Famous American Botanists

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 1 
John Muir
(Naturalist)
John Muir
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Birthdate: April 21, 1838
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dunbar
Died: December 24, 1914

John Muir was a Scottish-American naturalist, environmental philosopher, glaciologist, botanist, zoologist, and author. Nicknamed Father of the National Parks and John of the Mountains, Muir was an influential proponent of the preservation of wilderness in the US. He is credited with co-founding the American conservation organization, The Sierra Club. Muir is considered a hero by many environmentalists around the world.

 2 
Lynn Margulis
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Birthdate: March 5, 1938
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: November 22, 2011

Lynn Margulis was an evolutionary theorist, biologist, educator, and science author. She was a modern proponent of the significance of symbiosis in evolution. Along with British chemist James Lovelock, Margulis was the co-developer of the Gaia hypothesis. She was a strong critic of neo-Darwinism. In 2001, she was honored with the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement. 

 3 
Gifford Pinchot
(First Chief of the US Forest Service & Former Governor of Pennsylvania)
Gifford Pinchot
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Birthdate: August 11, 1865
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Simsbury, Connecticut, United States
Died: October 4, 1946

Gifford Pinchot was an American politician and forester. He is best remembered for his service as the first chief of the US Forest Service from February 1905 to January 1910. Gifford Pinchot also served as the Governor of Pennsylvania on two occasions; from 16 January 1923 to 18 January 1927 and again from 20 January 1931 to 15 January 1935.

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 4 
Luther Burbank
(Horticulturist, Geneticist, Botanist, Gardener, Academic, Non-fiction writer)
Luther Burbank
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Birthdate: March 7, 1849
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Santa Rosa
Died: April 11, 1926

Luther Burbank was an American horticulturist and botanist. A pioneer in agricultural science, Luther Burbank developed over 800 varieties of plants and strains in an illustrious career that spanned 55 years. He is also credited with developing a spineless cactus that served as cattle feed. In 1986, Luther Burbank was made an inductee of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

 5 
Terence McKenna
(American Ethnobotanist, Mystic and One of the Leading Authorities on the Ontological Foundations of Shamanism)
Terence McKenna
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Birthdate: November 16, 1946
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paonia, Colorado, United States
Died: April 3, 2000
Philosopher, ethnobotanist, and public speaker Terence McKenna was the proponent of concepts such as the Novelty Theory and Machine Elf. His work revolved around subjects such as psychedelic drugs, shamanism, alchemy, and metaphysics. He wrote several books and supported the usage of psychedelic mushrooms to experience different states of mind.
 6 
David Starr Jordan
(Botanist, Peace activist, Zoologist, Autobiographer, Ichthyologist)
David Starr Jordan
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Birthdate: January 19, 1851
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gainesville (village), New York
Died: September 19, 1931

Remembered as the first president of the Leland Stanford Junior University, now known as Stanford University, David Starr Jordan was a reputed ichthyologist. An anti-war activist, too, who opposed America’s participation in World War I, he spent his later years as the chief director of the World Peace Foundation.

 7 
Ynes Mexia
(Mexican-American Botanist Best Known For Her Large Collection of Plants)
Ynes Mexia
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Birthdate: May 24, 1870
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: July 12, 1938

Ynes Mexia was a Mexican-American botanist best remembered for her large collection of specimens of plants and flora originating from the sites of Mexico, Peru, and Colombia. She collected more than 150,000 specimens over a period of 16 years, during which she encountered various challenges, including dangerous terrain, poisonous berries, earthquakes, and bogs. 

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 8 
Asa Gray
(The Most Prominent Botanist of the 19th Century)
Asa Gray
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Birthdate: November 18, 1810
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sauquoit, New York, United States
Died: January 30, 1888

Asa Gray was an American botanist best remembered for authoring a book on botany, which came to be known as Gray's Manual. He also served as a professor at Harvard University and often met leading natural scientists of his time, including Charles Darwin. Asa Gray is widely regarded as the most prominent botanist of the 19th century.

 9 
Joel Roberts Poinsett
(15th US Secretary of War (1837 – 1841))
Joel Roberts Poinsett
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Birthdate: March 2, 1779
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Died: December 12, 1851

Joel Roberts Poinsett was an American diplomat, physician, and slave owner. He served as the United States Minister to Mexico from 1 June 1825 to 17 October 1829. He also served as the 15th US Secretary of War from 7 March 1837 to 4 March 1841. 

