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Jean-Jacques Rousseau, l'ami des Plantes

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the friend of the plants


Known for his works having participated in the Enlightenment period, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, disappointed with the difficulties of society life, was made on late amateur herbalist. He also explained that he had found in this activity real consolation to his pain. He evokes all this in his work "Reveries of the Solitaire walker", referring to his passage on a small wild island of Lake Bienne, in Switzerland.

Rousseau Jean Jacques Herbalriterie Botaniste Amour des Plantes Herbier France Switzerland

The happiness of the friend of plants (According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau)

"No more wanting to work, I needed fun that would be and that gave me a pain than the one that likes to take a lazy. I undertake to do"Flora Petrinsulari "s And to describe all the plants of the island without omitting a single one, with a sufficient detail to take care of the rest of my days. It is said that a German has made a book on a lemon zest, I would have made one on each gramen of the nearest, on each foam of the woods, on each lichen that lines the rocks; Finally I did not want to leave a hair of grass, not a vegetable atom that was ample described. As a result of this beautiful project, every morning after lunch, that we all do together, I was going to a magnifying glass in my hand and my "Sytema Naturoe " Under the arm to visit a canton of the island, which I had for this purpose divided into small squares with the intention of browsing them one after the other in each season. Nothing is more singular than the ravings, the ecstasies that I felt with each observation that I made on the structure and the plant organization, is on the play of the sexual parts of the fruiting, whose system was then completely new for me. The distinction of generic characters, of which I did not previously have the slightest idea, chased me by verifying them on the common species, while waiting for it to be rare. The forms of the two long stamens of the brunette, the spring of those of nettle and the parer, the explosion of the fruit of balsamine and the box of boxwood, a thousand small games of the fruiting that I observed for the first time filled me with joy. "(...)

"The trees, the shrubs, the plants are the set and the garment of the earth. Nothing is so sad that the aspect of a bare and peeled countryside which only spreads in the eyes of stones, silt and Sands. But vivified by nature and clothed in her wedding dress in the middle of the course of waters and songs of birds, the earth offers man in the harmony of the three reigns a spectacle full of life, of interest and Charming, the only spectacle in the world whose eyes and hearts never get tired of. " (..)

"Brilliant, flowers, meadows enamel, fresh shade, streams, groves, greenery, come and purify my imagination. My dead soul to all large movements can only be affected by sensitive objects; Sensations, and it is only by them that pain or pleasure can reach me here below. Attracted by the laughing objects that surround me, I consider them, I contemplate them, I compare them, I learn Finally to classify them, and I am suddenly botanist that is necessary to be the one who wants to study nature only to constantly find new reasons to love it.

I am not trying to learn: it is too late. Besides, I have never seen that so much science contributes to the happiness of life. But I'm trying to give myself soft and simple amusements that I can easily taste and that distract me from my misfortunes. I have neither expenditure to do nor difficulty to take to wander nonchaident of grass grass, from plant to plants to examine them, to compare their various characters, to mark their relationships and their differences, finally to observe the plant organization so as to follow the march and play of these living machines, sometimes successfully seeks their general laws, and the end of their various structures, and to deliver to the charm of the administration grateful for the hand which makes me enjoy all of this."

"Plants seem to have been sown profusely on earth, like the stars in the sky, to invite man by the attraction of pleasure and curiosity to the study of nature; but the stars are placed far from We; we need preliminary knowledge, instruments, machines, very long ladders to reach and bring them together at our reach. The plants are naturally there. They are born under our feet, and in our hands so to speak, and if The smallness of their essential parts sometimes steals them with simple view, the instruments that make them are much easier than those of astronomy. Botanical is the study of a lonely lazy: a point and a magnifying glass is the whole device he needs to observe them. He walks, he wanders freely from one object to another, he reviews each flower with interest and curiosity, and as soon as he begins to grasp The laws of their structure he tastes to observe them u No pleasure without difficulty as lively as if it cost him a lot. In this bird occupation there is a charm that we only feel in the full calm of passions but which is enough alone to make life happy and sweet. "(...)

