Collecting localities



Biographical data


Leschenault de la Tour, Louis Théodore


(Source: Flora Malesiana ser. 1, 1: Cyclopaedia of collectors)

(Source: Flora Malesiana ser. 1, 8: Cyclopaedia of collectors, Supplement II)


Born: 1773, Châlons-sur-Saône, France. Died: 1826, Paris, France.



Botanist, naturalist of Capt. Baudin’s (see there) last exploring expedition (see below).1 In June 1803 he fell ill in Timor, and stayed behind when the expedition left that island; after recovery he went to Java, making botanical investigations in that island and Madoera with support of Nicolaus Engelhard, then Governor of the NE. coast of Java. In 1806 he sailed for America, returning to France in July 1807. In 1816 he came to Pondicherry as ‘inquisitor rerum naturae’ and in the next years made extensive travels in British India, Bengal, Ceylon, etc.,2 returning at Nantes towards the end of May 1822.3 Finally he made a voyage to Brazil, Guiana and Surinam in 1823-24.4

In the Library of the Rijksherbarium, Leiden, there is a bound copy of a handwritten MS titled “Liste des Plantes de l’Isle de Java observées par M. Lechenault de Latour”. It contains descriptions and notes in French of 693 species and is dated “Samarang, 5.7bre, 1806”. This is obviously not an original MS but a copy made by a clerk of “Het Marineschool to Semarang” which did also work for Noroña, and where the plates of Louis Deschamps were copied.

Several of his papers were translated in English for Colonel Colin Mackenzie by his Dutch translator L.R. Burke. It forms parts of a whole body of MSS which were collected in Java during the first couple of years of the British Administration (now in India Office Library, London). In one volume Burke has inscribed in his own hand: “Some of the Leschenault Memoirs were translated into Dutch for Mr M. Engelhart by whom Mr Leschenault was employed” (Mackenzie collection, private, vol. 37, ‘Collection on the Natural History of Java’, 296 folios of which 194 by Leschenault; Dr John Bastin i.l. July 1970).

He is commemorated in several Malaysian plant species and in the genus Leschenaultia R.Br.


Collecting localities:

Voyage in ‘Le Naturaliste’ and ‘Le Géographe’, 1800-04.1 cf. also sub Guichenot, Riedlé and Sautier. Sailing from Hâvre (Oct. 19, 1800); the Canaries (Teneriffe); Île de France; New Holland; Dutch Timor (Aug. 21-Nov. 21, 1801);5 Port Jackson, Van Diemensland, Arnhemsland, etc.; Dutch Timor (May 6-June 2, 1803),5 some of the members making larger tours, e.g. to Babao and Olinama; as Riedlé and Sautier had died during the first visit to Timor and as Leschenault stayed behind in the latter island in 1803, the next part of the voyage was only accompanied by Guichenot: Île de France; Cape of Good Hope; arrival at Lorient (March 25, 1804).-1803-06. Java & Madoera. Of his sojourn in these islands only very few data are known; in 1805 he evidently visited G. Idjen in E. Java (Sept. 20-21),6 and Tingar (= Tengger) Mts (Nov. 4-7):7 from Passourouang (= Pasoeroean) (4) via Poussepo (= Poespo), and Bali-dono to Tosari; Adihono (= Ngadiwono), Ligo Mohio (collecting plants, incl. a new species of Quercus, earlier observed on Mt Idjen and Mt Moria) (= Moerjo in Centr. Java); Dassar (Sand Sea) (6), via Mong’hal (= Moenggal) Pass; climbing Bromo Volcano; Ledombo (Ider-Ider); returning to Pasoeroean via Grati (7). He evidently visited Koping (= Gopeng) near Semarang in Centr. Java, and G. Tangkoeban Prahoe in W. Java too.

Additional to the data mentioned in Cycl. Fl. Mal. I, 1, 1950, p. 321a the following can be derived from the MS mentioned above: Many plants from the vicinity of Soerabaja, Grissee (together with the Resident ‘Karel van Naersen’), Madoera I. (nos 203-400, Sumenep and islet ‘Mimdang’hine’ before the coast), Banjuwangi (nos 401-574), climbing Mt Idjen with Commander ‘Vikerman’ (nos 575-663), Westcoast of Bali (nos 575-581). He visited also Mt ‘Onorang’ near Semarang (Mt Ungaran). The final few numbers 688-693 are from the environs of “Melam” which I cannot locate. He was obviously acquainted with, or even met, Horsfield.



