Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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PISON, Willem (pe'-son), Dutch naturalist, born in Leyden in 1596; died there in 1681. He studied medicine and practised his profession successively in Leyden and Amsterdam. In 1637 he followed Prince Maurice de Nassau-Siegen (q. v.) to Brazil. With the help of two German students, one of whom was George Marggraff (q. v.), he explored that country, and; discovering the ipecacuanha-tree, popularized its use in medicine. Returning to Leyden in 1645 with a fine collection, which he presented to the city, he showed his manuscript to Jean de Laet, who inserted in his " Historia naturalis Brasi-liae" (Leyden, 1648) Pison's treatise " De Medicinae Brasiliensi, Libri IV." After the death of Prince Maurice, Pison entered the service of the Elector of Brandenburg, but, returning later to Holland, he published a revised edition of his former work with many additions, under the title of " De Indiae utriusque re naturali et medicini, Libri XIV" (Amsterdam, 1658). Plumier dedicated to Pison a plant of the Nictaginei family, arbor spinis horrida Pisonia.
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