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Havard, Valery (1846–1927)

Clinton P. Hartmann Biography Entry

Valery Havard, botanist, was born on February 18, 1846, near Compiègne, France. He immigrated to the United States and in 1869 graduated from Manhattan College and later from New York University Medical College. He entered the medical corps of the United States Army in 1874 and was stationed at various frontier posts. His article "The French Half-breeds of the Northwest" was published in the Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution (1879). While on frontier duty he became interested in economic botany and studied the food and drink plants of the Indians, Mexicans, and early settlers. He published a number of articles on the flora of Montana, North Dakota, Texas, and Colorado, including "Botanical Outlines" in Report of the Chief of Engineers, Part III (1878), and "Report on the Flora of Western and Southern Texas" in Proceedings of the United States National Museum (1885). Many Texas plants are named for Havard, including the Chisos bluebonnet (Lupinus havardi), an oak (Quercus havardii), and an evening primrose (Oenothera havardi). During the Spanish-American War he was United States chief surgeon in Cuba, and his "Notes on Trees of Cuba" was published in The Plant World, IV (1901). He became assistant surgeon-general and was the author of three editions of the Manual of Military Hygiene (1900–17). He retired from active service on February 18, 1910, but served from 1917 to 1923 to reorganize the medical departments of the army and navy in Cuba, for which he received the Cuban Order of Military Merit. He died aboard the steamship Colombo on November 6, 1927.

V. L. Cory and H. B. Parks, Catalogue of the Flora of the State of Texas (Texas Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin No. 550, College Station, 1937). New York Times, November 8, 1927. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


  • Peoples
  • French
  • Science
  • Scientists and Researchers

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Clinton P. Hartmann, “Havard, Valery,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 25, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.