 10 
Joseph Banks Rhine
(American Botanist Who Founded Parapsychology as a Branch of Psychology)
Joseph Banks Rhine
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Birthdate: September 29, 1895
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pennsylvania, United States
Died: February 20, 1980

Joseph Banks Rhine was an American botanist best remembered for his research and study of parapsychology. He is credited with founding Duke University's parapsychology lab, the Parapsychological Association (PA), the Rhine Research Center, and the Journal of Parapsychology.

 11 
William Bartram
(The First Naturalist Who Penetrated the Dense Tropical Forests of Florida)
William Bartram
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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 
Lester Frank Ward
(American Paleontologist, Botanist, and Sociologist Who Promoted Bringing Sociology Courses Into the Higher Education System in America)
Lester Frank Ward
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Birthdate: June 18, 1841
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Joliet, Illinois, United States
Died: April 18, 1913

Lester Frank Ward was an American paleontologist, botanist, and sociologist. He is best remembered for his service as the American Sociological Association's first president. Lester Frank Ward played an important role in bringing Sociology courses into the higher education system in America. 

 13 
John Bartram
(One of the World's Greatest Natural Botanists)
John Bartram
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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. 

 14 
David Fairchild
(American Botanist and Plant Explorer Credited With Introducing Over 200,000 Exotic Plants to the United States)
David Fairchild
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Birthdate: April 7, 1869
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lansing, Michigan, United States
Died: August 6, 1954

David Fairchild was an American plant explorer and botanist. He is credited with introducing over 200,000 exotic plants to the United States. He also introduced varieties of established crops, including soybeans, mangos, bamboos, dates, and pistachios. In 1933, the National Academy of Sciences honored him with the Public Welfare Medal.

 15 
Robert Whittaker
(American Plant Ecologist and the First Person to Put Forward Five Kingdom Taxonomic Classification)
Robert Whittaker
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Birthdate: December 27, 1920
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Wichita, Kansas, United States
Died: October 20, 1980

Robert Whittaker was an American plant ecologist best remembered as the first person to put forward the five kingdom taxonomic classification, namely Animalia, Plantae, Protista, Fungi, and Monera. He also served as a teacher at Washington State College. During his career, Robert Whittaker was honored with several prestigious awards such as the Eminent Ecologist Award in 1981. 

 16 
Frederic Edward Clements
(Plant Ecologist and a Pioneer in the Study of Vegetation Succession and Plant Ecology)
Frederic Edward Clements
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Birthdate: September 16, 1874
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lincoln, Nebraska, United States
Died: July 26, 1945

Frederic Edward Clements was an American plant ecologist. He was a pioneer in the study of vegetation succession and plant ecology. He also served as a professor in prestigious institutions like the University of Nebraska and the University of Minnesota.

 17 
G. Ledyard Stebbins
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Birthdate: January 6, 1906
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lawrence, New York, United States
Died: January 19, 2000

G. Ledyard Stebbins was an American geneticist and botanist. He is considered one of the 20th century's leading evolutionary biologists. Stebbins is credited with writing Variation and Evolution in Plants, which describes plant speciation and is considered his most important publication. For his contributions to science, G. Ledyard Stebbins received many awards including the prestigious National Medal of Science.

 18 
Liberty Hyde Bailey
(American Botanist, Horticulturist and Co-Founder of 'American Society for Horticultural Science')
Liberty Hyde Bailey
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Birthdate: March 15, 1858
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: South Haven, Michigan, United States
Died: December 25, 1954

Liberty Hyde Bailey was an American botanist and horticulturist. He is best remembered for co-founding the American Society for Horticultural Science. Regarded as the father of rural journalism and rural sociology, Bailey is credited with playing an important role in the commencement of agricultural extension services, the nature study movement, the 4-H movement, and rural electrification.

 19 
Ruth Patrick
(Limnologist and Botanist Who Developing Methods to Evaluate the Health of Freshwater Ecosystems)
Ruth Patrick
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Birthdate: November 26, 1907
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Topeka, Kansas, United States
Died: September 23, 2013

Ruth Patrick was an American limnologist and botanist who specialized in freshwater ecology and diatoms. She is best remembered for developing methods to evaluate the health of freshwater ecosystems. She is also credited with founding numerous research facilities. She won many awards, including the National Medal of Science. Ruth Patrick is a National Women's Hall of Fame inductee.

