This Day in History: 1708-12-28

Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1656 – 1708) died this day. He was a French botanist, noted for being the first to make a clear definition of the concept of genus for plants. His use of a single Latin name for the genus, followed by a few descriptive words for the species, was a major step in the development of binomial nomenclature – the use of a two-word Latin name to denote each species. Although Linnaeus popularized its use in his 1753 Species Plantarum, de Tournefort is considered to have founded the modern concept of genera.