Wire of an apothecary, it is impassioned very early for the Natural history and in particular for the Botanique. In 1659, Pierre Magnol obtains brilliantly his doctorate of Médecine in the most famous university of the time: that of Montpellier. Thanks to the protection of Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1656-1708) and of Guy-Crescent Fagon (1638-1718), he becomes doctor with the court and substitute with the Jardin for the king.
The pulpit of botany is however refused to him. Reason: Pierre Magnol is Protestant… In 1685, with the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, it must abjure Protestantism. This act opens the way to him: in 1694, it obtains finally a pulpit at the medical college of Montpellier. In 1697, he becomes the director of the Botanical garden and, in 1709, he replaces Tournefort with the Academy of Science.
One owes him remarkable a Flore of the surroundings of Montpellier, the Alps and the Pyrenees. He is the author of Botacinum Monspeliense sive plantarum circa Monspelium nascentium index (Lyon, 1676), Prodromus historiæ generalis plantarum, in quo familiæ per tabulas disponuntur (Montpellier, 1689), Hortus regius Monspeliensis, sive catalogus plantarum, quæ in horto regio Monspeliensi demonstrantur (Montpellier, 1697) and Novus character plantarum (published posthumously by his/her son, Antoine Magnol (1676-1759), in Montpellier in 1720). In its various works, Magnol describes more than 2.000 species, some for the first time.
Its works, where it describes more than 2.000 species, make it recognize like the largest botanist of its time. For certain historians, it is Magnol which introduced the modern system of classification of the plants by in botany. It is certain that it sticks in its Prodromus to delimit families of plants having family ties between them. It classifies there the plants in 75 easily recognizable tables by the use of one or two adjectives, which makes its use very easy. Even if some of its bringings together (the Liliacée S with the Orchidée S) are not right, it makes member of a remarkable smoothness of analysis.
It is in its homage that Carl von Linné (1707-1778) renamed a tree with the splendid flowers, the Magnolia .
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