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

      The collections of Purpus are not rich in exsiccata; generally not more than twelve, which were distributed in America and Europe.
      In America there are sets of specimens distributed in the following order: the Herbarium of the University of California Berkeley; the Gray Herbarium and the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University; the New York Botanic Garden, the Missouri Botanic Garden in St. Louis, the Natural History Museum of Chicago and the U.S. National Museum in Washington.
      The packages to Europe were sent, apparently, to Darmstadt and distributed to the Botanical Museum of Berlin, to the International Museum of Bremen, to the Herbarium of the Botanical Institute of Leipzig, to the Department of Systematic Botany of Groningen (Holland), to the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh (Escocia), to the Herbarium of the Botanic Gardens of Kew and to the Museum of Natural History of Paris.
      There are lesser lots in various herbaria, such as the University of Arizona, which bought Forrest Shreve's herbarium, in which there were specimens from C.A. Purpus (C.T. Mason, personal communication) and that of the National Herbarium of the Institute of Biology of the University of Mexico, which includes approximately 350 numbers. In this respect he wrote to Brandegee in 1923: "I would be much pleased and obliged if you would send a set to the Department of Agriculture and Promotion in Mexico (addressed to Biological Studies). I hope to obtain in this way another free pass on the railroads."
      The herbarium of the Department of Agriculture and Promotion was joined to the Institute of Biology when it was founded at the end of 1929.
      They occur also in the herbarium of the Museum of Natural History in San Diego, in Stanford University, California (Dennis Breedlove, personal communication): in the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (R. McVaugh, personal communication); in the Oakes Ames Herbarium of Harvard University, and very possibly in many others that I don't know about.
      His labor as a collector included not only herbarium specimens, but also live material; thus C.A. Purpus, in collaboration with his brother Joseph Anton provided Mexican xerophytic plants to a greenhouse in the botanical gardens of Darmstadt, Germany, which at present have almost completely disappeared (Werner Rauh, personal communication).
      Purpus also succeeded in sending live specimens to the Huntington Garden in San Marino, California.
      It was common for Purpus to send all kinds of propagules to gardens and introducers to cultivation, such as: Karl Sprenger in Italy, and the following in the United States: Arthur D.Houghton, California (A. Carter, personal communication); Theodore Payne, Los Angeles, California; Luther Burbank, Santa Rosa, California; David Fairchild, Coconut Grove, Florida. Also to collectors such as Erik Ostland, in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, and many others.
      To trace the itinerary of Purpus in Mexico on the basis of collection labels and correspondence, in such detail as has been done in the case of Edward Palmer or Cyrus Pringle, is almost impossible, since Purpus never was so scrupulous and prodigal with data. Rarely did he tell the day of the month, and on the other hand his collection numbers are of little value. His enumeration does not follow any chronological collection order; it is notorious that the plants were numbered long after being collected, and registered by T.S. Brandegee in two books deposited in the University of California, Berkeley. On comparing the collection slips of the herbarium specimens with the books of registration of Purpus' numbers, there was only ten percent of disagreement. His enumeration had the following characteristics:
      In Mexico he began his numbers anew, since they were already 9,000 in the United States. On collecting a specimen in flower, he kept the same number when collecting it in fruit, although after a year; but in the second collection he put an equal sign before the number.
      When Purpus considered that the collection had a special character, he began a new seris of numbers; this was the case with his collection of mosses, made in 1908-1909, which he sent to Brandegee, who turned them over to Setchell, who in turn sent them to J. Cardot in France, who finally studied them and published in the Revue Biologique, 1909-1910.

Literature Cited:
- Robinson, B. L., 1926.    

According to Dr. C. V. Morton (V.E. Rudd, personal communication), Purpus' numbers in the years 1925-1926 reached 10,000. Purpus eliminated the first two or three cifers on his collection slips, a statement that can be corroborated in Robinson's revision of Eupatorium (Robinson, 1926); thus Eupatorium xanthochlorum from Monserrate, Chiapas, Purpus #74, of March, 1925, on his collecting this species anew, he kept the number in his customary way, and so in April of the same year, he assigned the number 10,074. Unfortunately, the years 1925-1926 are not sufficiently represented in the University of California, Berkeley. For further information, it is necessary to seek it in the U.S. National Herbarium.
      The botanical collections of Purpus in Mexico still are a long way from having been adequately studied. They are, and will continue to be, a fount of new species and unquestionably the basis for the production of local floras in the areas in which he collected, since it was one of his characteristics that he was as an intensive rather than extensive collector.

