Reverchon Park in Dallas named in honor of botanist who was born in France

In the Park } Aug/03/2011 | Comments (0)

Source: The Houston Chronicle
Photo: Reverchon Hawthorn - Copyright © Texas Agricultural Experiment Station

On Aug. 3, 1837, Julien Reverchon, botanist, was born in Diemoz, France. His mother was the primary source of his education. He began his life-long work of specimen collection as a boy. His family had a long and important involvement in French political and military history, and his father continued the family inclination by participating in the 1848 revolution that overthrew Louis Philippe. His father joined Victor P. Considérant's La Réunion near Dallas.

Julien accompanied his father and left his collection of more than 2,000 plant species with his brother. They arrived at La Réunion in December 1856 and learned of the colony's failure, so they bought a small farm nearby.

There Julien worked and studied the local plant life. He married Marie Henri on July 24, 1864, and they had two sons, both of whom died of typhoid fever in 1884. Reverchon's scientific inquiry fell off in the early years of his marriage, as his time was occupied with the farm and his dairy business. By 1869, however, he was collecting again, and during a fossil-finding expedition with Jacob Boll in West Texas in September 1879, he found the plant from which Asa Gray named the genus Reverchonia.

Several other botanists also named plant species for Reverchon. He contributed specimens to the United States Department of Agriculture and the Smithsonian Institution. He was a member of the Torrey Botanical Club of New York, and during the last 10 years of his life was professor of botany at the Baylor University College of Medicine and Pharmacy at Dallas.  Reverchon died of Bright's disease on Dec. 30, 1905. He was buried in the cemetery of the old French colony. The city of Dallas named Reverchon Park in his honor.

Copyright © 2011 The Houston Chronicle
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