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Das Dokument enthält die Antworten des Botanikers und Forschungsreisenden Robert Brown auf einen im Spätsommer 1816 in Paris verfassten Fragenkatalog Humboldts zur Pflanzengeographie. In seinem Dankschreiben (Paris, 18. April 1817, British Library, Correspondence and Papers of Robert Brown, Add MS 32440, fol. 144) geht Humboldt insbesondere auf die ausführliche Liste in Antwort Nummer 14 ein, in der Brown Pflanzen aufführt, die sowohl in den Tropen der Alten als auch der Neuen Welt heimisch sind. Die zahlreichen Bearbeitungsspuren Humboldts in Form von Notizen und angeklebten Zetteln belegen eine immer wieder aufgenommene, mindestens bis in die späten 1840er Jahre reichende Beschäftigung mit diesem Manuskript.

Aufgeklebte Notiz des Empfängers (am linken Rand) | 5rBrown m’a dit que le Goodenia littoralis de la Nouvelle Hollande a été décrit par Cavanilles (Sellière) de l’Amérique méridionale (la même espèce). Il y a de vrais Wintera à la Nouvelle Zéelande. Voyez Remarks page 57. | 5v [...]

| 6rAnswers to Baron A. Humboldt’s queries on Botanical Geography.

Anmerkung des Empfängers (innerhalb der Zeile)par Monsieur Brown

 Number 1. I have no reason to believe that any species of Pinus is found in the Southern hemisphere.

– 2. The Araucaria of Brazil (no doubt the Pino of the inhabitants) of which we have seeds and specimens with young female aments, appears to be the same as that of Chili.

– 3. There are at least two species of Pinus in India. Pinus longifolia of Roxburgh & Lambert, and Pinus Deodwara of  Eine erste Edition der Flora Indica gab William Carey zwischen 1820 und 1824 heraus (Roxburgh/Carey/Wallich 1820–1824).
Roxburgh’s unpublished flora indica
, which is nearly allied to Pinus Cedrus.

Neither of them are known to grow within the tropic. Of Pinus longifolia. Roxburgh says that it is found among the mountains of Nepaul and on those north of the plains of Bengal, Oude &c. Pinus Deodwara is a native of the mountains North of Rohilcund.

– 4. I possess no correct information concerning the Pines of Thibet nor even of those of China except Pinus Massoniana of Lambert, of which

| 6vThere are specimens in Sir Joseph Banks’s Herbarium from Danes Island near Canton.

– 5. Pinus occidentalis is not native of Jamaica. The only specimens in Sir Joseph Banks’s Herbarium are a branch without fructification from Doctor Swadtz and two cones lately received from Hispaniola.  Vgl. Humboldt an Brown, Paris, 18. April 1817: „Le cône de Pinus occidentalis ressemble beaucoup à celui du Mexique, mais il me paroît bien singulier que ce Pin ne se trouve pas sur les hautes montagnes de la Jamaïque, tandis qu’il est si commun à l’Île des Pinos au Sud de la Havane presque au niveau de la mer.“ British Library, Correspondence and Papers of Robert Brown, Add MS 32440, fol. 144.
Of these I send one for your inspection begging it may be return’d by Mister Von Buch

6. I have no means of answering this query there being no Japanese specimens of the genus Pinus here. It is however I think quite as likely that Thunberg may be mistaken as correct on this subject & it is not unlikely that Pinus Massoniana may be his Pinus sylvestris.

– 7. Doctor Roxburgh (in flora indica inedita) regards his Cactus indicus as distinct from Cactus cochinellifer and Cactus Opuntia and believes it (chiefly from information of its being very general, and from its having a native name) to be indigenous in India: of the probability of this I have no good means of judging. But it appears somewhat unfavourable to the opinion that there is no Sanscrit name for the plant.

