botany

Conrad Gessner’s Truly Renaissance Knowledge

Conrad Gessner’s Truly Renaissance Knowledge

On March 26, 1516, Swiss naturalist and bibliographer Conrad Gessner was born. His five-volume Historiae animalium (1551–1558) is considered the beginning of modern zoology, and the flowering plant genus Gesneria is named after him. He is considered as one of the most important natural scientists of Switzerland and was sometimes referred to as the ‘German Pliny‘. Conrad Gessner was born and educated in Zürich, Switzerland as the son of Ursus Gessner, a…
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Johann Hedwig – the Father of Bryology

Johann Hedwig – the Father of Bryology

On December 8, 1730, German botanist Johann Hedwig was born. Hedwig is notable for his studies of mosses for which he is sometimes called the father of bryology, in particular the observation of sexual reproduction in the cryptogams. He dealt with the anatomy, fertilization, and reproduction of mosses and introduced a new method of classification based on the distribution of spores (reproductive bodies). Hedwig was the first to recognize the true organs…
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Nikolai Vavilov and the Centres of Origin of Cultivated Plants

Nikolai Vavilov and the Centres of Origin of Cultivated Plants

On November 25, 1887, Russian and Soviet botanist and geneticist Nikolai Vavilov was born. Vavilov is best known for having identified the centres of origin of cultivated plants. He devoted his life to the study and improvement of wheat, corn, and other cereal crops that sustain the global population. He established 400 research institutes and made expeditions throughout the world (1916-33), leading Russian plant hunters on the first attempt to “cover the…
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Eugen Warming and Ecology

Eugen Warming and Ecology

On November 3, 1841, Danish botanist Eugen Warming was born. Warming ia considered a main founding figure of the scientific discipline of ecology. He wrote the first textbook on plant ecology in 1895, taught the first university course in ecology and gave the concept its meaning and content. Eugen Warming attended the University of Copenhagen. However, he left the university in order to work with the Danish palaeontologist Peter Wilhelm Lund, who worked…
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Carl Correns and the Principles of Heredity

Carl Correns and the Principles of Heredity

On September 19, 1864, German botanist and geneticist Carl Erich Correns was born. Correns is notable primarily for his independent discovery of the principles of heredity, and for his rediscovery of Gregor Mendel‘s earlier paper on that subject, which he achieved simultaneously but independently of the botanists Erich Tschermak and Hugo de Vries, and the agronomist William Jasper Spillman.[5] Family and Academic Carreer Carl Correns came from a family of lawyers in the…
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Augustine Pyramus de Candolle and the Biological Clock

Augustine Pyramus de Candolle and the Biological Clock

On September 9, 1841, Swiss botanist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle passed away. Candolle originated the idea of “Nature’s war”, which influenced Charles Darwin and the principle of natural selection.[3,4] Furthermore, he recognized that multiple species may develop similar characteristics that did not appear in a common evolutionary ancestor; this was later termed analogy. During his work with plants, de Candolle noticed that plant leaf movements follow a near-24-hour cycle in constant light, suggesting that…
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Joseph Dalton Hooker and Taxonomy

Joseph Dalton Hooker and Taxonomy

On June 30, 1817, Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker was born, one of the greatest British botanists and explorers of the 19th century. Hooker was a founder of geographical botany and Charles Darwin‘s [4] closest friend. Furthermore, he was assistant on Sir James Ross‘s [3] Antarctic expedition and whose botanical travels to foreign lands included India, Palestine and the U.S., from which he became a leading taxonomists in his time. Joseph Dalton Hooker…
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Leonhart Fuchs’ Famous Herbal Book

Leonhart Fuchs’ Famous Herbal Book

On May 10, 1566, German Botanist Leonhart Fuchs passed away. Fuchs is best known for authoring a large book about plants and their uses as medicines, i.e. a Herbal Book, published in 1542 in Latin, with about 500 accurate and detailed drawings of plants printed from woodcuts. Leonhart Fuchs became Magister Artium in 1524 and earned his doctor of medicine degree. During the next years, Fuchs practiced as a doctor in Munich and…
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Jean Senebier and the Photosynthesis

Jean Senebier and the Photosynthesis

On May 6, 1742, Swiss pastor and naturalist Jean Senebier was born. Senebier wrote extensively on plant physiology and was one of the major early pioneers of photosynthesis research. He was the first who demonstrated that green plants consume carbon dioxide and release oxygen under the influence of light. Before Jean Senebier researched in the field of photosynthesis, other scientists had engaged in the field including Jan van Helmont, who measured the mass…
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Johann Gottlieb Kölreuter and the Study of Plant Fertilization

Johann Gottlieb Kölreuter and the Study of Plant Fertilization

On April 27, 1733, German botanist Joseph Gottlieb Kölreuter was born. Kölreuter was a German botanist who pioneered the study of plant fertilization, hybridization and was the first to detect self-incompatibility. He was an observer as well as a rigorous experimenter who used careful crossing experiments although he did not inquire into the nature of heritability. Joseph Gottlieb Kölreuter was the son of an apothecary in Karlsruhe, Germany. From early age, Kölreuter…
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