Mutis, José Celestino (hōsāˈ thālĕstēˈnō mōˈtēs) [key], 1732–1808, Spanish naturalist and plant explorer. One of Linnaeus' first disciples in Spain, he went to South America and settled c.1760 in Bogotá. He collected numerous plants, especially in the Andes, and introduced several into general use. His study of quinine, on which he wrote El arcano de la quina (1793), facilitated the colonization of malaria-ridden regions. Most of his monumentally planned work, Flora de la Real Expedición Botánica del Nuevo Reino de Granada, was left in manuscript and has been in the process of publication since 1954. Some of his voluminous correspondence with Linnaeus has been published in A Selection of the Correspondence of Linnaeus, comp. by Sir James Edward Smith (2 vol., 1821). Mutis was chiefly responsible for the creation of the Bogotá Observatory and gathered about him a group of scholars who made the university a renowned center of research.
See his Archivo Epistolar, comp. by G. Hernández de Alba (2 vol., 1968).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.