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:

The description declares that Jacquin had seen (and probably collected) this kind of pepper on Martinique, in the Caribbean (which would be very fitting for it, and where he worked).

But, it starts off saying 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)…

One response

  1. […] Nikolaus von Jacquin, in his 1770-1776 Hortus Botanicus Vindobonensis (and in herbarium specimens – I went on the search for those) presented habanero, and christened this species with its botanical name of Capsicum chinense… “drawn from its homeland” as he justified. (If you want to see the relevant pages, I have them on this blog, here.) […]

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