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Abstract Detail

Botanical History

Flannery, Maura [1].

James Petiver (1665-1718): The Carolina Perspective .

This year marks the 300th anniversary of James Petiver’s death. He is notable botanically because of his large herbarium, purchased by Hans Sloane and now in the Natural History Museum, London. Petiver trained as an apothecary and had a thriving practice in London, but his passion was for natural history. He collected zoological as well as botanical material, and while he didn’t travel widely, he developed a collection in which specimens from around the globe were represented. Linnaeus studied Petiver’s publications and parts of his collection, so there are many types among his specimens. Unfortunately, he was not terribly methodical, so some of his specimens are in poor condition and in some cases lack labels. When Petiver received plants that represented new species, he named them and included them in what he called Centuries, published lists of a hundred species descriptions of both plants and animals, though more of the former. Petiver was not a rich man, so he had to depend on subscriptions to produce these publications. He used them as a way to attract collectors by promising to mention them when they sent interesting finds. He also supplied them with instructions, paper, and other supplies. He did expect results, and one collector refused to send any more material because Petiver had hounded him so much for results. From the time of its founding in 1689 until his death, Petiver was a member of the Temple Coffee House botanic club in London. Sloane and another notable collector, Leonard Plukenet, were members as was Henry Compton, bishop of London. These four were involved in sponsoring travelers to North America, including Mark Catesby. I will focus on those among Petiver’s collectors who, like Catesby, worked in the Carolinas. At that time Charleston was becoming an important port and a center of learning in the South. Petiver had a total of ten collectors who visited or lived in the area. I will discuss his communication with them, what they sent him from the region, and how the specimens were used botanically. Among those discussed will be not only Mark Catesby, the author of Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands, but Robert Ellis and Hannah Williams who were both long-term South Carolina correspondents, and John Lawson, Surveyor General of North Carolina who wrote A New Voyage to Carolina.

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1 - 204 Bellewood Drive, Aiken, SC, 29803, United States

James Petiver
Sloane Herbarium
Mark Catesby
Collecting in the Carolinas.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 33, Botanical History
Location: 104/Mayo Civic Center
Date: Tuesday, July 24th, 2018
Time: 3:30 PM
Number: 33BH001
Abstract ID:707
Candidate for Awards:None

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