Dominique Villars

Dominique Villars ( born November 14, 1745 in Villarreal, † June 26, 1814 in Strasbourg ) was a French physician and botanist. Its official botanical author abbreviation is " Vill. ".

Life and work

His father, a clerk in a nobleman, taught him to read and write. Herding of cattle that had the family, he was interested in for the first time for botany.

His father died, and his mother sent him to the approximately 15 kilometers south to Gap, where he was to get an education at the public prosecutor. There he had access to several medical textbooks, such as Pietro Andrea Mattioli of (1501-1577) or Loys Guyon († 1630) Miroir de la beauté et de la santé corporelle ( "Mirror of physical beauty and health" ).

When he was 16 years old, his mother arranged his marriage to a rich, orphaned girl from a neighboring village. The marriage produced five children.

In 1766 he met the abbot Dominique Chaix ( 1730-1799 ), who once inspired him for botany and he instilled in the work of Carl Linnaeus. End of the 60s Villars decided to a medical study in Grenoble. There he impressed a senior official of the province, Pajot de Marcheval which granted the student a scholarship.

Besides his studies he collected plants and put on a herbarium. In the years 1775 and 1776, he was each participant a geological expedition through the Dauphiné, which was led by Étienne Guettard ( 1715-1786 ); among others also participated Barthelemy Faujas de Saint- Fond ( 1741-1819 ). Guettard it was, it Villard in 1777 made ​​it possible to go to Paris, where he had the opportunity to meet famous scientists of this time, such as botanist Bernard de Jussieu ( 1699-1777 ), Antoine- Laurent de Jussieu ( 1748-1836 ), Edmé -Louis Daubenton (1732-1786), Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1656-1708), Sébastien Vaillant (1669-1722) and André Thouin (1746-1824), as well as physicians Antoine portal (1742-1832) and Félix Vicq d' Azir ( 1748-1794 ).

He received his Ph.D. in 1778 in Valence. Pajot de Marcheval offered him a job as director of the botanical garden in Grenoble and a teaching position at the local hospital, which Villars was financially secure.

Its time Villars shared between his two areas of interest: He collected and studied plants from the environment, but also worked as a doctor. So he treated about Jean -Baptiste Jules Bernadotte, who later became King of Sweden and Norway - he tried in vain to deal with Villars as his personal physician.

His main work, the Histoire des plantes du Dauphiné, published from 1786 to 1789. Therein are over 2700 descriptions of plant species included, most are based on more than twenty trips.

With the French Revolution, he lost all the offices in Grenoble. He wanted to move to Gap, but was previously a service of the Medical Faculty of the University of Strasbourg, where to take a Department of Botany. From 1805 he taught in Strasbourg, where he was also Dean of the University.

His herbarium and his botanical records are kept in the Museum of Grenoble. Villars we owe numerous descriptions of native species of the alpine plants.

Taxonomic ceremony

He was the genus Villarsia Vent honor. the plant family of fever clover plants ( Menyanthaceae ) named.