In the same work Doctor Roxburgh has also a second species from China which he considers new and which indeed both from his description and figure may very well be distinct from Aufgeklebte Notiz des Empfängers (am linken Rand) | 7vPlantes sociales Monsieur Brown dans un célèbre mémoire sur les Protéacées  Brown 1810, 23: „The celebrated traveller Humboldt is the first who has expressly pointed out a remarkable difference in the distribution of the species of plants. He observes that, while the greater number grow irregularly scattered and mixed with each other, there are some which form considerable masses, or even extensive tracts, to the nearly absolute exclusion of other species.“
(Transactions of the Linnean Society Volume 10 Part I (1810) page 20
adopte mon idée des plantes sociales et ajoute que celles que l’on trouve sous les tropiques ne se trouvent presque qu’à de grandes hauteurs ou sur les côtes. Protéacées sociales bloß Protea argentea et Protea mellifera (Afrika) und Banksia speciosa (New Holland).
Les Protéacées presque exclusives à l’hémisphère austral surtout aux grandes îles (Nouvelle Hollande Nouvelle Zéelande), pas les petites, pas à Madagascar, moins les Continens, ceux de l’Amérique ressemblans plus à celles de la Nouvelle Hollande qu’à celles de l’Afrique. Les plus grandes masses sous les 30– 36° , Anmerkung des Empfängers (am linken Rand)Banksia integrifolia Seepflanze bis 40 latitudo latitude Sud. Grevillea. Hakea. Banksia. Persoonia . À la Nouvelle Hollande plus au Sudouest qu’à l’est. Östlich mehr Amerika , westlich mehr afrika ähnlich. Gehen in Tropen bis höchste Berge. tournez | 7rBrown bemerkt daß so wie ich Embothrium emarginatum (Oreocallis grandiflora) bei Cuenca so hoch gefunden, so auch er in Van Diemen Embothrium bis  Foot: Fuß (Großbritannien) Foot (Great Britain), 4.000 Foot entsprechen 1,22 km4000 englische Fuß hoch. Nur 2 genera gemeinschaftlich den Continenten, ein nördliches Genus Rhopala in Amerika, Cochinchine und Malayisches Archipel. und Embothrium das südlichste genus Amerika und Neu Holland. Lieben Seenähe, trokne sandige Klippen, daher wohl selten Orinoco. wenige Salzige Sümpfe von Embothrium ferrugineum Cavanilles. Nach Brown in Amerika 2 ächte Embothria nemlich Embothrium coccineum Forster tierra del fuego und Embothrium lanceolatum  Ruiz/Pavón 1798–1802, I, 62.
Flora Peruviana
Concepcion de Chili und 1 Oreocallides nemlich: Oriocallis grandiflora (Embothrium grandiflora Lamarck) ou Embothrium emarginatum  Ruiz/Pavón 1798–1802, I, 62.
Flora Peruviana
in collibus frigidis Tarmae und 10 Species Roupala in Amerika Roupala montana, Roupala media, Roupala nitida, Roupala peruviana (Embothrium monospermum.  Ruiz/Pávon, I, 63.
Flora Peruviana
) lezte in montibus frigidis Peruviae: in Molukken Roupala moluccana, Roupala serrata: in Cochinchine Roupala cochinchinensis.
| 8rCactus cochinellifer and Cactus opuntia to which it most nearly approaches. This plant it appears is now growing in the Island of Saint Helena.

– 8. I know of no approach to American vegetation in the Azores. But we know very little of the Botany of these Islands. It is remarkable that Erica vulgaris should be a common plant on the hills of Saint Miguel.

– 9. On the subject of the taste of recent Tabasheer I may refer you to Doctor Russels Russell’s paper in Philosophical Transactions volume 80. page 274 & seq. where he says that in a semifluid state it had a slight saline sub-astringent taste: that the residuum had a pretty strong saline taste with less astringency. The substance in a more inspissated state had a sharp salt taste which it loses in a great degree by keeping.

Tabasheer was produced in the Hothouse of Doctor Pitcairn in a solid state. The taste of this pebble is not mention’d.

– 10. I have no correct information to give on the subject of this query.

– 11. None of the plants mention’d in this query are known to me as natives of Northern India. In Mister Saunders’s Journal published in Philosophical Transactions | 8vvolume 79 and in the appendix to Turner’s Tibet many European plants are mention’d as natives of that country. Among these are Vaccinium Myrtillus and Vaccinium oxycoccos. Arbutus Uva-ursi and what is more remarkable still an Erica of which the specific name is not given but he can hardly have been mistaken in the genus.

– 12. Many European plants are noticed by Thunberg as natives of South Africa and of several of these, at least, there seems to be no reason to doubt. I have myself found at the Cape Samolus Valerandi and Corrigiola littoralis.

– 13. There appears to me no reason to doubt Rumph’s Quercus molucca’s from which the Linnean species so called was established, being really a Quercus. Altho’ Commerson has consider’d it as more probably a Laurus. In Sir Joseph Banks’s Herbarium there is more than one species of the genus from Sumatra, and one from Java.

 Humboldt vergibt die Nummer 13 in seinem Fragenkatalog versehentlich doppelt. Brown führt die Zählung in seinen Antworten allerdings lückenlos fort. Im Folgenden beziehen sich also Browns Antwort 14 auf Humboldts Frage 13[b] („Plantes communes aux tropiques...“), Browns Antwort 15 auf Humboldts Frage 14 usf.
I entertain myself no doubt that there are many plants common to the aequinoctial regions of both Continents: with respect to the plants mention’d in your query Aufgeklebte Notiz des Empfängers (am linken Rand) | 9r Ausser Tierra del Fuego wo 33 englische Pflanzen sind, ist es falsch dass analoge Klimate gleiche Pflanzen hervorbringen, lies  Ross 1847, II, 302: „The naturalist who first visited the Fuegian shores felt probably only disappointment when recognising the familiar genera and representative species of his European home: he would naturally infer, with a corresponding diminution of interest, that analogous latitudes produce an analogous vegetation in opposite hemispheres. Experience has proved the fallacy of such a conclusion; and accordingly the Flora of Fuegia claims an additional and peculiar charm, in its being the only region south of the tropics where the botany of our temperate zone is, as it were, repeated to a very considerable extent.“
Hooker in Ross Voyage Tome II page 302
. | 9v [...]
| 10r The specimens here are too imperfect to determine the point. but I subjoin a list of those I consider the best ascertain’d. Anmerkung des Empfängers (am linken Rand)Plantes communes aux Régions tropicales de l’ancien et nouveau Continent.




