Apart from being a successful botanist, Marie Stopes was also a popular activist, known for her contribution to the feminist cause. A leading supporter of birth control, she established the UK’s first clinic for family planning. She was also known for her books Married Love and Wise Parenthood.
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.
Once regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on botany and the environment, David Bellamy was also a successful TV presenter and was a regular on BBC programs. However, he later claimed that he was shunned by the TV fraternity for his denial of the importance of climate change.
Landscape architect Gertrude Jekyll was born into an affluent family and grew up in a refined environment, learning music and traveling. Initially interested in painting, she gave it up to focus on gardening when she developed eyesight problems. She built around 400 gardens and also collaborated with Sir Edwin Lutyens.
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.
British botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker is remembered as one of Charles Darwin’s greatest supporters. The man who is known as the pioneer of geographical botany, Hooker followed in the footsteps of his botanist father. The Copley Medal winner is also known for his iconic work Genera Plantarum.
Apart from being a botanist, Anna Atkins was also known for releasing some of the first botanical photographs. The daughter of a scientist, she also illustrated her father’s written works. She remains the first-known person to have used photography for a scientific purpose. She was also part of the London Botanical Society.
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.
Apart from being a scientist, Stephen Hales was also a clergyman. He went down in history as the first person to quantitatively measure human blood pressure and also discovered transpiration in plants. He also invented surgical and other medical devices. He devoted himself to charitable causes following his wife’s death.
Apart from being the third son of legendary naturalist Charles Darwin, Francis Darwin was a botanist in his own right, too. While he initially studied math, he later switched to natural sciences and then also studied medicine. He is best remembered for his contribution to phototropism.
British herbalist John Gerard is best remembered for his iconic book The Herball, known as the first catalogue for plants. However, experts feel it was mostly plagiarized from a similar collection by Flemish botanist Rembert Dodoens. Apart from details about plants, he also included folklore in his works.
Scottish botanist and traveler Robert Fortune was involved in a lot of exploratory projects, which took him to China and Taiwan. He is credited with the development of the tea business in India, as part of the East India Company’s campaign. He also brought in many trees, shrubs, and flowers to Europe.
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.
The son of a nurseryman, British botanist John Lindley revolutionized the plant classification system by introducing a method of considering all characters of plants. Known for his iconic work The Vegetable Kingdom, he also had a wide collection of orchids, which eventually found a place at the Kew Gardens.
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.
Botanist William Jackson Hooker made history as the first director of the Kew Gardens, or the Royal Botanic Gardens. Born to a merchant’s clerk who was also an amateur botanist, Hooker developed an interest in insects, birds, and plants at an early age. He was also known for his plant illustrations.
British botanist Harry Johnston is remembered for his extensive exploratory voyages to Africa. His explorations gave way to the 19th-century Scramble for Africa by colonial powers. He had also been a painter and a freelance journalist in his initial days in Africa. He also penned countless books on Africa.
John Stevens Henslow was not just a priest but also revolutionized the teaching methods of botany at Cambridge University. One of his students was legendary naturalist Charles Darwin. He also co-founded the Cambridge Philosophical Society and explored various regions, such as the Isle of Man, as a geologist.
English botanist and naturalist Thomas Nuttal is best known for his popular volume The Genera of North American Plants. He later taught natural history at Harvard and also studied birds, eventually releasing a book on American birds, too. He also undertook a voyage to Columbia River and Hawaii.
Born to a naval architect father and a botanist mother, George Bentham was also the nephew of jurist Jeremy Bentham and had initially studied law. However, inspired by Pyrame de Candolle’s tables of French plants, he later studied botany. His study of seed plants contributed immensely to plant taxonomy.
Apart from being a botanist, Paul J. McAuley is also a popular sci-fi author, who loves writing on themes such as space travel and alternate reality. Known for his award-winning novels such as Four Hundred Billion Stars and Fairyland, he has also penned a few short stories.
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.
British botanist Agnes Arber is best remembered for her research on the anatomy of monocotyledons. She also scripted history as the first elected female member of the Fellow of The Royal Society. Her paleobotanist husband had also taught her at Cambridge. Her later works were mostly on plant philosophy.
English botanist Henry Nicholas Ridley is best remembered for his contribution to the cultivation of rubber in the Malay peninsula. His passion to achieve his goal earned him the nickname Mad Ridley. Of his written works, one of the most significant was the 5-volume Flora of the Malay Peninsula.
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.
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.
British botanist Nick Brown initially studied geography and then ecology, eventually specializing in forest ecology. He later taught forestry at Oxford and also served as the principal of Linacre College under the University of Oxford. He is married to an Oxford lecturer. He is fond of sailing, too.
Born to a physicist father and a chemist mother, Enrico Coen was initially interested in both chemistry and genetics but eventually chose genetics. The Darwin Medal-winning biologist creates computer simulations of plant mechanisms and has penned books such as Cells to Civilizations. His work in plant genetics won him a CBE.
English botanist James Bowie was not just associated with the Kew Gardens but also traveled as far to Brazil and the Cape Province for collecting botanical specimens. Most of his preserved specimens now find a place at the British Museum. The genera Bowiea and Bowiesia were named in his honor.
Born to famous architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, Dukinfield Henry Scott studied natural sciences at Oxford. The Royal Medal-winning Victorian botanist was also a Fellow of The Royal Society and was actively associated with the Kew Gardens. He was also the first University College botany lecturer to allow women in his classes.
English geologist Albert Ernest Kitson had spent part of his childhood in India, where his schoolmaster father ran a school. He then moved to Australia, where both his parents taught. The Lyell Medal winner later contributed immensely to the geological development of Australia and Nigeria. He was later knighted for his achievements.
Darwin Medal-winning English botanist Frederick Orpen Bower is remembered for his theory that explained the alternation of generations in plants. He spent most of his career teaching botany at the University of Glasgow. His best-known written work remains the iconic The Origin of a Land Flora.