The History of TAXONOMY

  < 1694-1789                       1812-1867                      1875-1926 >
 Now, the general system used for the next 200 years were created.  A small change to Linnaeus' words: "God created, Linnaeus named, Adanson classified and de Jussieus combined it". This system that lasted with small adjustments until evolution became a factor. The following years only brought smaller adjustments, but established the term Taxonomy, and got it in to a science.





 Augustin Pyramus de Candolle (1778–1841) published his Principes élémentaires de botanique as an a introduction to the third edition of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck's Flore française 1803-1815. In 1813, he published his own Théorie élémentaire de la botanique with 135 families (still called Order). He wanted the system to be natural, like Adanson's, in opposed to the artificial, Linnaean System.
 In 1821 came the first two (and only) volumes of Regni vegetabilis systema naturale. He tried to make it less extensive, but only managed to make seven out of ten volumes of Prodromus systemati naturalis regni vegetabilis sive enumeratio contracta ordinum, generum specierumque plantarum huc usque cognitarum, juxta methodi naturalis normas digesta, which were finished by his son: Alphonse Louis Pierre Pyrame de Candolle  (1806-1893) (See below), and his grandson: Anne Casimir Pyrame de Candolle (1836-1918). It counts 161 families and 58000 species is treated.
 The Prodromus systematis naturalis regni vegetabilis was  intended to be a descriptive classification of all known seed plants. Candolle's goal was not only to classify every known species, but also to include ecology, evolution, and the biogeography of each. Candolle was a pioneer in the field of biogeography, an idea Armen Takhtajan used in 1966.

 His work counts the less familiar groups, and remained the only systematic treatment available for some plant groups for many years.

 Augustin Pyramus de Candolle was born in the Republic of Geneva (now Switzerland), he studied medicine and natural history in Paris. He worked in many areas of botany, but the system was his favourites; he even coined the term "taxonomy". He took the degree of medicine in 1804 and in 1808 he was appointed Professor of Botany and Director of the Botanic Garden at the University of Montpelier. In 1817, he became professor of natural history at the University of Geneva, and the director of the botanical gardens there, and established what is now one of the world's largest herbarium.

Natural system with Binomial nomenclature. Coined the term "taxonomy".


Main groups:




 In 1829, John Lindley (1799-1865) published his A Synopsis of British Flora, arranged according to the Natural Order and the following year: An Introduction to the Natural System of Botany.  In 1833: Nixus plantarum. 1836: A natural system of botany. His The Vegetable Kingdom from 1846, counts 278 families of flowering plants in it's third edition in 1853.  He became a pioneer Orchidologist, and much of his work concerns orchids. He was a supporter of of the "natural" system, and was close to Augustin Pyramus de Candolle ideas, build on Adansons system.

 John Lindley was born in Catton, near Norwich, England. He became assistant Secretary to the Royal Horticultural Society in1822. He developed the society's Chiswick garden and started a school of horticulture there, where he set up the first formal horticultural examination.  He organized the first flower shows in England. Later, he became the first Professor of Botany at the University of London 1829­1860 and Professor of Botany at Cambridge University.


 Natural system with Binomial nomenclature. Many new plants.

1843   Adolphe-Théodore Brongniart (1801-1876). Worked mainly with the relationships between extinct and existing plants, and is known as "The father of  paleobotany". In  Enumeration des genres de plantes cultivees au Musee d'Histoire Naturelle de Paris in 1843, the first describtions of: Ranunculopsida + Magnoliopsida  is published along with other major groups and families. It will take 150 years before modern DNA testing confirm these groupings! He placed the Cycadeae and Coniferae in the new group the gymnosperms.

 Adolphe-Théodore Brongniart was born in Paris, France. His first work on classification and distribution of fossil plants was published when he was 21 years old. In 1826 he graduated as doctor of medicine, and in 1831 he became assistant to R. L. Desfontaines at the Musee d'Histoire Naturelle, and two years later succeeded him as professor, a position which he continued to hold until his death in Paris on the 8th of February 1876.

 Used extinct plants to fill the gabs.

