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Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 23:56-57 (article 17) 2000

Duchesne is the Botanical authority for Cucurbita moschata and Cucurbita maxima

Harry S. Paris

Department of Vegetable Crops, Agricultural Research Organization, Newe Ya'ar Research Center, P. P. Box 1021, Ramat Yishay 30-095, Israel

The botanical authority cited for cucurbita moschata in scientific papers has varied among various writers. Whitaker and Davis (10), in their book "Cucurbits," gave the authority as Poiret, in reference to volume 11 of J.L.M. Poiret's "Dictionnaire des Sciences Naturelles." In "Hortus Third" (7), the authority for this species is given as (Duchesne) Poir. Other authors have given the authority as (Lam.) Poir., referring to the work of the renowned J.B.P.A. de M. de Lamareck, "Encyclopedie Methodique, Botanique." Both, Lamareck's Encyclopedie and Poiret's Dictionnaire were written in French and contain detailed descriptions of many plants, in alphabetical order.

In his Dictionnaire, Poiret (5) clearly gave credit to Duchesne for naming the species Cucurbita moschata. Although Lamarck himself had written almost all of the articles contained in the first two volumes of his Encyclopedie, two paragraphs before the end of the article "Courge, Cucurbita" (2), there appears the insignia "Duch.", indicating that this article had been prepared almost entirely buy Duchesne. However, in this article, the epithet moschata had been used as a subspecific entity of C. pepo and not as a specific entity. therefore, on the basis of these two well-known articles on Cucurbita in the works of Lamareck and Poiret, the botanical authority for C. moschata should be given as (Duchesne in Lam.) Duchesne ex Poir., or (Duchesne) Poir., or simply Poir. As C. maxima had been named and described as a species in the article "Courge, Cucurbita" in Lamarck's Encyclopedie, the authority for C. maxima should be given as Duchesne in Lam., or simply Duchesne.

However, cucurbita moschata was named and described by Duchesne in two publications that appeared decades before Poiret's Dictionnaire. The latter of these two was the article "Courge, Cucurbita" in volume 3 of "Encyclopedie Methodique, Agriculture", edited by Tessier and Thouin (4).

The first publication of Cucurbita moschata was the "Essai sur l'histoire naturelle des courges" (3). This is a 46-page duodecimo book. It does not bear a date or place of publication, nor the name of the publisher. from the methodology of printing during the late 18th century (8),from careful study of the print, and from the second title page of the book which indicates that it is an excerpt for Lamarck's Encyclopedie, it can be established without question that the Essai, like the part of the Encyclopedie containing the article "Courge, Cucurbita", was published in 1786 by C.J. Panckoucke of Paris.

The Essai is not merely a reprint of the article "Courge, Cucurbita" from the "Encyclopedie Methodique, Botanique." as it differs in several major points. Most relevant to this discussion is that it contains the binomial Cucurbita moschata. From the "Essai" it can also be learned that it was Lamarck who had considered this entity to be merely a subspecies of C. pepo , and that it had been published as such in the Encyclopedie because Lamarck was responsible for editing. Duchesne had insisted that C. moschata was a species separate from his C. polymorpha (-C. pepo). This point is also outstanding in the hand written, rough draft of what was to become the Essai and the article "Courge, Cucurbita" in the Encyclopedie (3).

Cucurbita maxima was presented as a separate species in both,the "Essai" and the article "Courge, cucurbita" . A minor point would be to establish priority of publication for this species. Part 1 of volume 2 of the "Encyclopedie" (the part that contains the article "Courge, cucurbita") was issued on 16 october 1786 (6). I have not been able to establish the exact date of issuance of the "Essai", but it contains a note added in proof dated 18 August 1786. The "Essai" contains some text which is slightly improved over that of the "Encyclopedie." indicating that it was printed subsequently. However, from the method of printing during that time we can establish with certainty that the "Essai" most have been printed immediately after the corresponding pages of the article. Thus, the printing of the "Essai" was completed long before that of the entire part 1 of volume 2 of the "Encyclopedie." It is more likely than not that the "Essai" was issued before part 1 of volume 2 of the "Encyclopedie." Thus, referring C. maxima to Duchesne in Lam. may well be incorrect.

In publications where the species name followed by the authority is given, these two species of Cucurbita are best presented as follows:

  • Cucurbita moschata Duchesne
  • Cucurbita maxima Duchesne

Acknowledgement: Contribution No. 123/00 from the Institute of Field & Garden Crops, Agricultural Research Organization, Bet Dagan, Israel.

Literature Cited

  1. Duchesne, A.N. 1786. Courge, Cucurbita, in: J.B.P.A. de M. de Lamarck. Encyclopedie Metodique, Botanique 2: 148-159.
  2. Duchesne, A.N. 1786. Essai sur l'histoire naturelle des courges. Paris, 46 pp.
  3. Duchesne, A.N. 1786. Plan d'un article pepon pour l'encyclopedie de ....., 55 pp., in: Melange agronomique. Manuscript no. 12333, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.
  4. Duchesne, A.N. 1793. Courge, cucurbita, in A.H. Tessier and A. Thouin. eneyclopedie Methodique, Agriculture 3: 605-614.
  5. Poiret, J.L.M. 1818/ Courge, in J.L.M. Poiret. Dictionnaire des Sciences Naturelles 11:231-243.
  6. Rickett, H.W. and F.A. Stafleu. 1961. Nomina genera conservanda et rejicienda sermatophytorum 8 bibliography. Taxon 10:111-121.
  7. Staff of the L.H. Bailey Hotorium. 1976. Hortus Third, p. 343. New York.
  8. Stafleu, F.A. 1964. Introduction o Jussieu's genera plantarum, in Jussieu, A.L. de. Genera Plantarum. Weinheim.
  9. Stafleu, F.A. 1971. Lamarck: the birth of biology. Taxon 20:397-442.
  10. Whitaker, T.W. and G.N.Davis. 1962. Cucurbits, p. 47. New York.
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