Famous 18th Century Botanists

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Find out more about the greatest 18th Century Botanists, including Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, Carl Linnaeus, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, Joseph Banks and David Brewster.
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 1 
Carl Linnaeus
(Botanist)
Carl Linnaeus
14
Birthdate: May 23, 1707
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Linnés Råshults Stiftelse, Älmhult Municipality, Sweden
Died: January 10, 1778

Swedish botanist and lecturer Carl Linnaeus, who established the concept of binomial nomenclature, or the system of naming organisms, is also known as the father of modern taxonomy. His system of classification is known as Linnaean taxonomy. He was the first to include humans and apes under the header Anthropomorpha.

 2 
Eva Ekeblad
(Swedish Agronomist Known for Discovering a Method in 1746 to Make Alcohol and Flour From Potatoes)
Eva Ekeblad
6
Birthdate: July 10, 1724
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden
Died: May 15, 1786

Eva Ekeblad was a Swedish countess, agronomist, salon hostess, and scientist. In 1746, she discovered a method to make flour and alcohol from potatoes which earned her popularity. Her discovery made her the first female inductee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1748.

 3 
Joseph Banks
(British Explorer, Naturalist and Botanist)
Joseph Banks
6
Birthdate: February 24, 1743
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, England
Died: June 19, 1820

British naturalist Joseph Banks is remembered for accompanying Captain James Cook on his voyage across places such as Brazil and Tahiti. He had also been the president of the Royal Society for over 40 years. Both his herbarium and library now find a place at the British Museum.

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 4 
Antoine-Augustin Parmentier
(Botanist, Pharmacist, Physician, Agronomist, Nutritionist)
Antoine-Augustin Parmentier
10
Birthdate: August 12, 1737
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Montdidier
Died: December 17, 1813

While in prison, in the aftermath of the Seven Years’ War, army pharmacist Antoine-Augustin Parmentier was forced to eat potatoes, which were considered fit only for prison ration and animal feed back then. Parmentier later persuaded the Paris Faculty of Medicine to declare potatoes edible and popularized them in France.

 5 
Robert Brown
(Botanist)
Robert Brown
8
Birthdate: December 21, 1773
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Montrose, Scotland
Died: June 10, 1858

Copley Medal-winning Scottish botanist Robert Brown is remembered for his detailed descriptions on topics such as the cell nuclei and what later came to be known as the Brownian motion. After studying medicine, he had also served the British Army as a surgeon and also toured the Australian shores aboard The Investigator.

 6 
Jan Ingenhousz
(Botanist, Physician, Physicist)
Jan Ingenhousz
6
Birthdate: December 8, 1730
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Breda
Died: September 7, 1799

The man who discovered photosynthesis, Jan Ingenhousz was born in the Netherlands but later settled in England. He is also remembered for his pioneering research on thermal conduction and the prevention of smallpox and even successfully inoculated the Habsburg family against smallpox. He was also Maria Theresa’s personal doctor.

 7 
Daniel Rutherford
(Former physician, chemist and botanist who is known for the isolation of nitrogen in 1772)
Daniel Rutherford
3
Birthdate: November 3, 1749
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: November 15, 1819

Best known for discovering nitrogen gas, Scottish chemist Daniel Rutherford was also initially a practicing physician. A skilled botanist, he also taught botany at the University of Edinburgh. His other inventions include the maximum and minimum thermometers. He also co-founded the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

 8 
James Bruce
(Explorer, Archaeologist, Film editor, Botanist)
James Bruce
5
Birthdate: December 14, 1730
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Stirling
Died: April 27, 1794

Scottish explorer James Bruce is best known for his treatises of travel and his discovery of the source of the Blue Nile. Initially a wine merchant, he later became a British consul in Algiers and decided to explore North Africa. He traveled to places such as Syria, Ethiopia, and Egypt.

 9 
Peter Simon Pallas
(German Naturalist Who Explored the Geology of Russia)
Peter Simon Pallas
5
Birthdate: September 22, 1741
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: September 8, 1811

German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas was born to a professor of surgery and had, by age 15, formulated classifications of several animal groups. He chiefly worked in and around Russia, and is remembered for his 3-volume geological study, Journey Through Various Provinces of the Russian Empire.

 10 
Herman Boerhaave
(Botanist, Physician)
Herman Boerhaave
5
Birthdate: December 31, 1668
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Voorhout, Netherlands
Died: September 23, 1738
 11 
William Bartram
(The First Naturalist Who Penetrated the Dense Tropical Forests of Florida)
William Bartram
3
Birthdate: April 20, 1739
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: July 22, 1823

William Bartram was an American ornithologist, botanist, explorer, and natural historian. He is best remembered for authoring an acclaimed book, which is now known as Bartram's Travels. The book chronicles Bartram's explorations of the British colonies in North America. William Bartram was also one of America's first ornithologists.