Literature Cited

  A list of all literature cited by this web site can be found in the Bibliography.
  Anonymous. March 22, 1998. The Professor and his Prize Collection of Curios. San Diego Sun. Periódico que informa de la cuantía de las colectas de C. A. Purpus de diciembre de 1897 a marzo de 1898.
  Boerner, F. March 14, 1962. Carta al Dr. Reid Moran sobre la vida y persolalidad de C. A. Purpus. F. Boerner, presidente de la Sociedad Dendrológica, Darmstadt.
  Brandegee, T. S. 1909-1924. Plantae Mexicanae Purpusianae. I, Univ. Calif. Pub. Bot. 3: 377-396, 1909; II, op. cit.4:85-95, 1910; III, op. Cit. 4:177-194, 1911; IV, op. Cit., 4:269-281, 1912; V, op. Cit., 4:375-388, 1913; VI, op. Cit., 6:51-77, 1914; VII, op. Cit., 6:177-197, 1915; VIII, op. Cit., 6:363-375, 1917; IX, op. Cit., 6: 363-375, 1917; IX, op. Cit., 6: 497-504, 1919; X, op. Cit., 7: 325-331, 1920; XI, op. Cit., 10: 181-188, 1922; XII, op.cit., 10: 403-421, 1924.
  Cardot, J. 1909-1919, 1913. Diagnoses préliminaires de mousses mexicaines. Revue Bryologique. 36(3):67-77; 37(6):117-128; 40(3):34-40. (12)
  Diehl, C. 1933. Nachruf Gartenoberinspektor J. A. Purpus. Mitt. Deutsh. Dendr. Gesell. 45: 24-25, retrato: 13. Necrología de J. A. Purpus.
  Hall, H. M. 1909. Informe de las actividades del Herbario de la Universidad de California, Berkeley. Archivo del Herbario de la Universidad de California, Berkeley.
  Hoffmann, C. C. 1932. Roberto Mueller y su importancia en el Conocimiento de los Lepidópteros de México. An. Inst. Biol. Univ. Méx. 3(2):133-148.
  Kesselring, W. 1933a. Gartenoberinspektor J. A. Purpus. Gartenflora. 82: 26-27. Necrología de J. A. Purpus.
  Kesselring, W. 1933b. Gartenoberinspektor J. A. Purpus. Kakteenkunde. 1: 29-30. Necrología de J. A. Purpus.
  Miranda, F. y E. Hernández X. 1963. Los tipos de vegetación de México y su clasificación. Bol. Soc. Bot. Méx. 28: 29-179.
  Moran, R. 1952. The Mexican Itineraries of T. S. Brandegee. Madroño. 11(7):253-262.
  Moran, R. January 23, 1967. Datos sobre el itinerario de C. A. Purpus, especialmente sobre Baja California. Comunicación personal..
  Purpus, Carl Albert. 1899b. A succulent tour to Lower California. Cactus J. 2(15, 16):38-39, 54-55.
  Purpus, Carl Albert. 1906. Zacuapan, Huatusco (Mexico). Gartenwelt, Hamburg. 11(3):32-33.
  Purpus, Carl Albert. 1906-1908. Cartas a K. Brandegee. Archivo del Herbario de la Universidad de California, Berkeley.
  Purpus, Carl Albert. 1911-1938. Cartas a W. A. Setchell. Biblioteca Setchell, Universidad de California, Berkeley.
  Purpus, Carl Albert. 1914-1915. Meine botanischen Sammel und Forschungsreisen in Mexico vom Frühjahr bir Herbst, 1912. Moeller's Deut. Gaert. Zeitg. (34) 29(25):293-297, ilust.; 350, 437-442, 493-494, ilust. Al 497, 509-511, 518-519, 535-537, 541-543; 30(3):24-26, 41-42, 46-47, 55-56.
  Purpus, Joseph Anton. 1909. Opuntia utahensis J. A. Purpus nov. spec. Monatssch. Kakteenk. 19(9):133-134, 135.
  Purpus, Joseph Anton. 1916. Das neue Xerophyten-haus des Botanischen Gartens in Darmstadt. Moeller's Deut. Gaert. Zeitg. 31(7):53-57.
  Robinson, B. L. 1926. Eupatorium (Eximbricata) xanthochlorum sp. Nov. Contrib. Gray Herb. 77: 44-45. Deja entrever la omisión de C. A. Purpus de los dos primeras cifras de los 10,000 en el añ0 de 1925.
  Schmidt, E. 1961. Carta al Dr. Reid Moran. Bibliotecario de la Universidad de Giessen.
  Standley, P. C. 1926. New Plants from Chiapas by C. A. Purpus. Jour. Wash. Acad. Sciences. 16(1):14-18.
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Date and time this article was prepared: 6/7/2002 7:32:31 PM