Ten cubic metres, two centuries of collecting, 56 000 botanic charts: a unique heritage, which almost web tôt hé rubbish when the botanical laboratory at the university of Orsay closed in 199. It took a combination of circumstances, the commitment of passionate volunteers and the support from certain authorities for this monumental herbarium of Vilmorin to be purchased by the town of Verrières-le-Buisson, where the company used to have its headquarters, and for it to be classified as a historical monument. Louise de Vilmorin, one of the descendants of the dynasty, had been the companion of Malraux, who had defined the inventory of the patrimony? This is one of the historical allusions in this saga of the herbarium, which can be read like a novel, from the French Revolution to our day, presenting in the supporting roles Buffon, Lamarck, Parmentier or landscape artist Edouard André. It can also be read like a summary of questions which worry us today – genetical selection, natural prairies, wild varieties. We can note that Belin, who published this book, was created in 1777, two years before Philippe-Victoire de Vilmorin became the sole owner of t he Andrieux-Vilmorin company. Another historical allusion.
Review published in the newsletter #411 - from 17 December 2015 to 6 January 2016