Main groups: Close to August Wilhelm Eichler 1875, see below/next page.

1862–83  George Bentham (1800-1884) made a system together with Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911) which were published in Genera plantarum ad exemplaria imprimis in herbariis kewensibus servata definita (1-3) 1862–1883. It consists of Polypetalarum, Gamopetalæ , Monochlamideæ, Gymnospermeæ and Monocotyledones, with Series with a total of 25 Cohors with 119 families. It was a collection of generic descriptions taken from original observation, and very complete and precise.

  George Bentham was born in Stoke near Portsmouth. He had neither a school nor a college education. He was a gifted young man, and when he got a copy of of A. P. de Candolle’s Flore française, his interest was caught. His first publication on the subject was  Catalogue des plantes indigènes des Pyrénées et du Bas Languedoc from 1826. Ten years later;  Labiatarum genera et species. Then followed Commentationes de Leguminosarum generibus, and he frequently wrote in Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis. Bentham began with the Flora Hongkongensis in 1861, a comprehensive work on any part of the little-known flora of China and Hong Kong, including Hong Kong Croton. Then came Flora Australiensis, in seven volumes (1863-1878), the first flora of any large continental area that had ever been finished. His greatest work was the Genera Plantarum, begun in 1862 and concluded in 1883 in collaboration with Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker.

  Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker was born in Halesworth, Suffolk, England. He was son of the famous botanist Sir William Jackson Hooker, and his interest in plants started early. He study medicine at Glasgow University, and got his M.D. in 1839.

 He joined the navy's polar expedition under James Clark Ross on the world's last major voyage of exploration made entirely under sail. The four year expedition  lead them bye Madeira, Tenerife, Santiago, Quail Island in the Cape Verde archipelago, St Paul Rocks, Trinidade east of Brazil, St Helena, the Cape of Good Hope, Crozet Islands, Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands,  Hobart, Van Diemen's Land, Auckland Islands, Campbell Island, Antarctica, Sydney, Bay of Islands in New Zealand, Falkland Islands, Tierra del Fuego, Cockburn Island and Ascension Island.

 Hooker made plant collections at each location and while travelling drew these and specimens of algae and sea life pulled aboard using tow nets. His collections from the voyage eventually formed one of two volumes published as the Flora Antarctica 1844–47 and  Flora Novae-Zelandiae in 1851–53 and Flora Tasmaniae, 1853–59.

 Darwin who asked Hooker if he would classify the plants that he had collected in the Galápagos.

 In 1847 Hooker left England for his 3 year long Himalayan expedition; he would be the first European to collect plants in the Himalaya. They expedition was granted by his father, the director og KEW. He went by ship, elephants and foot, and were several times imprisoned.
 His findings were published in Rhododendrons of Sikkim-Himalaya,1849–51, Flora Indica in 1855 and
the Himalayan Journals from 1891.

 He also visit Palestine in 1860, Morocco in1871, and the United States in 1877. In 1855 he was appointed assistant-director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and in 1865 he succeeded his father as full director. He keep writing, and his greatest botanical work was the Flora of British India, published in seven volumes between 1872 and 1897.

Based on original observation.

George Bentham

Joseph Dalton Hooker

Main groups:
with SERIES with a total of 25 Cohors with 119 families.

The full Taxon.


 Alphonse Louis Pierre Pyrame de Candolle is most famous for his Lois de la nomenclature botanique adoptées par le Congrès international de botanique tenu à Paris en août 1867; the first Code of Botanical Nomenclature.

 The ICBN is selves sets the formal starting date of plant nomenclature at 1 May 1753, the publication of Species Plantarum by Carl Linnaeus

 Alphonse Louis Pierre Pyrame de Candolle first devoted himself to the study of law, but gradually drifted to botany and finally succeeded to his father's chair at the University of Geneva. Among his other contributions is the creation of the first Code of Botanical Nomenclature, adopted by the International Botanical Congress in 1867.


 First Code of Botanical Nomenclature. (The latest; 2006)

Main groups:
  Class Dicotyledone
  Class Monocotyledon

  < 1694-1789                       1812-1867                      1875-1926 >