Famous Horticulturists and Botanists from A to C
By Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont
The plants in our gardens, the tools in our sheds, our basic knowledge of plants, all came from someone. Knowing who some of the people were can be fascinating. Let me introduce you to the ABCs of famous horticulturists and botanists.
George Arends (1862-1952) of Ronsdorf, Germany was a prolific breeder of perennials. Best known for his cultivars of False Spirea (Astilbe), with perhaps 95% of those sold today belonging to the arendsii species, he also bred Bergenia, Sedum, Phlox and Campanula. Between 1902 and 1952 he introduced over 74 cultivars of Astilbe, with the bronze leaf and red flowered one 'Fanal' in 1933 the first of this type.
Liberty Hyde Bailey, Jr. (1858-1954) is perhaps best known for his encyclopedia of plants--Hortus-- that he edited with his daughter Ethel. He began his horticultural career at Harvard where he was in charge of the greenhouses and collections. He later became a professor of horticulture at Michigan State University and then Cornell University.
He founded The American Society for Horticultural Science and the Botanical Society of America. With all this, and his numerous writings in articles and books, he is often regarded as the father of horticulture in America.
Benjamin Smith Barton (1766-1815) was the first professor of botany at the University of Pennsylvania. In this role he wrote the first textbook of botany in the United States, Elements of Botany.
Henry Bosenberg was the first person in the country to obtain a plant patent. On Aug. 18, 1931 Plant Patent No. 1 was issued to him for the climbing rose New Dawn, which blooms successively throughout the season.
Thomas Bridgeman published the first gardening manual in the United States in 1835. In this book, The Young Gardener's Assistant, he listed a catalog of vegetable and flower seeds, together with notes on their cultivation.
Nathaniel Lord Britton (1859-1934), inspired by the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, England, established the New York Botanical Garden. In addition to setting up their famous library and herbarium, he co-authored the first illustrated book of flora of North America from 1896-1898.
Edwin Budding, in contrast to all those mentioned so far, was an Englishman. He invented the lawn mower in the 1830s. Before then, goats and other livestock or gardeners with scythes trimmed lawns. His invention made expansive lawns possible and popular, much as we see them today.
Rudolph Jacob Camerarius (1665-1721) was a German botanist and university professor. Although he was not the first to observe the male (stamen) and female (pistil) parts of flowers, his experiments were the first to confirm sexuality in flowers. For this, he is given credit.
Augustin Pyramus de Candolle (1778-1841) was a French taxonomist whose principles of plant classification are still in use today. He is the one who coined the word "taxonomy" in 1813 for the study of plant classification. His belief was that plant structure, or morphology, should be the basis of plant classification.
These are just a few of the famous people whose contributions have made the horticultural field what it is today.
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