Citation

Gospel of the Gum: Jules-Émile Planchon and the Global Eucalyptus Fever of the Nineteenth Century

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Abstract:

Eucalyptus globulus, dubbed “the Prince of Eucalypts” by German-Australian botanist Ferdinand von Mueller, first seized the imagination of professional and amateur scientists worldwide in the 1860s and 1870s. Eucalyptus enthusiasts in the western Mediterranean basin, California, and elsewhere planted the quick-growing Australian tree on an unprecedented scale. This paper examines the global spread of a short text on e. globulus written by French scientist Jules-Émile Planchon in 1875. First published by the Parisian periodical Revue des Deux Mondes in January 1875, Planchon’s “L’Eucalyptus globulus au point de vue botanique, économique et medical” trumpeted the fast-growing and apparently anti-malarial properties of the eucalyptus tree genus. His article and translations of it immediately became must-read texts among eucalyptus planters around the Mediterranean region and across the world.
This paper charts the history of the first global boom in eucalyptus planting that occurred in the 1870s through a case study of the trans-regional dissemination, reproductions and translations of Planchon’s article. In the Mediterranean, British India and California, foresters hoped that the eucalyptus would transform climates, provide timber in deforested regions, and significantly reduce the incidence of malarial miasmas. Published scientific literature, which was flourishing alongside eucalyptus in ‘the age of steam and print,’ became the most important medium for trans-regional projects of collective learning and the global exchange of botanical knowledge.
The global diffusion of eucalyptus shows how trans-regional scientific networks of steam and print have produced significant environmental transformations in the modern period. The multilingual gospel of ‘the fever tree’ promoted by Mueller, Planchon and other eucalyptus enthusiasts spurred the planting of millions of eucalyptus in the late nineteenth century. Even though the germ theory of disease soon discredited the connection to malaria eradication, the Australian exotic had already become a fixture in forests, and in foresters’ arsenals, worldwide.
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Association:
Name: ASEH Annual Conference
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http://aseh.net


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1169613_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Perry, Jackson. "Gospel of the Gum: Jules-Émile Planchon and the Global Eucalyptus Fever of the Nineteenth Century" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASEH Annual Conference, Drake Hotel, Chicago, IL, <Not Available>. 2018-01-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1169613_index.html>

APA Citation:

Perry, J. R. "Gospel of the Gum: Jules-Émile Planchon and the Global Eucalyptus Fever of the Nineteenth Century" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ASEH Annual Conference, Drake Hotel, Chicago, IL <Not Available>. 2018-01-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p1169613_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: Eucalyptus globulus, dubbed “the Prince of Eucalypts” by German-Australian botanist Ferdinand von Mueller, first seized the imagination of professional and amateur scientists worldwide in the 1860s and 1870s. Eucalyptus enthusiasts in the western Mediterranean basin, California, and elsewhere planted the quick-growing Australian tree on an unprecedented scale. This paper examines the global spread of a short text on e. globulus written by French scientist Jules-Émile Planchon in 1875. First published by the Parisian periodical Revue des Deux Mondes in January 1875, Planchon’s “L’Eucalyptus globulus au point de vue botanique, économique et medical” trumpeted the fast-growing and apparently anti-malarial properties of the eucalyptus tree genus. His article and translations of it immediately became must-read texts among eucalyptus planters around the Mediterranean region and across the world.
This paper charts the history of the first global boom in eucalyptus planting that occurred in the 1870s through a case study of the trans-regional dissemination, reproductions and translations of Planchon’s article. In the Mediterranean, British India and California, foresters hoped that the eucalyptus would transform climates, provide timber in deforested regions, and significantly reduce the incidence of malarial miasmas. Published scientific literature, which was flourishing alongside eucalyptus in ‘the age of steam and print,’ became the most important medium for trans-regional projects of collective learning and the global exchange of botanical knowledge.
The global diffusion of eucalyptus shows how trans-regional scientific networks of steam and print have produced significant environmental transformations in the modern period. The multilingual gospel of ‘the fever tree’ promoted by Mueller, Planchon and other eucalyptus enthusiasts spurred the planting of millions of eucalyptus in the late nineteenth century. Even though the germ theory of disease soon discredited the connection to malaria eradication, the Australian exotic had already become a fixture in forests, and in foresters’ arsenals, worldwide.


 
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