 20 
Katherine Esau
(German-American Botanist Known for Her Work on Plant Anatomy)
Katherine Esau
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Birthdate: April 3, 1898
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dnipro, Ukraine
Died: June 4, 1997

Katherine Esau was a German-American botanist best remembered for her work on plant anatomy, for which she was honored with the prestigious National Medal of Science by President George Bush in 1989. Katherine Esau also made significant contributions as an author, lecturer, and scientist. 

 21 
Paul Alan Cox
(American Ethnobotanist Best Known For His Advocacy of Indigenous Peoples)
Paul Alan Cox
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Birthdate: 1953 AD
Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah

Paul Alan Cox is an American ethnobotanist best known for his scientific research which aims at discovering new medicines by simply studying patterns of illness and wellness among indigenous peoples. He is credited with founding the environmental nonprofit charitable organization, Seacology. Paul Alan Cox was honored with the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 1997. 

 22 
Arthur Galston
(Botanist and Bioethicist Whose Research Led to Development of ‘Agent Orange’ and its Ethical Objections to Use it)
Arthur Galston
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Birthdate: April 21, 1920
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: June 15, 2008
 23 
George Engelmann
(German-American Botanist, Physician, and Meteorologist Known for His Study of Phylloxera Vastatrix)
George Engelmann
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Birthdate: February 2, 1809
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Frankfurt, Germany
Died: February 4, 1884
 24 
Emma Lucy Braun
(Distinguished Botanist and Ecologist Reputed as an Expert on the Forests of Eastern United States)
Emma Lucy Braun
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Birthdate: April 19, 1889
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Died: March 5, 1971
 25 
Henry Chandler Cowles
(A Pioneer in the Field of Ecology Known for His Research on Ecological Succession)
Henry Chandler Cowles
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Birthdate: February 27, 1869
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kensington, Berlin, Connecticut, United States
Died: September 12, 1939
 26 
John Torrey
(American Botanist, Chemist and Physician Noted for His Studies of the Flora of North America)
John Torrey
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Birthdate: August 15, 1796
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: March 10, 1873
 27 
Elizabeth Gertrude Britton
(Botanist, Educator, and Bryologist Who Played a Key Role in creating the famous 'New York Botanical Garden')
Elizabeth Gertrude Britton
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Birthdate: January 9, 1858
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: February 25, 1934

Elizabeth Gertrude Britton was an American botanist, educator, and bryologist. She is best remembered for playing an important role, along with her husband Nathaniel Lord Britton, in creating the famous New York Botanical Garden. Elizabeth Gertrude Britton is also credited with laying the foundation of the American Bryological and Lichenological Society.

 28 
Mary Vaux Walcott
(American Artist and Naturalist Reputed as ‘Audubon of Botany’, Noted For Her Water-colour Paintings of Wildflowers)
Mary Vaux Walcott
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Birthdate: July 31, 1860
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: August 22, 1940
 29 
Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps
(American Educator, Scientist, Author, and Editor)
Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps
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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.

 30 
Kenneth V. Thimann
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Birthdate: August 5, 1904
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ashford, England
Died: January 15, 1997

British-American plant physiologist Kenneth V. Thimann is best remembered for isolating and identifying the plant hormone auxin. Associated with Harvard University for most of his initial career, he later joined the University of California. His best-known works include Phytohormones on plant hormones and The Life of Bacteria on microbiology.

 31 
Charles Edwin Bessey
(Botanist and Educator)
Charles Edwin Bessey
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Birthdate: May 21, 1845
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Milton Township, Ohio, United States
Died: February 25, 1915

Charles Edwin Bessey was an American botanist and educator. He is remembered for his work in prestigious education institutions like the Iowa Agricultural College and the University of Nebraska. Apart from working as a professor, he also served as the head dean and later as Chancellor of the University of Nebraska. Bessey is a Nebraska Hall of Fame inductee.

 32 
Orator F. Cook
(Entomologist, Botanist, and Agronomist Known for His Work on Rubber and Cotton Cultivation)
Orator F. Cook
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Birthdate: May 28, 1867
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Clyde, New York, United States
Died: April 23, 1949

Orator F. Cook was an American entomologist, botanist, and agronomist. He is best remembered for his work on rubber and cotton cultivation. He is credited with coining the word speciation to describe a process where existing species give rise to new ones. Orator F. Cook published almost 400 articles on topics like genetics, sociology, evolution, anthropology, and geography.

