The University of North Carolina Herbarium has
a handful of vascular plant specimens collected by Abbé Langlois – all are
from Louisiana and were collected in 1878-1893. It is possible that as our vascular plant
collection and lichen collection are databased, that we will discover more
specimens collected by Langlois.
Langlois was born on 24 April 1832 in Chavaney
in southeastern France, was educated in Montbrison. In 1855 he moved to the United States, and
lived for two years in Cincinnati, Ohio.
He was a pastor in Point-al-la-Hache in Placquemines Parish, Louisiana
for thirty years, then moved to St. Martinville in St. Martin Parish,
Louisiana in 1887. He died in St.
Martinville at age 58 in the summer of 1900. (1) He is interred at St. Martin de Tours
The Langlois Herbarium (LCU) at the Catholic
University of America in Washington, D.C. was named after l’Abbe August
Barthelemy Langlois. “His herbarium,
which was received at the Catholic University of America in 1896, numbered
approximately 20,000 specimens, but his duplicates were widely distributed to
several herbaria.” (2) LCU was
dispersed by sale in 1985-1986; institutions that received portions of LCU
included CAN, CM, DOV, F, NA, TEX, US, WIS, and HUDC.
Southern Botanists. Bull.
Torrey Bot. Cl. 20(8): 315-334. pp326-328 deal with Langlois:
Louisiana is at this time the fortunate possessor of a
most industrious and acute botanist in the person of Rev. A. B. Langlois, of
St. Martinville. Mr. Langlois was born
in France in 1832, and he began his botanical studies in that country, for
before coming to America in 1855, he had made an herbarium of some 1200
species. He spent nearly two years in
Cincinnati completing this ecclesiastical education, and then located at
Pointe-a-la-Hache, La., where he remained for 30 years. The locality being near the delta of the
Mississippi was one of peculiar botanical interest, and Mr. Langlois
succeeded in discovering many rare and some new species of plants. Langlois has carried on his botanical
studies under circumstances which would have deterred many from undertaking
them. He has been entirely cut off
from botanical associates, and the climate of his region is so moist as to
render the drying of specimens most difficult. Upon going to Point-a-la-Hache, he at once
renewed his botanical work, but being entirely without books and wholly
unacquainted with any American botanist he sent his first collections
numbering some 300 species, to France to be named, but he never heard from
them or received one word of encouragement.
Evidently disheartened he dropped the study of plants for 20 years, a
period which he now looks upon with deep regret. In 1878 he began again the study, first
with only Wood's "Manual," and then with Chapman's "Southern
Flora." Langlois thus relates his
progress from this time, "By accident I learned that there was a
botanist, Dr. Puissant, at the Ecclesiastical Seminary of Troy, N.Y., and I
immediately wrote to him offering Southern plants for Northern ones, and I
received from the doctor about 500 species.
Soon after I found out there was published here a "Botanical
Gazette," for which I immediately subscribed. From this journal I learned many things
unknown to me before; through its advertisements I got plants from Eggert, of
Missouri, Pringle, of Vermont, and a check-list from Patterson, of
Illinois. Then I began to know and
appreciate the advantages of having correspondents. The ones who have been of greatest service
to me in Phanerogams are Morong, of Massachusetts, Wibbe, of New York, and
later, J. Donnell Smith, of Baltimore.
In grasses I have been assisted by Dr. Vasey, of Washington, and in Cyperaceae by Connant.
1884, through the kindness of Mr. Lehnert, of Washington, I began the study
of mosses, liverworts and lichens, and in the latter part of 1885, at the
suggestion of Mr. Scribner, I began the study of fungi. I soon acquired a deep interest in these
plants, and have been greatly aided in their study by Prof. Ellis, of New
Jersey. The mycological flora of
Louisiana being so rich and at the same time so poorly known, I have for the
past three years given almost my entire attention to it. Every day I make new discoveries, and I am
yet far from having exhausted this intensely interesting part of the
Louisiana flora." Mr. Langlois
has now an herbarium containing some 5000 species of North American plants,
including 1214 species of Phanerogams and vascular cryptogams of his
State. So far as his State is
concerned, this work has been done single-handed. About a year ago, Langlois published a
catalogue of Louisiana plants which embraced the fungi he had found, now
numbering 1200 species. Langlois'
collections are widely distributed in the herbaria of this country and in
France, and his specimens are highly valued by all who possess them.
I have been thus particular
in speaking of Mr. Langlois, not only to show the
interest that may be acquired in the study of botany, but also to show what
may be accomplished under conditions most adverse. Mr. Langlois is now
rector of St. Martins' church, St. Martinsville, La.
Tucker, Shirley C. (1970)
Langlois's collection sites of Louisiana lichens. The Bryologist 73(1): 137-142.
Tucker, Arthur O.,
Muriel E. Poston, and Hugh H. Iltis (1989)
History of the LCU herbarium, 1895-1986. Taxon 38(2): 196-203.
Barthelemy. Louisiana Historical
Association. Web. Accessed 21 November 2012. http://www.lahistory.org/site29.php