 12 
John Bartram
(One of the World's Greatest Natural Botanists)
John Bartram
3
Birthdate: March 23, 1699
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Darby, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: September 22, 1777

John Bartram was an Anglo-American colonial botanist, explorer, and horticulturist. Regarded by some as one of the world's greatest natural botanists, Bartram is credited with starting one of America's first botanic gardens in 1728. The botanic garden, which is now referred to as Bartram's Garden, is a National Historic Landmark. 

 13 
Georg Wilhelm Steller
5
Birthdate: March 10, 1709
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bad Windsheim, Germany
Died: November 14, 1746

German-born zoologist and botanist Georg Wilhelm Steller traveled to Russia on a troop ship. He was later part of the Great Northern Expedition, aboard the St. Peter, aimed at locating a sea route from Russia to North America. The Steller’s sea cow, discovered by him, went extinct later.

 14 
Augustin Pyramus de Candolle
(Swiss Botanist Who Established Scientific Structural Criteria for Determining Natural Relations Among Plant Genera)
Augustin Pyramus de Candolle
5
Birthdate: February 4, 1778
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: September 9, 1841

Swiss botanist Augustin Pyrame de Candolle excelled in literature and poetry in school but later focused on botany. He is remembered for establishing scientific standards and classification for plant genera. Known for his Théorie élémentaire de la botanique, he later lent his name to several plant species and genera.

 15 
Pierre-Joseph Redouté
(Belgian Painter Known for His Watercolours of Roses, Lilies and Other Flowers at the 'Château de Malmaison')
Pierre-Joseph Redouté
5
Birthdate: July 10, 1759
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint-Hubert, Belgium
Died: June 19, 1840

Belgian-born French painter and botanist Pierre-Joseph Redouté, also known as the Raphael of flowers, was a famous court painter and one of the greatest botanical illustrators of his time. Known for his iconic pieces such as Les Liliacées, he was a specialist of painting roses, too.

 16 
Carl Peter Thunberg
3
Birthdate: November 11, 1743
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Jönköping, Sweden
Died: August 8, 1828

Carl Peter Thunberg was a Swedish naturalist best remembered as one of the apostles of Carl Linnaeus. Along with other students of Linnaeus, Thunberg spent seven years in Asia and southern Africa, gathering and describing animals and plants new to European science. Thanks to his extensive research on plants, Thunberg is referred to as the father of South African botany.      

Antoine Laurent de Jussieu
5
Birthdate: April 12, 1748
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: September 17, 1836
 18 
Nehemiah Grew
(British Botanist and Physiologist Known for His Careful and Novel Observations on Plant Anatomy)
Nehemiah Grew
3
Birthdate: September 26, 1641
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mancetter Parish, Warwickshire, England
Died: March 25, 1712

English botanist Nehemiah Grew is considered a pioneer of plant anatomy, along with Italian biologist and physician Marcello Malpighi. Initially a physician, he later penned iconic books on botany, such as The Anatomy of Plants. He also made pioneering studies in finger-print patterns. A genus of trees has been named after him.

 19 
Adelbert von Chamisso
(German Poet Who Was Also a Noted Botanist and Philologist)
Adelbert von Chamisso
3
Birthdate: January 30, 1781
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sivry-Ante, France
Died: August 21, 1838

German poet and lyricist Adelbert von Chamisso, who lived in the 19th century, is chiefly remembered for his legendary fairy tale, Peter Schlemihl’s Remarkable Story. He also established the Berlin romanticist society Nordsternbund and was a noted botanist, too. He was also interested in philology and Australasian languages.

 20 
William Withering
(British Botanist, Geologist, Chemist and Physician Best Known for His Use of Extracts of Foxglove to Treat Dropsy)
William Withering
5
Birthdate: March 17, 1741
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Wellington, Shropshire, England
Died: October 6, 1799

Born to a surgeon, William Withering followed in his father’s footsteps to become a physician, though he also had immense knowledge of botany, geology, and chemistry. He not only treated edema, or dropsy, with the help of the foxglove plant but also studied scarlet fever and suggested rum as a medical substitute.

 21 
Albrecht von Haller
2
Birthdate: October 16, 1708
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bern
Died: December 12, 1777

Swiss biologist Albrecht von Haller, who is hailed as the father of experimental physiology, grew up as a sickly child and thus often avoided sports and mastered Greek, Hebrew, and the Bible instead. Associated with the University of Göttingen, he later penned Physiological Elements of the Human Body, which revolutionized medical science.

