The city of Montluçon and its Museum receive by legacy in 1934 the Natural History Collections belonging to Robert Villatte des Prûgnes.

The Robert Villatte des Prûgnes Herbarium is composed by 5 presses keeping in total 642 pieces as botanical sheets in a very good preservation and very representative of the French, Auvergnat and Bourbonnais territory. Just over half of this set, 338 sheets, come from the Augustin Grozieux de Laguérenne Herbarium, maternal great-grandfather of Robert Villatte des Prûgnes, this one collected the 304 supplementary sheets.

Augustin Grozieux de Laguérenne was born in 1781 and dies in Moulins on May 2, 1863. He was owner, Embassy attaché in Russia, Curator of the Municipal Library of Moulins, writer, historian, botanist.

Its botanical collections probably date from the first half of the 19th century. The labels of this set rarely mention localities, only 64 sheets are annotated and come mostly from the departments of Yonne and Puy-de-Dome.

However, we find less common or rare plants and the identifications are correct that show the great botanical level of the author. This way, it has a real scientific interest for the knowledge of the flora of the Bourbonnais and monitoring its evolution.

Robert Villatte des Prûgnes, will never known his great-grandfather who died in 1863 but will inherit his herbarium. His father, Albert Villatte des Prûgne (1845-1920), owner at Vallon-en-Sully in the department of Allier, sensitized or not by Grozieux de Laguerenne, probably initiated his son to the natural sciences because he began in 1880 a collection of mammals and birds. Robert will continue the work of his father and multiply the areas of collections.

The Robert Villatte des Prûgnes Herbarium, 304 sheets, realized by himself is mainly composed by species collected in Auvergne and of which more than half of them in Allier. Other boundary departments or of the Central France are represented, Haute-Loire, Corrèze, Ardèche, Aveyron and other remote areas, Pas-de-Calais, Savoie, Ain, etc. in smaller proportions.

Robert Villatte des Prûgnes was born at Montluçon on April 16, 1869 and dies at the age of 96 years old in Vallon-en-Sully on February 24, 1965. Agronomist, member of the Higher Council of Agriculture, member of the Academy of Agriculture, correspondent of the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle; He was also a hunter master, collaborator of several magazines (La Vie Rustique, Le chasseur Français). Farmer, hunter, fisherman, naturalist, historian and writer between 1897 and 1951, he published some forty books. He devoted his life to the study of natural sciences which earned him the insignia of Commander of the Legion of Honor.

Gilles Thebaud