  • Avicennia tomentosa
  • Herpestis Monniera = gratiola Monnieria
  • Sphenoclea zeylanica
  • Ipomoea Pes-caprae
  • Scoparia dulcis
  • Sonchus oleraceus
  • Oxalis corniculata
  • Cardiospermum halicacabum
  • Suriana maritima
  • Sophora tomentosa Anmerkung des Empfängers (am rechten Rand)Samolus Valerandi und Corrigiola littoralis (europäisch) fand Brown am Cap. MSS numero 12, auch Goodenia littoralis Neu Holland identisch mit südamerikanischer von Cavanilles beschrieben.

| 10v– 15. To answer this query it is necessary to go a little into the history of the two plants mention’d in it.

1st Asplenium monanthemum. Linnaeus. Linneus by whom the species was established had his plant from Promontorio bonae spei and it is figur’d in Smith 1789–1791, Fasciculus III, 73.
Smith’s icones ineditae 73
. This plant I have gather’d at the Cape of Good Hope. The additional loci natales of „Insulae Philipp. Marian. Peru & Nova Hispania“ in  Swartz 1806, 80.
Swadtz’s synopsis
&  Linné/Willdenow/Link 1797–1830, 322–323.
Willd. Willdenow ’s species
are first given by Cavanilles in his demonstrations 1801 page 258 on the authority of Nee’s Herbarium and probably adopted by these authors without consideration.

In Herbario Banksiano there is no American species approaching to monanthemum. There is one however from the Sandwich Islands nearly related to it which may very likely be the plant of the Phillippine & Mariane Islands. The evidence of either this or of true monanthemum being American does not appear to me satisfactory.

2dAspidium punctulatum Willd. Willdenow species 5 page 220 is first established by  Swartz 1806, 46; 245.
Swadtz in synopsis filicum
probably from the Sierra Leone plant which it appears he had from Afzelius, though the specific name be taken from Plumier:  Swartz 1806, 245.
loco citato
. I am inclin’d to think Swadtz has no West India specimen of his punctulatum & if so its being American will depend on the correctness of his reference. In my opinion a very slender foundation for identity of species in that tribe or | 11r section of Nephrodium to which it belongs.

–16. I have not yet looked into Strabo for Rhizophora Mangle.

–17. No Rosa I believe is known to exist in the Southern hemisphere. Nor is our other national genus. Carduus.

–18. I have nothing satisfactory to say on this subject.

–19. I have nothing to add to what I have formerly said on this subject in my General remarks &c.

–20. At present we know little or nothing of the vegetation of the Galapagoes.

–21. To this I have only to repeat what I have said respecting 19.

–22. In answer to this query I subjoin a list of plants common to the temperate and torrid zones of both hemispheres.


Anmerkung des Empfängers (am linken Rand)Plantes communes à la Zone éxquinoxiale et tempérée Anmerkung des Empfängers (am rechten Rand)!! Viel allgemeines über Verbreitung gewisser Species Siehe in meiner Relation historique livre 4 Chapitre 13 édition octavo Tome 4 page 226–243.



  • Verbena officinalis
  • Oxalis corniculata
  • Solanum nigrum
  • Sigesbeckia orientalis
  • Sonchus oleraceus

Anmerkung des Empfängers (am linken Rand)Potentilla anserina fast in der ganzen Welt  Hooker, J. D. 1840–1860, I.1.
Hooker pagina 264
. Schleiden nennt Gänseblumen Bellis perennis (Pflanze pagina 91) und 237und will auch sie sei überall. Dubito.

Anmerkung des Empfängers (am linken Rand)Pflanzen die sich ersezen  Hooker, J. D. 1844–1860, I.1: „There are many instances of genera having representatives in those three botanical regions [Südamerika, Australien, Neuseeland, UP], the species being in general mutually more related than to any others [...]. This similarity in some of the botanical productions of countries, otherwise unlike in vegetation, is far more remarkable than a total dissimilarity between lands so far separated, or even than a positive specific identity would be at first sight; because it argues the operation of some agent far above our powers of comprehension, and far other from what we commonly observe to affect geographical distribution.“
Hooker pagina 230

Anmerkung des Empfängers (am unteren Rand)


Brown, Robert: Answers to Baron A. Humboldt’s queries on Botanical Geography (London, Ende 1816 oder Anfang 1817), hg. v. Ulrich Päßler unter Mitarbeit von Eberhard Knobloch und Ingo Schwarz. In: edition humboldt digital, hg. v. Ottmar Ette. Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Berlin. Version 4 vom 27.05.2019. URL: https://edition-humboldt.de/v4/H0015188


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