 22 
Lorenz Oken
(One of the Most Prominent German Natural Philosophers of the 19th Century)
Lorenz Oken
4
Birthdate: August 1, 1779
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bohlsbach, Germany
Died: August 11, 1851

German naturalist and botanist Lorenz Oken is remembered as one of the most significant German natural philosophers of the 19th century and a leader of the Naturphilosophie movement. His studies on Wolfgang von Goethe’s theory on the vertebrate skull helped prepare ground for Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

 23 
Manuel de Mier y Terán
(Mexican Military and Political Figure Who Played an Important Role in the 'Mexican War of Independence')
Manuel de Mier y Terán
2
Birthdate: February 18, 1789
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mexico City
Died: July 3, 1832

Manuel de Mier y Terán was a Mexican military and political figure who played an important role during the famous Mexican War of Independence. He is also remembered for his service as the sixth Minister of War and Marine in 1824. He committed suicide at the age of 43 due to despair over the country's political situation and health problems.

Joseph Pitton de Tournefort
2
Birthdate: June 5, 1656
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Aix-en-Provence, France
Died: December 28, 1708
 25 
Michel Adanson
(Botanist)
Michel Adanson
2
Birthdate: April 7, 1727
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Aix-en-Provence, France
Died: August 3, 1806
 26 
Giovanni Antonio Scopoli
(Italian Naturalist and Physician)
Giovanni Antonio Scopoli
2
Birthdate: June 3, 1723
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cavalese, Italy
Died: May 8, 1788

Giovanni Antonio Scopoli was an Italian naturalist and physician. He published a number of taxonomic works, such as Entomologia Carniolica, which described hundreds of new species. Giovanni Antonio Scopoli also served as a professor at the University of Pavia and the Mining Academy in Schemnitz.

 27 
André Michaux
(Botanist)
André Michaux
2
Birthdate: March 8, 1746
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Satory, Versailles, France
Died: November 13, 1802
 28 
Henri Dutrochet
(French Physician, Physiologist, and Botanist Who is Best Known for His Investigation into Osmosis)
Henri Dutrochet
2
Birthdate: November 14, 1776
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Néon, France
Died: February 4, 1847

Henri Dutrochet was a French physician, physiologist, and botanist. Dutrochet is best remembered for his investigation into osmosis. He is also credited with discovering cells in plants and cell biology. Henri Dutrochet’s works earned him several awards including the Académie Française's prize for experimental physiology.

 29 
Elias Magnus Fries
(Mycologist)
Elias Magnus Fries
2
Birthdate: August 15, 1794
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sweden
Died: February 8, 1878

Elias Magnus Fries was a Swedish botanist and mycologist. He served as a professor at prestigious institutions like the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and Uppsala University. He also served as the director of the University of Uppsala Botanical Garden. Among his most prominent works were Systema mycologicum, Elenchus fungorum, Monographia hymenomycetum Sueciae, and Hymenomycetes Europaei.

 30 
Pierre Poivre
(Horticulturist)
Pierre Poivre
2
Birthdate: August 23, 1719
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: January 6, 1786
Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre
2
Birthdate: January 19, 1737
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Le Havre, France
Died: January 21, 1814
 32 
John Fothergill
(Physician)
John Fothergill
2
Birthdate: March 8, 1712
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Yorkshire, England
Died: December 26, 1780

English physician John Fothergill revolutionized medical science by identifying the hardening of the arteries attached to the heart muscle in a case of angina pectoris. He is also said to have made coffee a popular beverage in England and supported coffee cultivation in the West Indies.

 33 
José Celestino Mutis
(Spanish botanist)
José Celestino Mutis
2
Birthdate: April 6, 1732
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cádiz, Spain
Died: September 11, 1808

Spanish botanist José Celestino Mutis had initially studied medicine and served as the royal physician of Ferdinand VI. While working in South America later, he studied the medicinal properties of plants. He also built a massive botanical garden and penned a treatise that contained over 6,000 illustrations of plants.

 34 
Kaibara Ekken
(Japanese Philosopher and Botanist Who Translated the Intricate Writings of Neo-Confucianism into Colloquial Japanese)
Kaibara Ekken
2
Birthdate: December 17, 1630
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Fukuoka, Fukuoka, Japan
Died: October 5, 1714

Kaibara Ekken was a Japanese philosopher and botanist. He is best remembered for translating the intricate writings of Neo-Confucianism into colloquial Japanese. A popular botanist, Kaibara Ekken is also credited with advancing the study of botany in Japan. One of his most influential works is Yamato honzō, a pioneering study of Japanese plants.

