Paolo Boccone

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Paolo Boccone
Paolo Boccone
Paolo Boccone
Born(1633-04-24)24 April 1633
Died22 December 1704(1704-12-22) (aged 71)
Scientific career

Paolo Silvio Boccone (24 April 1633 – 22 December 1704) was an Italian botanist from Sicily, whose interest in plants had been sparked at a young age. Born in a rich family, he was able to dedicate most of his life to the study of botany.


Born in Palermo, he often visited the botanical garden (l'Orto Botanico) founded in Messina by the Roman doctor Pietro Castelli, who became his instructor. He traveled across Sicily, to Corsica, Paris, and London and took a doctor's degree in Padua. He published Recherches et observations naturelles (Paris, 1671; illustrated and greatly enlarged edition Amsterdam, 1674), which concerned itself with various theories of nature, and supplied important contributions to the fields of palaeontology, medicine and toxicology.

He was employed as court botanist to Ferdinando II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany as well as to Ferdinando's son, Cosimo III.

In the work Museo di piante rare della Sicilia, Malta, Corsica, Italia, Piemonte, e Germania (1697), Boccone described many rare plants of Sicily, Malta, Italy, Piedmont, and Germany. A fungus scientifically named Pisolithus tinctorius was called in the Sicilian language catatùnfuli, and Boccone writes that this fungus was employed by the women of Messina in order to dye cloth.

In 1682, Boccone entered the order of the Cistercians and took the name Silvio.

Boccone had been widely regarded by the scientific community, and was in contact with many European naturalists. The French botanist Charles Plumier studied under him at Rome.

Boccone died in Altofonte in the monastery of Santa Maria di Altofonte, not far from Palermo.

Plumier named the genus Bocconia, in the family of the Papaveraceae, after him, a name that was later adopted by Linnaeus.


This list was retrieved from Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de santé, Paris:[1]

  • Recherches & observations touchant le corail, la pierre étoilée, les pierres de figure de coquilles, etc...., Amsterdam, 1674.
  • Recherches et observations naturelles. Amsterdam: Chez Jean Jansson, 1674.
  • Icones et descriptiones rariorum plantarum Siciliae, Melitae, Galliae et Italiae... auctore Paulo Boccone,... (Edidit R. Morison.), Oxford, e theatro Sheldoniano, 1674. In-4 ?, XVI-96 p., fig.
  • Icones et descriptiones rariorum plantarum Siciliae, Melitae, Galliae et Italiae... auctore Paulo Boccone,...cum praefatione Roberti Mossiockii, Lugduni, apud Robertum Scott, 1674.
  • Novitiato ala segreteria del signore Paolo Boccone, gentiluomo di Palermo, lettura grata non meno a principi che a loro segretari, per mostrare con faciltà e brevità l'arte d'un accorto secretario, Genuae, apud haeredes Calenziani, sd. In-12°.
  • Osservazioni naturali, ove si contengono materie medico-fisiche, e di botanica, produzioni naturali fossofori diversi, fuochi sotterranei d'Itali e altre curiosità, disposte en trattati familiari, Bononiae, apud Monolessos, 1684. In-12°.
  • Lettre de Monsieur Boccone,... écrite à Mr. l'Abbé Bourdelot,... touchant l'embrasement du mont Etna, S. l. n. d. In-12, paginé 67-78, carte.
  • Museo di fisica e di esperienze variato e decorato di osservazioni naturali, note medicinali..., Venetia : J. B. Zuccato, 1697. In-4 ?, VIII-319 p., pl. et portr.
  • Della pietra Belzuar minerale siciliana lettera familiare, Monteleoni, apud Dominicum Ferrum, 1669.
  • Museo di piante rare della Sicilia, Malta, Corsica, italia, Piemonte e Germania con figure 133 in rame, Venetiis, apud Ioannem Baptistam Zuccarum, 1697.
  • Epistola botanica
  • Recherches et observations naturelles touchant le corail, pierre estoilee, embrasement du mont Etna, Parisiis, apud Baloin ad Palatum, 1672.
  • Museum experimentale-physicum, complectens observationes eruditis et curiosis, Francofurti, apuc Michaelem Rohrbach, 1697. In-12°.

Named after Boccone[edit]

Among others, the following species:[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bibliographie".
  2. ^ IPNI.  Boccone.
  3. ^ In this list (names retrieved from IPNI, 30 April 2011), the epithet formed after "Boccone" occurs in three variants: bocconei, bocconi, and bocconii. The first one is the genetive case of "Boccone", the second of "Bocconus", the third of "Bocconius", the latter two being latinized forms of "Boccone". The formation of epithets from personal names is regulated by Art. 60.7 and 60.11 and Rec. 60C of the ICBN (Vienna Code). The Code dictates that changes in spelling [of personal names] by authors who use intentional latinizations of personal names are to be preserved, except when they concern (a) only the termination of epithets, or (b) changes involving (1) omission of a final vowel or consonant, or (2) conversion of a final vowel to a different vowel, for which the final letter of the name is to be restored, unless the name already possesses a well-established latinized form, in which case it should be given its appropriate Latin genetive. Boccone lived well before Linnaeus and his name could have had a well-established latinized form. He rarely used the latinized form of his name however. In all of his books for example, even the ones in Latin, his name appears as "Paolo Boccone" on the title page. In the books in Latin, "Boccone" could have been a Latin case (Linnaeus seems to have treated it that way), but it would have been the ablative of "Bocco", not a derivative of a latinized form of "Boccone". In Hortus Cliffortianus (1738) and in Species Plantarum (1753), Linnaeus calls him "Bocco" (genetive: bocconis). From this it is obvious that Boccone's name does not possess a well-established latinized form, in which case the epithet should be formed in accordance with ICBN Rec. 60C.1(a): substantival epithets of personal names ending in a vowel are formed by adding the appropriate genetive inflection, which is "-i" in the case of a single male, and hence "bocconei" is the only proper form of the epithet. See ICBN (Vienna Code) Art. 60

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