Ernest Petit (1927-2007)

Ernest Petit

Petit studied agronomy and botany at the University of Leuven (1946-1951). He spent his entire career at the National Botanic Garden and was a member of staff at the institute between May 1953 and June 1991. He began as a scientist working on the “Flore du Congo Belge et du Rwanda-Urundi”. After having contributed the instalments of the families Geraniaceae and Polygalaceae, he focused on the elaboration of the large family Rubiaceae. In 1969, he became Head of the newly erected cryptogamic research unit, the “Department Bryophytes-Thallophytes.” His leadership and scientific integrity were acknowledged in 1976, when he was appointed Director of the National Botanic Garden of Belgium.
Under his directorship, the outdoor collections were reorganised, Bouchout castle was restored as a conference and exhibition centre, and a new building was erected for the cryptogamic department.
E. Petit lectured (1971-1989) in systematics and phytogeography at the University of Leuven.

Biographies:
J. Rammeloo, Ernest Petit, honorary director of the National Botanic Garden of Belgium. Bull. Jard. Bot. Nat. Belg. / Bull. Nat. Plantentuin Belg. 62: 3-6 (1993); with portrait.
E. Robbrecht, E. Petit’s contributions to Rubiaceae systematics. Ibid.: 18-22 (1993).
Anonymous. Ernest Petit (1927-2007), Honorary Director of the National Botanic Garden of Belgium. Syst. Geogr. Pl. 77: 133-140 (2007); with list of publications.

Elmar Robbrecht, Dec 2007.

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