Jean-Baptiste Van Mons

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Jean-Baptiste Van Mons
by Jean Baptiste Madou
Hedrick (1921) - Beurre d'Anjou.jpg
Hedrick (1921) - Beurre Bosc.jpg

Jean-Baptiste Van Mons (11 November 1765 Brussels — 6 September 1842 Leuven) was a Belgian physicist, chemist, botanist, horticulturist and pomologist, and professor of chemistry and agronomy at Louvain (1817-1830).[1] Van Mons carried out the first recorded selective breeding of the European Pear through cycles of seed propagation.[2]

“I have found this art to consist in regenerating in a direct line of descent, and as rapidly as possible an improving variety, taking care that there be no interval between the generations. To sow, to re-sow, to sow again, to sow perpetually, in short to do nothing but sow, is the practice to be pursued, and which cannot be departed from; and in short this is the whole secret of the art I have employed.”

— Jean-Baptiste Van Mons' Arbres Fruitiers

He was the most prolific pear breeder known, producing no fewer than 40 superior varieties over a 60-year period,[3] including Bosc and D'Anjou pears. Van Mons readily shared his observations and plants, and developed effective ways of exporting cuttings and seedlings as far away as the United States.[4]

The French and Belgians were fanatical about pears, and spent an inordinate amount of time developing new varieties of pear with a buttery taste in the 18th century. A few Belgian varieties show this by having Beurré in the name. Louis XIV doted on pears, his greatest fruit love after figs and, not surprisingly, many varieties were cultivated at Versailles by his gardener Jean-Baptiste de la Quintinie.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Darwin online
  2. ^ Plant Breeding by Kendall R. Lamkey, Michael Lee, Arnel R Hallauer
  3. ^ Adelaide Review
  4. ^ Canadian Living
  5. ^ Biodiversity Heritage Library