Louis van Houtte (1810-1876)

Louis Benoit van Houtte, Belgian horticulturist, was born at Ypres on June 29, 1810, and died at Gent May 9, 1876. He was associated with the Jardin Botanique de Brussels from 1836 to 1838. In 1839, after an expedition to Brazil, he went to Gent where he founded the Ecole d'Horticulture and the horticultural journal Flore des serres et des Jardins de l'Europe. Flore des serres was an extensive work with over 2000 colored plates. It contained 23 volumes published from 1845 to 1883, some coming out after his death.

He also established a nursery there with managing partner the nurseryman Adolf Papeleu. Van Houtte's knowledge of botany,

Image from Shitigatsu

his commercial aptitude and skill languages made the Establishment Van Houtte very successful. About 1845 he began sending out plant collectors to bring back orchids and other exotic plants from South and Central America. His company propagated many plants for European greenhouses. The first Victoria to be cultivated on the Continent grew there in a specially built greenhouse and the first confirmed waterlily hybrid, N. Ortgiesiano-rubra, was created there by Eduard Ortgies. By 1870 Van Houtte owned the most flourishing nursery in Belgium, with an area of 14 hectares and 50 greenhouses. After he died in 1876 his son continued the business.


The Van Houtte Nursery
Images from Meemelink

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