A common plant in the Sydney area at the time of white settlement was the Port Jackson fig (Ficus rubiginosa Desf. ex Vent.). A specimen was collected by William Tench (“Capt Tench”, Port Jackson, BM!) of the First Fleet of 1788. It was introduced to cultivation in Britain by Sir Joseph Banks in 1789 (Hooker, 1829), but was to be described formally in 1805 from materials grown in France. It came as a shock, however, to discover that it had been named before this- from cultivated material, again grown in France, and published in a French book in which other Australian plants received the names they now have. This is Dumont de Courset’s Le Botaniste Cultivateur (see Appendix I), where it appears as Ficus novae-walliae (Le Figuier de la Baie de Botanique).
David J. Mabberley: Taxon, Vol. 53, No.1 (Feb., 2004), pp.187-192. International Association for Plant Taxonomy(IAPT). French Firsts
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