in Mexico, which was the case for the Smithsonian Institution of Botany in Washington or the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, and probably others. 

Those networks were interrupted by the First World War and the departure of the Brothers from Mexico. Afraid to lose his collection, Brother Arsène hid his herbarium (4 square metres) in an old abandoned house. If a part of it was destroyed during the Revolution, he could get the rest back with the help of the Smithsonian Institution. Many plants arrived in scientific institutions where they were studied and revised for publications. In the end of the 1920, the National Museum of Natural History in Paris obtained a part of Brother Nicolas’ collections, and in 1930 Brother Arsène gave a part of his collection to the Museum. Some of them also arrived in the National Herbarium of Mexico, sometimes through San Borja school. 

Figure 3: Instituto de Biologia, UNAM, Herbario Nacional. Euphorbia pilulifera L. collected by Brother Arsène in Morelia in 1909

The Brothers were encouraged to collect plants, because it allowed them to admire the Creation and because they were sold for the Congregation. However, they were few to study plants in order to publish: most of the plants they collected were studied by other botanists, mainly European or American. The numerous plant materials could work they made for each species enabled them to study precisely the various characters of the plants, to identify the plants or to describe new species, but they were also objects of collection, sometimes conserved apart from the main herbaria made by botanists. The circulation of plants between Mexico and France or in Mexico gave visibility and status to Brother Arsène and Brother Nicolas: they were collectors, whose plants were dispersed all over the world for collections or Botanical studies. Most of their plants were studied by European or American botanists. After some years in Puebla and Morelia, the work of Brother Arsène was recognised in the scientific congress of Mexico. Those circulations and variability of visibility and recognition produced an asymmetric historiography about their participation in Botany in France and Mexico: they are more mentioned in Mexican historiography, where they are presented as main collectors for the local flora, than in French historiography.

Some bibliographical references

Laura CHAZARO, Nina HINKE, El Instituto Médico Nacional. La política de las plantas y los laboratorios a fines del siglo XIX, México, Coordinación de Humanidades UNAM, Cinvestav, 2012, 225 p.

José Luis GODINEZ, Martha M. ORTEGA, Liquen logia de México, historia y bibliografía, in Cuadernos 3, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Autónoma de México, 1989, 43 p.

José Luis GODINEZ ORTEGA, “Colectores de Algas de México (1787-1954)”, Acta Botánica Mexicana, n°85, 2008, p.75-97

Bernard Alphonse GROUSSET, André MEISSONNIER, Les Frères au Mexique. Première étape (1905-1921), FSC, 2019 [1982] (traduction L. Lauraire), 197 p.

Teófilo HERRERA, Breve Historia de la Botánica en México, México, Fondo de cultura Económica, 1998, 167 p.

David W. JOHNSON, Margaret R. JOHNSON, “Botanical collections of Brother Gerfroy Arsène Brouard.”, online on the site of University of New Mexico, [URL:]

Colin LE BALLE et Michel HOFF, « Herbier du Mexique du Prince Roland Bonaparte, récolté dans les années 1910 », Herbier de l’Université de Strasbourg [URL :]

Olivier PERRU, « The Brothers of the Christian Schools and the botanical research at the beginning of the 20th century: some examples of their works”, Conference Paper, 2012, 7 p. [URL:]

Silvia Elena PURATA VELARDE, Las colecciones botánicas del hermano G. Arsene en Mexico, Tesis para obtener el título de Biólogo, Universidad Autónoma de México, 1981, 108 p.

Patricia DAVILA ARANDA, Herbario Nacional de México (Colecciones biológicas nacionales del Instituto de Biología), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Biología, 1991, 122 p.

Jerzy RZEDOWSKY, Los principales colectores de plantas activos en México entre 1700 y 1930, México, Instituto de Ecología, 2009, 133 p.

Alicia TECUANHUEY SANDOVAL, Clérigos, politicos y politica. Las relaciones Iglesia y Estado en Puebla, siglos XIX y XX, Instituto de Ciencias sociales y humanidades, Benemerita Universidad de Puebla, 162 p.

Two Brothers botanists: Mexican plants in French herbaria (Part 1)

By Louise Couëffé, University of Angers

In Western France, several botanists obtained plants from Mexico. Eugène Monguillon (1865-1940), who was a French school teacher and amateur of Botany, had in his collection of exotic lichens 19 specimens from Mexico. Hector Léveillé, a famous botanist who founded the Académie Internationale de Géographie Botanique, studied some of the specimens they collected and published some articles about them. Finally, the Université catholique de l’Ouest conserved a collection of Lichens from Mexico which pertained to Harmand, a French amateur of Botany specialised in the study of Lichens. The aim of this research was to try to understand this circulation of plants from the bottom up, trying to follow the plants from their collection to their transportation and conservation in various collections, between Mexico and Western France, but also all over the world (United States, Brazil, Russia…). However, if the specimens conserved in great scientific institutions were studied by conservators, the scarce specimens conserved in amateurs’ collections are less known.