 35 
John Torrey
(American Botanist, Chemist and Physician Noted for His Studies of the Flora of North America)
John Torrey
1
Birthdate: August 15, 1796
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: March 10, 1873
 36 
Thomas Andrew Knight
1
Birthdate: August 12, 1759
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Herefordshire, England
Died: May 11, 1838

Copley Medal-winning British horticulturalist Thomas Andrew Knight is best remembered for his study of the movement of sap in plants and the impact of gravity on the growth of plants. He was also the Royal Horticultural Society’s second president. His initial works found a place in the Royal Society’s Philosophical Transactions.

Joseph Gottlieb Kölreuter
1
Birthdate: April 27, 1733
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sulz, Germany
Died: November 11, 1806
 38 
John Hill
(Author and botanist)
John Hill
1
Birthdate: November 17, 1714
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Peterborough, England
Died: November 21, 1775

British writer and botanist John Hill was the first to use the Linnaean nomenclature to pen a book on British plants. Initially an apothecary, he studied botany in his leisure time. He had also written several satirical articles for publications such as The London Advertiser, but his best-known work remains The Vegetable System.

 39 
Rudolph Jacob Camerarius
1
Birthdate: February 12, 1665
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tübingen, Germany
Died: September 11, 1721
 40 
Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps
(American Educator, Scientist, Author, and Editor)
Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps
1
Birthdate: July 15, 1793
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Berlin, Connecticut, United States
Died: July 15, 1884

Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps was an American educator, scientist, author, and editor. She is best remembered for her botany writings, which influenced several other American women to be botanists like her daughter Augusta Newton Foote Arnold and contemporary Eunice Newton Foote. Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps' long life was dedicated to the education of women, especially young women.

 41 
Olof Celsius
(Botanist)
Olof Celsius
0
Birthdate: July 19, 1670
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Uppsala, Sweden
Died: June 24, 1756

Olof Celsius was a Swedish philologist, botanist, runologist, and clergyman. He also served as a professor at the famous Uppsala University. Olof Celsius is credited with mentoring future scientist and botanist, Carl Linnaeus. In 1739, Celsius was inducted into the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.   

Francisco de Paula Marín
1
Birthdate: November 25, 1774
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Jerez de la Frontera, Spain
Died: October 30, 1837
 43 
Antoine de Jussieu
(French Botanist Who Founded a Natural System of Plant Classification)
Antoine de Jussieu
1
Birthdate: July 6, 1686
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: April 22, 1758

Starting his career as a botany demonstrator at the Jardin du Roi, French botanist Antoine de Jussieu later went on to establish his own principles of plant classification. He also taught at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle and practiced medicine, mostly treating the poor and the needy.

 44 
Johann Jacob Dillenius
1
Birthdate: 1684 AD
Birthplace: Darmstadt, Germany
Died: April 2, 1747
 45 
Johann Hedwig
(German Botanist Who is Known as the Father of Bryology)
Johann Hedwig
1
Birthdate: December 8, 1730
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brașov, Romania
Died: February 18, 1799

Johann Hedwig was a German botanist best remembered for his studies of mosses. Referred to as the father of bryology, Hedwig is known in particular for his study of sexual reproduction in the cryptogams. Johann Hedwig is also known as the father of another famous botanist Romanus Adolf Hedwig.

 46 
Sir George Staunton, 1st Baronet
1
Birthdate: April 10, 1737
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Galway, Ireland
Died: January 14, 1801

Initially a doctor in the West Indies, Sir George Staunton, 1st Baronet later turned to law. He then also worked as an English diplomat in places such as India and China assisting his friend, George, Lord Macartney. He is also said to have released the official account of the Macartney Embassy.

Charles-François Brisseau de Mirbel
1
Birthdate: March 27, 1776
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 12, 1854
 48 
Christian Konrad Sprengel
(German Botanist and Philologist Known for His Research on Plant Sexuality)
Christian Konrad Sprengel
1
Birthdate: September 22, 1750
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brandenburg, Germany
Died: April 7, 1816

Initially a schoolmaster, Christian Konrad Sprengel rose to be a prominent botanist in Germany and is now remembered for his contribution to the study of plant fertilization. However, the initial failure of his published work made him decide not to publish any further work. In his later years, he turned to philology.

 49 
Joseph de Jussieu
0
Birthdate: September 3, 1704
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lyon, France
Died: April 11, 1779
 50 
Joseph Dieffenbach
(Head Gardener During the 1830s at the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna)
Joseph Dieffenbach
0
Birthdate: 1796 AD
Birthplace: Austria
Died: 1863 AD

Joseph Dieffenbach was an Austrian gardener best remembered for his work on the imperial gardens of Vienna's Schönbrunn Palace, where he was the head gardener for many years. The Dieffenbachia, a genus of plants, is named after Joseph Dieffenbach.