"This study (has become) for me, a kind of passion that fills the void of all those I no longer have."

Looking for wild flowers

Of all the places that the botanist must explore, the walls in the ancient state constitute one of the most picturesque. It is early, in the spring, that they must be visited mainly. The walls in ruins, those especially which have surrounded or still surrounding private gardens in which we have cultivated, for reasons of utility or pleasure, plants belonging to our flora or distant flora, frequently become a new Fatherland for some of them, which develop and reproduce just as well as in their natural region.
The fields offer the botanist an elegant flora formed, in the cultivated land proper, of annual plants, whose total development takes place in the same period of time as that of the cereals they accompany.
The most suitable time to explore the fields is the one preceding harvest of about a month or six weeks; It was around this time that this legion of plants flourished if known as Bleuet, Poppy, Pied-d'Alouette, Mélampyre, Vache wheat, whose indigenat would be difficult to demonstrate. It is still in June that the botanist will be able to collect several crucifers and umbelliferous, and almost all annual Véronics.
The vines offer botanists annual species, in particular Fumaria, calendula arvensis, etc. Nevertheless, the nature of the terrain and especially the exhibition that is usually devoted to viticulture, sometimes reveal plants of a slightly more southern climate.
The richest wooded localities are naturally those where the various essences are compared to be low, whose cover is not very thick, and those also whose terrain is rather fresh or humid as sandy and dry. Woods formed exclusively of resinous trees generally house only a vegetation poor in cash and puny in individuals.
Forests are the homeland of a considerable number of plants belonging to almost all the major divisions of the plant kingdom. This diversity inevitably leads to differences in the time of their flowering. For the search for liver and lichens, the excursions will take place from November to March. In April, we will harvest the Primevères, the Sylvie, the snow pierce.
We will not say anything about the terrains occupied by the heather, they are generally so poor that these shrubs form almost exclusively the bottom of the vegetation.
It is curious, for the botanist, to take a look at the vegetation so characteristic of the neighborhood of the dwellings. This flora is unimportant and the species that compose it seem to seek less the exposure of the place than the presence, in the field, of a certain amount of humus or saline substances. So nettle.
The flora of flooded places depends on the depth of the waters. In general, it is all the more lush and varied as the water layer is thicker. It has a variety of elegant flowers, whose appearance changes depending on whether the water is running or dormant.
The vegetation of the swamps, which obviously affects many points to the one in question, is one of the best characterized. It belongs, in fact, almost exclusively to the grasses and the Cyperaceae. It is in June-July that we will preferably explore it.
If, by browsing the localities of the plain, the botanist is struck by the fact that several of the herbaceous plants which constitute the flora have very developed stems and leaves, while their roots remain general very high plants. Here, in fact, most often, the stems and leaves barely exceed a decimeter; The roots, on the contrary, penetrate into the frightening cracks or debris of the rocks at an often considerable depth. As much as the foliage of plants is, in plains, soft, flange, as much that of alpine plants is generally covered with a more or less viscous substance.
It is in mountain countries that the botanist is assured of making harvests all the more abundant and varied as it will rise more towards the higher regions. The grassy places where torrents come together that descend high altitudes must be carefully explored; They are usually the habitat of a certain number of rare species belonging mainly to the Cyperaceae and the Juda. Finally, the rocky parts most often designated under the names of gravel or eBoulis offer great interest to the explorer; There, he frequently meets, much better developed and always easier to harvest, many species of the highest and often inaccessible summits, which are trained by different causes, in particular by the melting of snow.
The most suitable time to grasshole in the mountains is May-June for low localities, mid-July for those located between 1000 and 2000 meters above sea level, and from the end of July to mid-August for the upper regions.
The plants of the southern regions are covered in common characteristics: crease roots, narrow leaves, sometimes tough, an often penetrating odor. The amateur who wants to graster with fruit in these regions must do it from March to June and in September preferably.
But it is in the hedges and on the edges of the country roads that the botanist will find the most varieties of flowers and that, by the law of alternations, during a good part of the year.


Magnificent green landscape River Natural nature





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