Foremost students
of Malpighiaceae
Antonio José Cavanilles

16 January 1745 — 10 May 1804

The Spanish cleric and botanist Antonio José Cavanilles was a noted contributor to the understanding of the flora of Latin America and the West Indies. Cavanilles described numerous new species and clarified the disposition of many already known. During a stay in Paris (1777-81), he studied with A. L. de Jussieu, among others, but his publications follow the "sexual system" of Linnaeus. In 1789, he returned to the Real Jardín Botánico in Madrid, where he became director in 1801.

Many of the species Cavanilles published are based on herbarium specimens obtained during explorations of the Americas sponsored by the Spanish crown and also on living plants, often grown from seed collected during those expeditions.

The types for names published by Cavanilles are in Paris in the herbarium of the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (the general collection, the Jussieu Herbarium, and the Lamarck Herbarium) and in Madrid, housed as a separate collection at the herbarium of the Real Jardín Botánico.

His contributions to the Malpighiaceae are largely published in fascicles 8 (1789) and 9 (1790) of his "Monadelphiae classis dissertationes decem" and in volumes 5 (1799) and 6 (1801) of his "Icones et descriptiones plantarum." He proposed the genera Flabellaria, Galphimia, Molina (=Hiptage), and Tetrapterys.