International Carnivorous Plant Society

Constantine Samuel Rafinesque-Schmaltz

Constantine Samuel Rafinesque-Schmaltz (1783 – 1840)

Constantine Samuel Rafinesque-Schmaltz was a French 19th-century polymath born near Constantinople and self-educated in France. He travelled as a young man in the United States, ultimately settling in Ohio in 1815, where he made notable contributions to botany, zoology, and the study of prehistoric earthworks in North America. He also contributed to the study of ancient Mesoamerican linguistics, in addition to work he had already completed in Europe.

In 1819, Rafinesque became professor of botany at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, where he also gave private lessons in French, Italian, and Spanish. Rafinesque started recording all the new species of plants and animals he encountered in travels throughout the state.

Amongst the many taxa he described were the carnivorous plants, Sarracenia leucophylla and Drosera filiformis.


For more information on the life of Constantine Samuel Rafinesque-Schmaltz please see Wikipedia.

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Species description of Sarracenia leucophylla

Species description of Sarracenia leucophylla in a detail of Rafinesque's book "Florula Ludoviciana; or a flora of the state of Louisiana" (1817). Rafinesque classified S. leucophylla as an aroid even though he noted the leaves of Sarracenia are reminiscent of the flowers of aroids. He does not mention the flowers of S. leucophylla so must not have seen them.




Constantine Samuel Rafinesque-Schmaltz

Constantine Samuel Rafinesque-Schmaltz.