Michel Adanson


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A French botanist and plant collector, who worked as a clerk to a trading mission in Senegal, where he discovered many plants that were previously unknown. In the 1750s he returned to France with a large collection of plants and seeds. He was the first European to describe the baobab, which he observed in West Africa, although specimens were later found to be more widely distributed. He estimated the age of the tree he saw as about 5000 years; radiocarbon dating has confirmed an age of 1000 years for some specimens and less precise methods have estimated greater ages for others. The baobab genus (Adansonia) is named for him.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.

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