De L'Ecluse, Charles 1526-1609

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De L'Ecluse was a Frenchman also known as Carolus Clusius. Clusius studied at various universities and traveled extensively with botany his principal interest. He wrote and translated for Dodoens and other botanists and acted as tutor to sons of important persons. He rose above personal misfortunes, including ill health. Clusius knew eight languages and was acquainted with a number of fields of knowledge. He was Director of the Botanical Garden in Vienna, which was part of the Imperial Gardens for 14 years. He finally became Professor of Botany at the University of Leiden.

His great work was Rariorum Plantarum historia (1601). De L'Ecluse introduced the potato into Germany, Austria, France and the Low Countries. Through his connections with the Mediterranean region and the Near East, he brought a number of species into cultivation including various kinds of Ranunculus, Anemone, Iris, and Narcissus, as well as other bulbous and tuberous plants. He was the chief founder of the bulb culture which has become so much a part of the Netherlands.

He was not a practicing physician, although he obtained a degree in medicine in 1553. He was little interested in the medical aspects of botany. He is said to have added over 600 plants to the literature.