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2015 | 60 | 1 | 69–94

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A French botanist, physician, and politician Jean Emmanuel Gilibert (1741–1814) spent a part of his life in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Between 1775 and 1781, Gilibert lived in Grodno, where he founded the School of Medicine, modernizing medicine and nature studies, and setting up a botanical garden. In 1781 he moved to Vilnius, founded the Chair of Historia Naturalis, set up a botanical garden, and organized teaching of the natural sciences at the Vilnius University. In 1783 Gilibert left Vilnius and returned to Lyon, where he practiced medicine and participated in French political life. During the years spent in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Gilibert collected local plants from the surroundings in Białystok, Brasta, Merkine, Navahradak, Nesvizh, Vilnius, Vokė, Trakai, and Warsaw. Since 1781 till the end of his life he released 16 publications dealing with nature of Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Majority of these publications included information about plants. Among all Gilibert’s publications “Flora Lituanica inchoata”; “Exercitium botanicum, in schola principe universitatis Vilnensis…“; parts named “Flora Lithuanica inchoata” and “Plantae rariores et communes Lithuaniae” in “Caroli Linnaei ... Systema plantarum Europae…” and “Exercitia phytologica…” are concerned as Flora’s. In these publications about 1200 plants from the territory of Grand Duchy of Lithuania are presented. In 1945, Swedish scientist Nils Hylander published a paper with the proposition to reject all scientific names of plants in Gilibert’s “Flora Lituanica inchoata” and “Exercitia phytologica…” because Linnaean system of binary nomenclature had not been consistently used in these works. In 1949 Roger McVought revised Gilibert’s “Floras” and found that, among approximately 1200 species treated by Gilibert in these publications, about 850 names were proposed by himself and only 85–90 of them could be theoretically accepted as validly published. Currently all Gilibert’s “Floras” are listed in Appendix VI “Opera utique oppressa” of the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (formerly the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature; McNeill 2006). Names appearing in these works are not to be accepted as validly published. If almost all plant names proposed by Gilibert could not be accepted, how much is Gilibert work significant for contemporary research of Lithuanian flora. For this reason I have studied Gilibert’s citation in compendium “Lietuvos TSR Flora” , published in six volumes in 1959-1980 which is the largest compendium for plants of Lithuania until now. In “Lietuvos TSR Flora” names of plant species are always followed by synonym and citation of the all-important literary sources which had described the species earlier. Through all six volumes of the compendium Gilibert’s publications: “Flora Lituanica inchoata” and “Exercitia Phytologica” are cited many times. In “Lietuvos TSR Flora” volume I, which includes Pteridophyta and Gymnospermae, Gilibert is cited only once. In volume II, which includes Monocotyledon plants from 18 families and 135 genera Gilibert is cited 55 times. In volume III, which includes Dicotyledon plants from 27 families and 143 genera he is cited 79 times. In volume IV, which includes Dicotyledon plants from 39 families and 155 genera, among them such numerous families as Rosaceae and Leguminosae, Gilibert is cited 104 times. In volume V, which includes Dicotyledon plants from 32 families and 188 genera, among them from large families as Labiatae and Scropulariaceae, Gilibert is cited 133 times, and in volume VI, which includes Dicotyledon plants from 3 families and 68 genera he is cited 72 times. Some plants such as Zannichellia palustris L., Setaria verticillata (L.), Pulsatilla vernalis (L.), Euphorbia palustris L. to “Lietuvos TSR Flora” are included exclusively on the basis of Gilibert’s data, because there was not information about their growth in Lithuania at the time when “Lietuvos TSR Flora” was published. Some of Gilibert’s plant names cited in “Lietuvos TSR Flora” are similar to binominals proposed by Linnaeus, some are different – proposed by Gilibert himself. Although in “Lietuvos TSR Flora” all Gilibert’s plant names are cited as additional and secondary literature source, but frequent citation indicates that his contribution to the research of the flora of Lithuania is important not only in historical, but also in the botanical and floristic contexts.








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  • Nature Research Centre Wilno


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