Nikolaus Joseph Freiherr von Jacquin: Hortus Botanicus Vindobonensis

1770-1776, Vindobonae : Typis Leopoldi Joannis Kaliwoda

It is this work that first described Capsicum chinense/sinense under – and thus giving it – this scientific name. With it, a mystery was born, for the description declares both that Jacquin had seen (and probably collected) this kind of pepper on Martinique, in the Caribbean (which would be very fitting for it) and that he gave it its botanical name because of its homeland, China (which doesn’t make sense but must have somehow been what von Jacquin was led to believe).

My research into this mystery not only found the illustration and description in von Jacquin’s Hortus Botanicus Vindobonensis, but also uncovered that the Natural History Museum of Vienna’s (research) collection still contains the herbarium specimens for C. chinense produced by von Jacquin and his contemporary, von Portenschlag (who points to von Jacquin and the HBV on his specimen)…

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