Bougainvillea is a genus of flowering plants native to South America from Brazil west to Peru and south to southern Argentina (Chubut Province). Different authors accept between four and 18 species in the genus. The first European to describe these plants was Philibert Commerçon, a French botanist accompanying French Navyadmiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville during his voyage of circumnavigation, and first published for him by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu in 1789. It is possible that the first European to observe these plants was Jeanne Baré, Commerçon's lover and assistant whom he sneaked on board (despite regulations) disguised as a man (and who thus became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe).
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