“The tale of Jeanne Baret, like so many stories written about women, exceeded the demands of the world we live in.
Her enthusiasm was so much stronger than her fears that in 1767, despite women being expressly banned from boarding the vessels of the French Royal Navy, she snuck onboard.
How? She dressed up like a man and disguised herself as the assistant of the botanist P. Commerson. Together, they collected over 6000 samples of species, almost half of which had not yet been discovered by that time.
But unlike the acclaimed Commerson, Jeanne Baret and her contribution to botany fell into oblivion, to the point that even the only species of plant which Commerson had named after her – Baretia bonnafidia – was renamed.
Nowadays, however, there is a plant that bears her name, with white flowers and small red berries – as simple as her recognition in history should have been: Solanum Baretiae.”
The original painting is made in watercolor on paper.
This image represents the map of the Bougainville expedition upon which Jeanne Baret embarked.
There are two types of flowers on the map: The ones at the top are Baretia bonnafidia, a plant that Commerson named after her, whilst the flowers at the bottom are Solanum Baretiae, a plant that has also recently been named in her memory.