Jean Louis Berlandier was born near Fort de l'Écluse, France, before 1805. While young, he moved to Geneva, Switzerland, and began to study botany under the tutelage of Augustin Pyrame de Candolle. In 1824, Berlandier left to collect specimens in Mexico, and in 1827 became a member of an officially sanctioned Boundary Commission charged with surveying flora and fauna along the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border. Berlandier remained in America after the commission's dissolution, and settled in Matamoros, Mexico. Though he married and worked primarily as a physician, Berlandier made several additional botanical journeys throughout the region, including an expedition to Goliad, Texas, with Rafael Chovell in 1834. During the Mexican-American War, Berlandier was placed in charge of hospitals at Matamoros. Berlandier died in 1851.
Rafael Chovell, a mineralogist, also participated in the Boundary Commission sent to survey the flora and fauna of the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border in 1827. In 1829, Chovell took charge of a garrison at Port Lavaca, as Mexico braced for conflict with Spain, but by the mid-1830s, he had moved to Goliad, Texas. In 1834, Chovell accompanied Jean Luis Berlandier on a several botanical expeditions throughout the region.