Jeanne Baret (sometimes spelled Baré or Barret) (July 27, 1740 – August 5, 1807) was a member of Louis Antoine de Bougainville’s expedition on the ships La Boudeuse and Étoile in 1766–1769. Baret is recognized as the first woman to have completed a voyage of circumnavigation.
Jeanne Baret joined the expedition disguised as a man, calling herself Jean Baret. She enlisted as valet and assistant to the expedition’s naturalist, Philibert Commerçon (anglicized as Commerson), shortly before Bougainville’s ships sailed from France. According to Bougainville’s account, Baret was herself an expert botanist.
Excellent! And it sounds like she was involved in collecting the first samples of the genus of popular, colorful plants, Bougainvillea. We have many specimens of this which are currently in full “bloom” in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Why bloom in quotes? Because the colorful “petals” of the plant are actually bracts, specialized, colored leaves that look like flowers, but are not. The poinsettia is another popular plant with colored bracts. ~AR