The BBV unit preserves and values the herbaria of Ernest-Henry Tourlet (1843-1907), a pharmacist botanist born in Indre-et-Loire. This collection is classified in conformance with historic monuments by the order n°028 of March 19th, 2008:

  • Un herbier d’Indre-et-Loire: 11 000 units stored in 149 folders (17.2 m. shelf spaces), containing 1 531 species of tracheophytes harvested in the department between 1860 and 1907.
  • Un herbier gĂ©nĂ©ral: 18 000 specimens stored in 127 folders (21.8 m. shelf spaces), containing 6 500 species harvested in France by Tourlet, sent by friends and Societies of exchanges, or bought from botanists travellers. The collection, for 2/3, is of french origin, the others come from Europe or from old European colonies in the Maghreb and Middle East.
  • Un herbier de bryophytes: 143 specimens for 118 species harvested in the regions around Paris or Chinon. This plant collection is made by Tourlet during his studies of pharmacy.

The Tourlet collection is completed by field notes of his harvests in Indre-et-Loire between 1861 and 1889, great exchanges with local or national botanists (such Abbot Coste) and the almost complete manuscript of a Flore du département d’Indre-et-Loire. Link to Tourlet herbarium

The BBV unit explores at present 4 other plant collections: the remainder of the herbarium of Derouet (François-Joseph (1773-1860) and Frédéric (1811-1875), 2 polytechnic engineers living in Tours. It is preserved in the unit.

The three others plant collections are stored in University library sciences-pharmacy of Tours: 1) The herbarium of the pharmacist David Robert BARNSBY (1832-1916), director of the school of medicine and pharmacy of Tours. 2) The herbarium of the prefect Paul-Etienne VILLIERS du TERRAGE (1774-1858). 3) "An herbarium of the plants of Touraine ", realized between 1907 and 1915 by the Société botanique de Touraine. Link to additional herbarium


Collection promotions

Tourlet herbaria were renovated and a web site presenting scanned specimens was realized with 2 contracts of the Ministry of Research (on 2004-2007: Herbier d’Indre-et-Loire; on 2008-2011: Herbier général).

Tourlet herbaria belong in "Herbiers de France" and the operation of digitalization enters the project E-ReColNat.

Other exhibitions:

In 2007, for the 100th anniversary of the death of Tourlet, an exhibition "Hommage Ă  Ernest-Henry Tourlet, botaniste et pharmacien Ă©rudit ", was gone up to the castle of Tours jointly by the University and the City of Tours

In 2013, a video (~10mn) presenting Tourlet plant collections was shot within the framework of the Master's degree "patrimoine culturel immatériel" of the University and the magazine "L’Express" indicated herbaria in a supplement “Les trésors cachés de Tours”. Link to the video

Since 2007, two herborizations called "Sur les pas de Tourlet" are annually organized on sites visited formerly by Tourlet, with the cooperation of the regional natural reserve Loire-Anjou-Touraine. Photos of plant specimen sheets are regularly sent: illustration of articles or botanical works; researches on particular genura (Daucus, Spergularia). Two species presumed disappeared in Indre-et-Loire (Gagea bohemica, Stipa pennata) were found by exploiting the information written on specimen labels.


Contact: Marc Rideau, Martine Courtois


Demeulant, J., Courtois, M. & Rideau M. (2014). L’herbier de bryophytes d’Ernest-Henry Tourlet. Symbioses (accepted).

Courtois, M., Birolleau, J. C., Ernouf, D., Frotte, V., Mingot, V., Pilon, F. & Rideau, M. (2012). Mercury quantification in samples of the E.H. Tourlet’s herbarium and impregnation measurements of people involved in its restoration procès. Acta Botanica Gallica: Botany Letters 159(3), 329-34.

Delaunay, G. & Rideau, M. (2011). La formation d’un jeune botaniste au XIXe siècle : analyse de vingt-quatre lettres adressées par Ernest-Henry Tourlet à Alexandre Boreau. Bulletin de la Société botanique du Centre-ouest 42, 199-262.

Doucet, M., Heller, C. & Rideau, M. (2008). L’herbier d’Indre-et-Loire d’Ernest-Henry Tourlet, panorama de la flore tourangelle de la fin du 19e siècle. Journal de botanique de la Société botanique de France 44, 75-80.

Rideau M. (2007). La vie et l’œuvre d’Ernest-Henry Tourlet, pharmacien chinonais (1843-1907). Mémoires de l’Académie des Sciences, Arts et Belles-Lettres de Touraine 20, 11-31.