Those Mexican plants were mainly collected by Brother Arsène Brouard and Brother Adelme-Nicolas, who arrived in Mexico in 1906, when the law Combe (1904) prohibited several religious congregations to teach in France. They were both Brothers of Christian Schools, members of the same congregation as Brother Joseph Héribaud, a famous French botanist. Brother Arsène was born in 1867, and was the assistant of Edouard Lamy de la Chapelle, a French botanist specialised in the study of Lichens, from 1892 to 1894. After some years working in trade, he entered the congregation of the Brothers of Christian Schools in 1895 and became a science teacher in Aurillac, where he went on practicing botany. Brother Adelme-Nicolas was born in 1861. If there are not many pieces of information about his practice of Botany before his departure to Mexico in 1906, he promised to Brother Héribaud to send him plants from Mexico, which suggested that he collected and studied plants before leaving. 

They arrived in Puebla in 1906, in the college of San Pedro and San Pablo. Brother Adelme-Nicolas stayed there until 19013, before being sent to San Borja, a school of agriculture founded by the Brothers in 1911 near Mexico. Brother Arsène Brouard stayed there until 1909. Then he was sent to Morelia, in the Institucion del Sagrado Corazon, where he stayed until 1913. From 1913 to 1914, he taught in the school of agriculture of San Borja. In 1914 he spent a few months in Querétaro before going to Cuba. He thought he had to join the army because of the First World War, but instead he was sent to the United State to go on teaching. They practiced botany as amateurs in their spare time. 

From 1906 to 1909, they both collected plants in the surroundings of Puebla, then around the other cities where they lived. Their geographic area was limited by their religious and teaching functions as well as by the political context in Mexico. The Revolution of 1910 caused them to wear weapons for security when they went on excursions. Those excursions took place during their vacations or on Thursdays. These excursions took on a collective nature, wherein the brother collected plants with other brothers or their students. Brother Nicolas “took advantage of the holidays to indulge in frequent excursions from which he returned laden with a large packet of rare plants, gathered sometimes on high mountains, sometimes at the bottom of the barrancas”. They collected mainly flowering plants, lichens, and mosses. From 1909 in Morelia, Brother Arsène also began to collect insects, minerals and fossils. He and the others would return to the school where the plants were pressed, studied to find their name (but it was not always possible to identify them), labelled with their name, the place and date of collection and the name of the collector, before being ordered in herbaria or sent to others botanists for identification and collection. Indeed, if some scarce plants arrived in Western France, a lot of them are also conserved in many collections all over the world, which suggests that some elements of their networks of circulation were present during the period of collection in Mexico and afterwards.

From 1906 to 1914, the plants were mainly sent to Brother Héribaud, in Clermont-Ferrand. First, the aim was to identify the specie of the plants collected: for this, Brother Arsène sent numbered plants to Brother Héribaud: the number was inscribed in the labels of the plants, in the list sent to Brother Héribaud, and in the catalogue written by Brother Arsène. It allowed them to follow the plants and their identification in spite of the circulation of numerous specimens: Brother Héribaud sent back the list with the names to Brother Arsène, which could inscribe the names of the species in his herbarium and his catalogue. Brother Héribaud also sent plants to other botanists for identification, such as A. Daveau, director of the Botanical Garden in Montpellier. In 1910, A. Daveau, who got him in contact with Bouly de Lesdain, a botanist specialised in the study of lichens, and with Jules Cardot, specialised in the study of mosses. However, in this period, he seemed to centralize the main part of Mexican collects to redistribute them. If they were mainly sent to France, some of them were also given to Mexican collectors. In 1909, when Brother Arsène was sent to Morelia, he gave plants to other religious institutions (such as seminaries) and to Mariano Martinez Solorzano, conservator of the museum of Natural History of Morelia (it appears his work was not extended to Puebla). Brother Arsène also took part in the first scientific congress of Mexico in 1912, under the name of “Arsenio Brouard”, where he presented a first essay on the Mexican Flora (partly thanks to the identifications sent by French botanists) which received a “honourable mention, in virtue of being a highly interesting work for the study of national botany”.

Figure 1: Musée vert du Mans. Herbier Monguillon, Lichens exotiques. Lichen from Mexico collected by Brother Arsène, 1910. (Credit: N. Morel)

(continue to the Part 2)

Fossils in streets and walls of Paris

By Luciano Varela, Sebastián Tambusso and Richard A. Fariña, UdelaR

Among its many attractions, Paris offers the treasures of palaeontology as developed by Cuvier and other founders of the discipline. Particularly, the pandemic retreated enough to allow us to do our secondment and visit the city in April 2022. Our work is based in that temple of knowledge called the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, where le Baron first studied the great beast found in the wide plains of South America, the Megatherium americanum.

Needless to say, our thirst for knowledge does not end in our professional interests and so we toured the city to appreciate its many wonders from other realms of human endeavour. In some places, intriguing forms in walls and floors, in bridges and famous museums (the MNHN included) caught our eye. At closer look, we were astonished to realise that many wonders of the geological past were humbly exposed in the masonry to welcome scientists arriving from distant shores, who, unlike locals, are not used to seeing those remains from the deep times when France (and other parts of Europe) were part of ancient seas.

Here we show a few of them.