Lucien Quélet (1832 - 1899) - a brief biography

Lucien Quélet - Public Domain image

The information below is derived from many sources; major reference texts are listed at the foot of the page.

Born on 14th July 1832 in Montécheroux, near the France-Switzerland border, Lucien Quélet spent most of his adult life in Hérimoncourt, near Montbéliard, in the Franche-Comté region of France. In nearby Valdoie the agricultural college Lycee Lucien Quelet is named in honour of one its most famous former residents, Lucien Quélet, who is widely recognised as one of mycology's historical giants.

Born to a farming family, but soon thereafter orphaned, Quelet was raised by his aunts. It is recorded that as a youngster Lucien took a great interest in botany and mycology, although in later life he displayed a much wider interest in the natural world and included birds and molluscs in his range of interests.

After graduating from the college of Montbéliard, Quélet studied medicine in Strassburg, from where he gained an MD. He then set up in medical practice in Hérimoncourt. Despite his busy life as a country doctor, Quélet still found time to pursue his interest in fungi, and in 1855 he co-founded the Sociéte Mycologique de France, and was selected to become its first president.

Quélet's most famous work, written in 1888, is the 492-page treatise Flore mycologique de la France et des pays limitrophes (Mycological flora of France and neighbouring countries) which, to this day, remains a key source of reference for people interested in polypore fungi. Quélet also published many other works and identified and named more than 400 fungi species as well as making a major contribution to the development of fungal taxonomy.

The majority of the fungi names given by Quélet are still valid today, and the species Suillellus queletii and Russula queletii are named in his honour.

Lucien Quélet died on 25th August 1899.

The author abbreviation Quel. is used to indicate Lucien Quélet as the author when citing a botanical or mycological name. (In Internet searches people often enter Quelet rather than the accented form Quélet; however, by tradition in author citations accented character forms are not used and so you will see either Quelet or more commonly the abbreviated form Quel.)

Positions and Awards

Founding member and first President of the Société Mycologique de France.

Major Mycological Works

Les champignons du Jura et des Vosges. In Mémoires de la Société d’Émulation de Montbéliard Série 2 5; 1872.

Les champignons du Jura et des Vosges. In Mémoires de la Société d’Émulation de Montbéliard. III Série 2 5; 1875.

Quelques espèces nouvelles e champignons. Bulletin. Société Botanique de France 25 (4); 1878

New fungi of the Jura. Grevillea 8; 1879.

Quelques espèces critiques ou nouvelles de la flore mycologique de France. C.R. Ass. Franç. Av. Sci. 13; 1885.

Enchiridion Fungorum in Europa Media et Praesertim in Gallia Vigentium. Paris; Octavii Doin; 1886.

Flore Mycologique de la France et des Pays Limitrophes 1, France, Paris; Doin; 1888.

Quelques espèces critiques ou nouvelles de la flore mycologique de France. Compte Rendu de l’Association Française pour l’Avancement des Sciences 24 (2); 1895 (published 1886).

(With Frédéric Bataille) Flore monographique des Amanites et des Lépiotes; published in 1902.

Selected Sources:

Heinrich Dörfelt & Heike Heklau Die Geschichte der Mykologie, 1998.

Ainsworth and Bisby's Dictionary of Fungi, 9th edition, updated by P. M. Kirk (Editor), P. F. Cannon (Editor), J. C. David (Editor), J. A. Stalpers (Editor), Oxford University Press, USA, 2001

Boudier, J.L.É; Bulletin de la Société Mycologique de France 15 (4): 321-325, 1899.

Gilbert; Bulletin de la Société Mycologique de France 65: 5-33, 1949.

Fascinated by Fungi, Pat O'Reilly 2011

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