José Mariano Mociño Suárez Lozano (1757 – 12 June 1820), or
simply José Mariano Mociño, was a naturalist from New Spain.
After having studied philosophy and medicine, he conducted early
research on the ecology (especially botany), geology, and anthropology
of his country and other parts of North America.
He was born in
Temascaltepec (modern-day Mexico State) in 1757. Being
poor, he worked in many different jobs to study in the Seminario
Tridentino de México, where he devoted himself especially to physics,
mathematics, botany, and chemistry. In 1778 he graduated in
philosophy. In 1791 he was called to join the scientific expedition of
Martín de Sessé, the Royal Botanical Expedition, which had started
in 1787. They traveled across New Spain, reaching the most
inhospitable places of the Empire, being especially notable his trips
Pacific Northwest (modern-day
U.S. states of California,
Oregon, Washington and Alaska, and the Canadian province of British
Columbia), among others. Although the pay for his job was minimal, he
created one of the most important natural history collections of his
Beginning in 1795, by order of Charles IV, they made several journeys
to examine the natural products of Mexico. They traveled more than
3,000 leagues and formed a valuable collection, including a
considerable herbarium and a great number of sketches, which they took
Spain in 1803. There Mociño was two times secretary and four times
president of the Royal Medicine Academy of Madrid.
Mociño sympathised with Joseph Bonaparte, and when the French
withdrew after the Peninsular War, he was taken prisoner, accused of
afrancesado. Finally, he managed to flee to France. In 1816 in
Montpellier he met the naturalist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle, to
whom he showed the collections he could save, and entrusted to him the
manuscripts for a Flora Mexicana.
Candolle brought him to Geneva, where he became professor in the
University of Geneva. In 1818 he returned to Spain. He asked Candolle
to return his manuscripts, which Candolle did after having the
talented botanical illustrator, Jean-Christophe Heyland, make copies
of the plates. The originals are deposited at the botanical garden of
Madrid along with the manuscripts for a Flora de Guatemala. He died in
Barcelona, poor and blind, in 1820.
He was the most famous American naturalist of the colonial period.
Among his publications were Descripción del Volcan
Jorullo en versos
latinos (Mexico, 1801), and “Observaciones sobre la resina del
hule,” published in the Anales de Ciencias Naturales (Madrid, 1804).
Pablo de la Llave named the resplendent quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno
to honour his mentor Mociño, who was the first to classify the bird.
The standard author abbreviation Moc. is used to indicate this person
as the author when citing a botanical name.
^ IPNI. Moc.
Biography from the Government of the State of Mexico's website
Sessé y Lacasta, Martín de & Mociño y Losada, José Mariano.
Flora Mexicana, 1894 at the Biblioteca Digital del Real Jardín
Plantæ Novæ Hispaniæ, 1893 at the Biblioteca Digital del Real
Jardín Botanico CSIC
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the
public domain: Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900).
"Mociño, José". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New
York: D. Appleton.
ISNI: 0000 0000 8084 6196
BNF: cb135565756 (data)