 33 
Albert Francis Blakeslee
(American Botanist Best Known For His Discovery of Sexual Fusion in Fungi)
Albert Francis Blakeslee
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Birthdate: November 9, 1874
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Geneseo, New York, United States
Died: November 16, 1954

Albert Francis Blakeslee was an American botanist best remembered for his research on the sexuality of fungi and the poisonous jimsonweed plant. His discovery of sexual fusion in fungi earned him the prestigious Bowdoin Prize.

 34 
Edward Murray East
(Geneticist)
Edward Murray East
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Birthdate: October 4, 1879
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Du Quoin, Illinois, United States
Died: November 9, 1938

Known for his contribution to the development of hybrid corn, Edward Murray East was a plant geneticist, botanist and agronomist. Trained as chemist, he soon switched to genetics and began working on corn-breeding experiments, intending to increase its fat and protein content, later writing Inbreeding and Outbreeding with his student Donald F. Jones, introducing the concept of heterosis in it.

 35 
A. S. Hitchcock
(Botanist and Agrostologist)
A. S. Hitchcock
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Birthdate: September 4, 1865
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Owosso, Michigan, United States
Died: December 16, 1935

A. S. Hitchcock was an American agrostologist and botanist. He is best remembered for authoring more than 250 works during his lifetime. A. S. Hitchcock also worked as a professor at the Kansas State Agricultural College and his field notebooks are preserved in the Smithsonian Institution.

 36 
William Gilson Farlow
(American Botanist Who is Known as the 'Father of Cryptogamic Botany')
William Gilson Farlow
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Birthdate: December 17, 1844
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: July 3, 1919

William Gilson Farlow was an American botanist who worked as a professor of cryptogamic botany and professor of botany. Referred to as the father of cryptogamic botany, Farlow is credited with teaching students like William Albert Setchell, who went on to become a famous botanist and marine phycologist. William Gilson Farlow also served as the president of several non-profit organizations.

 37 
Donald F. Jones
(Geneticist)
Donald F. Jones
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Birthdate: April 16, 1890
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kansas, United States
Died: June 19, 1963

Donald F. Jones revolutionized the corn-breeding industry by pioneering the double-cross hybrid variant of the food grain. The Harvard alumnus once worked as the only geneticist at the Connecticut Station. He also headed the Genetics Society of America as its president and was part of the National Academy of Sciences.

 38 
Merritt Lyndon Fernald
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Birthdate: October 5, 1873
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Orono, Maine, United States
Died: September 22, 1950
 39 
J.C. Arthur
(Botanist)
J.C. Arthur
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Birthdate: January 11, 1850
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lowville, New York, United States
Died: April 30, 1942
 40 
Catherine Furbish
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Birthdate: May 9, 1834
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Exeter, New Hampshire, United States
Died: December 6, 1931
William Starling Sullivant
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Birthdate: January 15, 1803
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, United States
Died: April 30, 1873
Charles Joseph Chamberlain
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Birthdate: February 23, 1863
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sullivan, Ohio, United States
Died: February 5, 1943
Douglas Houghton Campbell
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Birthdate: December 19, 1859
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States
Died: February 24, 1953
 44 
Robert Almer Harper
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Birthdate: January 21, 1862
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Le Claire, Iowa, United States
Died: May 12, 1946
 45 
Bernard Ogilvie Dodge
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Birthdate: April 18, 1872
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mauston, Wisconsin, United States
Died: August 9, 1960
 46 
Lewis Ralph Jones
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Birthdate: December 5, 1864
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brandon, Wisconsin, United States
Died: April 1, 1945
 47 
E. C. Jeffrey
(Botanist)
E. C. Jeffrey
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Birthdate: May 21, 1866
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saint Catherines, Canada
Died: April 19, 1952
 48 
Frank Hall Knowlton
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Birthdate: September 2, 1860
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brandon, Vermont, United States
Died: November 22, 1926

Renowned paleobotanist Frank Hall Knowlton is remembered for his pioneering study of fossilized plants and geologic climates. He not just taught botany but had also been associated with the U.S. Geological Survey. His interests also included birds, and he contributed to a volume named Birds of the World.

 49 
Julius Nieuwland
(Chemist, Botanist Known for His Discovery of 'Lewisite' and Acetylene Research for its Use as a Synthetic Rubber)
Julius Nieuwland
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Birthdate: February 14, 1878
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nevele, Belgium
Died: June 11, 1936