Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Born at Chamelet en Beaujolais, 20th August, 1762, educated at Lyons and Montpellier but did not finish his studies through ill-health. He died 5th September 1797 at Mont d'or, where he had gone to take the waters.
He had not put his papers in order, and left an unpublished work Chimie des vegetaux. He was a botanical collector, but did not write on botany. He was more interested in entomology, and was a correspondent of Fabricius Tome 39 (1824). He was 'Naturaliste' on the Esperance, and helped with the botanical collections.
Allan Cunningham gives an excellent account of Riche under t. 3251, Bot. Mag., from which the following particulars are abstracted:
He begins with an extract from Robert Brown's MSS. in regard to the variability of Leucopogon richei, R. Br. He then points out that the name has reference to a tale of distress and privation to which M. Riche was subjected in December, 1792. D'Entrecasteaux' ships anchored amongst the islands named after one of them Recherche Archipelago. The discoveries made by Nuyts in 1627 on the South Coast had terminated at that Archipelago, and it does not appear that either the Dutch, or Vancouver a century and a half later, effected a landing, so that our earliest knowledge of the vegetation of this portion of 'Nuyts' Land', slight as it was, was due to M. Riche and his misfortune. We learn from Labillardiere that a boat had been sent from L’Esperance (the modern Esperance) to the 'main shore', and M. Riche accompanied the party. Quitting the beach on which he had landed, (some miles to.the, westward of Cape le Grand, in long. 121 ¼ degrees E.), he lost his way while botanising.
M. Labillardiere formed one of a search party and tHey traced M. Riche to the shores of a salt lake (Lake Warden presumably - J.H.M.) near Esperance. They finally found him after an absence of 54 hours, and he had been almost without food, his slender supply being eked out with fruits of the shrub now known as Leucopogon richei.
Riche had lost all his specimens, but Labillardiere made a collection in the search after him, his specimens including Leucopogon richei, Banksia repens and nivea, Chorizema ilicifolia, Eucalyptus cornuta and Anigozanthus rufa.
Labillardiere wrote later that Riche died from consumption on his return to France, having, while ill, undertaken a long and fatiguing journey in the cause of science.
Besides the plant referred to, he is commemorated by the genus Richea. R.Br., and Craspedia richea, Cass.
Source: Maiden, J.H. (1910) Records of the earlier French botanists as regards Australian plants. Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales for 1910. 44:123-155.