Carl Purpus, Plant Collector in Western America The Botanical Collections of C. A. Purpus in Mexico: The Years 1893 - 1925 (Continued)  

by Mario Sousa Sanchez

English translation by Lauramay T. Dempster  

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Literature Cited
Original Title:
Sousa, M., Las colecciones botanicas de C. A. Purpus en Mexico,
Univ. Calif. Publ. Bot., 51: 1-36, 1969.

Republished on the World Wide Web by Permission of
University of California Press

      In the year 1902 the collection data inform us of his presence in Sinaloa (Mazatlán and Altata): and in a letter to Brandegee, July 2, 1921, he confirms this and adds that he has never been in Culiacán, an area in which Brandegee collected with much care.

Literature Cited:
- Purpus, Carl Albert, 1906.    

In that same year he went for the first time to the volcanic zone of Ixtaccíhuatl (Purpus, C. A. 1906), returning in 1903, from January to February and from March to July, camping with the object of collecting the zone, for which reason he climbed to the tree limit; on his second ascension, Purpus was on the point of falling into a fissure, and to cap the climax he got lost, being obliged to spend the night on the mountain.

Literature Cited:
- Purpus, Carl Albert, 1911-1938.    

In 1904, C.A. Purpus went for the last time to Europe, where he visited Germany, Belgium and Italy, returning to San Diego with the Brandegees (Purpus, C. A., 1911-1938).
      After collecting on Ixtaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl, from October to November of 1905, he arrived at Veracruz, at the Hacienda of Zacuapam, property of Mr. Florentino Sartorius (descendent of Carlos Santorius, author of "Mexiko und die Mexikaner", a book of great botanical interest). Zacuapam would be his residence and center of operations for the rest of his days. The change of Purpus' residence coincided with that of the Brandegees, who went from San Diego to the University of California, Berkeley, in 1906.
      Purpus writes to Mrs. Brandegee, telling her of his new life in Zacuapam: "In my house there is sufficient space; I cook my own food. The rest of the house is very cheap. Baths in the arroyos are agreeable. The climate here is excellent, never very hot in the shade; the heights are delightful, and you should see the birds, singing on the place all the time. It is a pleasure, that great pillar of the church..." and he continues "The Hacienda also has a store, in which one finds nearly all necessities...", a letter of Sept. 26, 1906.
      As was to be expected, during this year, his collections were concentrated in Zacuapam and neighboring areas, although he returned for the fourth time to the Sierra Nevada.

Literature Cited:
- Hall, H. M., 1909.    

The following year (1907), Purpus was named a botanical collector, without pay, of the University of California, Berkeley. His collections of Mexican plants would be in charge of Townshend Stith Brandegee, who would make the determinations, and would arrange sets to be sold, with the proceeds going to Mr. C.A. Purpus; but the first set, including the types, would remain permanently at the University (Hall, 1909). It is very possible that a similar arrangement might have existed with his brother in Darmstadt, Germany, for the distribution of sets in Europe.
      In this way the University of California received Mexican plants sent by Purpus up to number 15,783, from September of 1931, corresponding to Gouania lupuloides and Calliandra houstoniana collected in Zacuapam. In fact the original agreement had ended with the death of Brandegee, on April 7, 1925, a year in which his shipments to Berkeley diminished notably.
      The collections of Purpus were working material that Brandegee used, mainly, for the description of taxa new to science, which he published in Erythea, Zoe and the publicatons of the University of California, in this last under the title of "Plantae Mexicanae Purpusianae."
      Brandegee proposes 485 new taxa, of which 14 are genera. Unfortunately, perhaps owing to isolation and lack of material for comparison, the work of Brandegee is not on the whole satisfactory, contributing largely to botanical synonymy.
      In 1907 he begins explorations , both in the dry populated areas south of Tehuacán and east of Zapotitlán de las Salinas: San Luis Tultitlanapa, Cerro de la Yerba, Coatepec, Cerro de Castillo, Coscomate, Cerro Verde, and the region situated at the foot of the Pico de Orizaba: Esperanza and Boca del Monte.
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Date and time this article was prepared: 6/7/2002 7:32:27 PM