OK, I think I need to fill in a few gaps here.
This plant was named in honor of Louis Antoine, Comte de Bougainville
(1729-1811), French admiral and explorer. From 1766 to 1769, Bougainville commanded the first French expedition to circumnavigate the globe. On board was the expedition’s botanist, Dr. Philibert Commerçon
(also sometimes spelled Commerson
When the expedition paused in Rio de Janeiro, the first specimens of this plant were collected by Commerçon or his assistant somewhere in or in the vicinity of that city.
Commerçon quit the expedition on the island of Mauritius in order to spend more time exploring there as well as the island of Madagascar. His collections from the trip as well as his field notes were sent along with the expedition and delivered to the Jardin des Plantes in Paris to await Commerçon’s return and publication. Commerçon died on Mauritius four years later, with his collections from the trip and his notes still unpublished.
Over time, various people at the Jardin used Commerçon’s collections and notes to publish the names of new plants. In 1789, Antoine Laurent de Jussieu
(1748-1836), in a work titled Genera Plantarum, published a description of a new genus based “ex sicco Commers. specimine Brasiliano,” on a Brazilian specimen from the collection of Commerçon. Jussieu named this new genus “Buginvillaea Commers.
”, “Nomen à D. de Bougainville itineris Commersoniani duce” named for the commander of the expedition on which Commerçon traveled.
Obviously, Jussieu badly mangled the name. Whether this was due to Jussieu, his printer, his printer’s typesetter, or Commerçon’s notes is unknown, but the intention of honoring Bougainville is known, “Nomen à D. de Bougainville …”
In 1841, Édouard Spach, in volume 10 of his work titled Histoire Naturelle des Végétaux: Phanérogames, “corrected’ the generic name to “Bougainvillea Commers.
In the 1950s, the International Botanical Congress, the body responsible for deciding on and publishing the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (it has recently been renamed the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants), adopted procedures for conserving names or spellings of names (“orthographies”) over other names or spellings that otherwise would have priority under the Code. At some point, the Congress (I don’t know which one in which year) adopted a proposal to conserve the spelling and type species:Bougainvillea
Comm. ex Juss., Gen. Pl.: 91. 4 Aug 1789 (‘Buginvillaea’)
(orth. cons.) [Nyctagin.
Typus: B. spectabilis
Willd. (Sp. Pl. 2: 348. 1799) (typ. cons.)The International Code of Nomenclature only governs professional botanists in their professional publications.
It does not govern anyone else.
The officially correct scientific name of this plant is Bougainvillea
. Nevertheless, if some English speakers wish to assert that the English common name of Bougainvillea
is or ought to be “bougainvillaea,” I can’t stop them. But I don’t like it.
For the sake of an entry in LEO, I would ask, however, where all the dictionaries cited here came by that misspelling. I don’t know the answer to that. Botanically, the first botanist to spell the name as Bougainvillaea
was Jacques Denys Choisy in Alphonse de Candolle’s 1849 work titled Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis. Choisy cites at least five other spelling variants -- Bugenvillea, Buguinvillaea, Buginvillia, Bugainvillaea, & Buginvillea.
I would point out that the websters-online-dictionary cited in #11 is the 1913
edition of Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary. My personal experience with botanical names in that edition is: it is badly, badly out-of-date. I would also say that applying Latin rules of pronunciation and stress to “bougainvillaea,” the stress would have to be on the next-to-last syllable “ae” because the vowel of that syllable is either long or a diphthong.
Here are citations to:
Jussieu’s original publication in 1789:http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/5437323
Spach’s corrected spelling in 1841:http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/10096...
Choisy’s misspelling in 1849:http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/15943...