The generic name montanoa was picked first by a Spaniard in contact with Mexico, where this shrubby plant comes from, a botanist, pharmaceutic and chemist, Vicente Cervantes Mendo (1755-1829).
Born in Spain, Vicente Cervantes participated in the Royal Botanical Expedition to New Spain (1787-1803), the current Mexico. Complex and important Spanish scientific expedition that was partly organized to complete that first expedition to America that the physician and naturalist Francisco Hernández from Toledo had performed in the reign of Philip II. In line with the movement of the Enlightenment promoted by the state for Charles III, the expedition of Vicente Cervantes was featured on the one hand by more scientific criteria than the one of the sixteenth century- Cervantes was one of the promoters of the interweaving of botany and pharmacy in the Hispano scientific field- and on the other hand derived from a mercantilist perspective of self pharmacological interest.
Vicente Cervantes was the founder of the Botanical Garden in the Mexican capital, in 1788, and remained in America after finishing the expedition. With the independence of Mexico in 1821 many Spaniards were expelled by decree, but Vicente Cervantes was exempted from such order thanks to his scientific services, he continued living in Mexico until his death in 1829.