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Johannes Burman (1707-1799) & Charles Plumier

Plantarum Americanarum

No copyright (Public domain)

At the end of the 17th century, Charles Plumier made a lot of observations in the West Indies, and they were collected in drawings and hand-written descriptions (see: Charles Plumier; in French). Some were published (Description des plantes de l'Amérique, Nova Plantarum Americanarum Genera) by Plumier himself, but many remained unpublished as the Botanicum Americanum at the Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle de Paris. Reproductions of the original texts and drawings concerning Cacti were recently made available by Roy Mottram in Bradleya 20, 2002, pp. 79-120.1)
However, in the middle of the 18th century, Johannes Burman, a dutch physicist and botanist, obtained a copy of the drawings and decided to publish reproductions accompanied by his own descriptions. The files below gather together the pages and plates devoted to Bromelia, Tillandsia and Cactus. The B&W plates have not the quality of the original colored drawings by Plumier, and the descriptions (in Latin!) are sometimes doubtful. However, this is a historical document.

The full set of fascicles can be downloaded from the Biodiversity Heritage Library(BHL)2) under the name mobot31753003082986.pdf (95 MB) & mobot31753003083125.pdf (108 MB)3).

1) Another set of plates were published in Bradleya 2, 1984, pp. 39-64; it is based on Burman's “origianl copy” that he used to produce his Plantarum americanarum.
2) You will find there for free other old documents concerning plants.
3) If you use this file, you must comply with the rules of the MBG library.
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This project is hosted by, a web site mainly in French (some pages translated) dedicated to cactus and other succulents.
Cactus and Succulent Plants Digital Library,