Charles Antoine Lemaire 1800-1871
Charles Antoine Lemaire, editor of important horticulture
journals of his time, was born in Paris in 1800. He attended
the University of Paris and, though he became Professor of Classical
Literature there, he had developed an interest in botany. His
first serious project in the world of horticulture was assisting
Parisian nurseryman M. Mathieu in creating a collection of cacti.
He is best known today for his work with this family, about which
he wrote several books. Most of his writing however appeared
in the general horticultural periodicals of which he was editor.
Le Jardin Fleuriste
Gand, chez les éditeurs et E. Gyselynck, 1851-1854
Image from Antiquariaat
In 1838, Lemaire became editor of H. Cousin's horticultural
journal L'Horticulteur Universel . He moved from Paris
to Gent, Belgium, in 1845 to be an editor of Louis van Houtte's,
Flore des Serres et des Jardins de l'Europe. Nine years
later, he joined a collaborative effort of some of the great
plant specialists, hybridizers and hunters of the day to become
the editor of L'Illustration Horticole, founded by Ambroise
Verschaffelt of the Nursery Verschaffelt family and Jean Linden,
the renowned orchid hunter and editor of Les Orchidees.
He held that position for sixteen years until Linden bought up
the Verschaffelt Établissement and gave the editorship
of L'Illustration Horticole to Edouard André. André
wrote in 1871, "Posterity will esteem M. Lemaire more highly
than did his contemporaries." Lemaire died in Paris in 1871.
It was his article about Nymphaea Devoniensis, published
in L'Illustration Horticole in 1854, that inspired Joseph
Bory Latour-Marliac to attempt the hybridization of waterlilies.
Decades later Latour-Marliac introduced a great many outstanding
hybrid hardy waterlilies and today remains perhaps the single
best Nymphaea hybridizer of all time.