Joseph Decaisne

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Joseph Decaisne (7 March 1807 – January 1882) was a French botanist and agronomist.

Joseph Decaisne

Although he was born in Brussels, Belgium, he exercised his activity exclusively in Paris. He enters in 1824 as gardener to the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle (French Museum of natural history) and becomes, in 1832, chief of the sowing section. He also worked at the Jardin des Plantes and collaborated with Asa Gray.[1]

He became the helper naturalist of the chair of rural botany of Adrien-Henri de Jussieu (1797-1853). It was there that he began to study plants brought back by various travelers like those of Victor Jacquemont (1801-1832) in Asia. He is also interested in algae, but it is mainly some applied research, notably on agronomy of the madder, the yam and the ramie.

In 1850, Decaisne followed Charles-François Brisseau de Mirbel (1776-1854) as the Chair of Culture of the Museum. In 1854 he participated in the creation of the Botanical Society of France.

The genera Decaisnea Hook.f. & Thomson (Lardizabalaceae), Decaisnea Brongn. syn. of Prescottia Lindl. and Decaisnea Lindl. syn. of Tropidia Lindl. (Orchidaceae), were named in his honour.

He died in Paris in January 1882.

Contributions to plant taxonomy[edit]

He described the following genera of flowering plants: Capanea and Chrysothemis of the Gesneriaceae family; Sautiera (Acanthaceae); Lepinia, Rhazya (Apocynaceae); Vancouveria (with C.Morren) (Berberidaceae); Ostryopsis (Betulaceae); Dipterygium (Capparidaceae); Brassaiopsis, Cuphocarpus*, Dendropanax*, Didymopanax*, Fatsia*, Oreopanax*, Stilbocarpa*, (* with Planch.) (Araliaceae); Berneuxia (Diapensiaceae); Scyphogyne (Ericaceae); Akebia, Boquila (Lardizabalaceae); Galtonia (Liliaceae s. l. or Hyacinthaceae); Treculia Decne. ex Trecul (Moraceae; Camptotheca (Nyssaceae or Cornaceae); Ephippiandra (Monimiaceae); Pseudais (Thymelaeaceae); Allardia, Lecocarpus, Wollastonia DC. ex Decne. (Asteraceae); Gymnotheca (Saururaceae); Bougueria (Plantaginaceae); Docynia (Rosaceae); Seetzenia R.Br. ex Decne.(Zygophyllaceae); Deherainia (Theophrastaceae); Lopholepis (Poaceae); Asterostemma, Atherandra, Baeolepis Decne. ex Moq., Barjonia, Blepharodon, Calostigma, Camptocarpus, Decabelone, Decanema, Dictyanthus, Glossonema, Gongronema (Endl.) Decne., Harpanema, Hemipogon, Hoodia Sweet ex Decne., Ibatia, Macropetalum Burch. ex Decne., Melinia, Mitostigma, Nautonia, Nephradenia, Orthosia, Pentopetia, Peplonia, Periglossum, Pherotrichis, Polystemma, Ptycanthera, Pycnoneurum, Pycnostelma Bunge ex Decne., Rhyssostelma, Riocreuxia, Tacazzea, Tassadia, Trichosandra ( Asclepiadaceae or Apocynaceae s. l.); Amorphophallus Blume ex Decne. (Araceae) and Leptopus (Euphorbiaceae s. l. or Phyllanthaceae).


  • Le jardin fruitier du Museum (The fructiferous garden of the Museum) in 9 volumes (1858-1875)
  • Traité général de botanique descriptive et analytique (General Treatise of descriptive and analytic botany), Paris, Firmin-Didot, 1876 [in collaboration with Emmanuel Le Maout]
  • Mexicanas plantas (Plants of Mexico, 1872-1886 [in collaboration with others]. (available at


  1. ^ Dupree, A. Hunter (1988). Asa Gray, American Botanist, Friend of Darwin. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 84–85. ISBN 978-0-801-83741-8. 
  2. ^ "Author Query for 'Decne.'". International Plant Names Index.