Herb. Paris [P], incl. c. 900 Java species; the Timor plants were elaborated together with those of Guichenot, Riedlé and Sautier.8 Duplicates in Herb. Leiden [L], Herb. Decand. & Deless. (Geneva [G]), and apparently some at Kew [K] too.9

His manuscripts on India and Ceylon are partly preserved in the Libr. Nat. Hist. Mus. Paris;10 others in the archives of the Herb. (Phanérog.) Paris.11

According to Horsfield (cf. Verh. Bat. Gen. K. & W. 7, 1814, Meded. X, p. 5) he made a private collection of objects of Natural History for the Governor of the NE. coast of Java (= N. Engelhard).



(1) F. Péron: ‘Voyage de découvertes aux terres Australes exécuté etc. sur les corvettes Le Géographe, Le Naturaliste et la goelette Le Casuarina, pendant les années 1800-1804’ (Paris 1807-16, 2 vols + atlas).

(2) cf. Flora 4 2, 1821, p. 663-667.

(3) L.Th. Leschenault de la Tour: ‘Relation abrégée d’une voyage aux Indes Orientales’ (Mém. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris 9, 1822; not dealing with the Malaysian region).

cf. also Lasègue, Mus. Bot. Deless., 1845, p. 430-432.

(4) cf. Martius, Flora Brasiliensis.

(5) Leschenault de la Tour: ‘Description de la ville de Coupang et de ses environs, sur la côte sud-ouest de file de Timor; extrait d’un voyage inédit aux Indes orientales’ (in M. Malts-Brun, Annales des Voyages etc., 2nd ed., 16, 1811, p. 279-306).

(6) L.Th. Leschenault de la Tour: ‘Notice sur un lac d’acide sulfurique qui se trouve au fond d’un volcan du Mont-Idienne, situé dans la Provence de Bagnia-Vangni, côté orientale de l’île de Java’ (Ann. M us. Hist. Nat. 8, 1811, p. 425 seq.). Transl.: ‘Nachricht von einem Schwefelsäure See im Innern eines Vulkans am Mont-Idienne, in der Provinz Bagnia-Vangni, auf der östlichen Seite der Insel Java’ (appendix to T.S. Raffles, Die Vulkane auf Java, in Sammlung von Arbeiten Ausländischer Naturforscher über Feuerberge and verwandte Phdnomene 2, 1825).

(7) Leschenault de la Tour: ‘Description des montagnes de Tingar, district de Passourouang dans l’île de Java’ (in M. Malts-Brun, Annales des Voyages etc., 2nd ed., 14, 1811, p. 314-334; letter to Governor N. Engelhard).

(8) J. Decaisne: ‘Herbarii timorensis descriptio’ (Nouv. Ann. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris 3, 1834, p. 333-501, pl. 16-21; reprinted Paris 1835).

(9) cf. Atalantia trimera Oliv. from Timor in Meded. ’s Rijks Herb. Leiden no 69, 1931, p. 10.

(10) cf. Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris l, 1895, p.27.

(11) Including: ‘Journal Botanique de l’îile de Java des plantes observées par Mr Leschenault de la Tour’ (folio MS. with descriptions of 712 plants); ‘Plantes dessinées et écrites par Théodore Leschenault, botaniste attaché à l’expédition de découvertes, commandée par le Captne de Vaisseau Baudin’ (4 note-books containing descriptions and drawings; probably not from the Malaysian region).

‘Dessins de plantes de Java’ (fol., cart.; 55 plants of which the numbers correspond with those of his journal and herbarium).


biographical data:

Pritzel, Thes. Lit. But., 1872; Wittrock, Icon. But. Berg., 1903, p. 114-115, and l.c. 2, 1905, p. 107; Maiden in Journ. Austr. Ass. Adv. Sci. Adelaide Meeting 1907, p. 18; Journ. & Proc. Roy. Soc. N.S.W. 43, 1910, p. 134-135; Backer, Verkl. Woordenb., 1936.