The History of TAXONOMY

  < 1812-1867                       1875-1926                      1966-1986 >
Finally, the idea of evolution made it's way to the botanists. Erasmus Darwin thoughts, published almost 100 years before in Zoonomia, or, The Laws of Organic Life 1794-1796, which were so magnificently promoted by his grandson; Charles Darwin, gave a whole new perspective to taxonomy, and it were change once again. The first to use this thought were Adolphe-Théodore Brongniart in 1843, working with fossils, which gave a good fundament for Eichler in his system from 1875, but it took some years to become the main perspective.



 August Wilhelm Eichler (Augustus Guilielmus)  (1839-1887) separate Phanerogamae in Angiosperms and Gymnosperms and Angiosperms again in Monocotyledonae and Dicotyledonae. It was published in Blütendiagramme, I-II:1875-1878. In 1883, divided the plant kingdom into non-floral plants (Cryptogamae) and floral plants (Phanerogamae). His system is significant in the perspective it is the first one in which the concept of Evolution. It is in line with Adolphe-Théodore Brongniart's 1843 work.

Cryptogramae: Thallophyta, Bryophyta, Pteridophyta
Phanaerogramae: Gymnosperms, Angioperms

 August Wilhelm Eichler was born in Neukirchen, Hesse, Germany. He studied at University of Marburg and became professor of Botany in Technische Hochschule, Graz in 1871. In 1872 he received an appointment at the University of Kiel, where he remained until 1878, when he became director of the herbarium at the University of Berlin.

 Detailed groups, based on Evolution. Non floral: Cryptogamae and floral: Phanerogamae.  Angiosperms and Gymnosperms.

Main groups:
  phylum Thallophyta
    classis Algae
    classis Fungi
    classis Lichenes
  phylum Bryophyta
    classis Hepaticae
    classis Musci
  phylum Pteridophyta
    classis Equisetinae
    classis Lycopodinae
    classis Filicinae
  phylum Gymnospermae
  phylum Angiospermae
    classis Monocotyleae
    classis Dicotyleae
      subclassis Choripetalae
      subclassis Sympetalae




 Heinrich Gustav Adolf Engler (Adolf Engler) (1844–1930) and Karl Anton Eugen Prantl (1849-1893) made the Engler and Prantl or Phylogenetic System, published in Die Natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien 1887-1915, where the plants were sorted by the basis of complexity of floral morphology. Characters like a perianth with one whorl, unisexual flowers and pollination by wind were considered primitive as compared to perianth with two whorls, bisexual flowers and pollination by insects. This was the first major Phylogenetic Classification and that gave a slightly changed August Wilhelm Eichler system. They dealt with the primitive groups as well.  It is in line with Adolphe-Théodore Brongniart's 1843 work.

 Engler's taxonomic work was also published in Das Pflanzenreich 1900-1968 and Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien 1924. It contained more than Angiospermae; even green algae, which most taxonomists do not include in Plantae, and it is still one of the most complete works on all plants and related.

 The Angiospermae part of the system was slightly changed by H. Melchior in 1964, and after that, it contained 62 ordos with 343 families.
Main groups in 1964:
Divisio Embryophyta
 Subdivisio Angiospermae
  Classis Monocotyledoneae
  Classis Dicotyledoneae
   Subclassis Archychlamydeae
   Subclassis Sympetalae

 Heinrich Gustav Adolf Engler was born in Sagan, Prussia (now Żagań), Poland. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland) in 1866, and worked there for some years. Then he became the custodian of botanical collections of the Botanische Institute of Munich. In 1878, he got professorship at the University of Kiel. In 1884, he went back to Breslau as director of the Botanical Garden. From 1889 to 1921 he was professor at the University of Berlin and director of the Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden.

 Many plants are named in his honour, such as Englerastrum, Englerella, Engleria, Englerina, Englerocharis, Englerodaphne, Englerodendron and Englerophytum.

 Devided by the complexity of floral morphologyIn. This was the first major Phylogenetic Classification. Made taxon on all plants and related.

Main groups in 1924
Divisio Schizophyta
Divisio Phytosarcodina
Divisio Flagellatae
Divisio Dinoflagellatae
Divisio Bacillariophyta
Divisio Conjugatae
Divisio Chlorophyceae (Algae)
Divisio Charophyta
Divisio Phaeophyceae
Divisio Rhodophyceae
Divisio Eumycetes
Divisio Embryophyta asiphonogama
    Subdivisio Bryophyta (Moss)
    Subdivisio Pteridophyta (Fern)
Divisio Embryophyta siphonogama
    Subdivisio Gymnospermae
    Subdivisio Angiospermae
      Classis Monocotyledoneae
      Classis Dicotyledoneae

 62 ordos with 343 families.

The full Taxon of the Melchior 1964

1901-35  Richard Wettstein (Ritter von Westersheim) (1863-1931) published his system in Handbuch der systematischen Botanik from 1901-1935.  It counts 48 ordos with 315 families, including Gymnospermae. His new idea is: Monocots evolved from Ranales. He also used the phylogenetic system.

 Richard Wettstein was born in Wien. He studied medicine and philosophy at the University of Vienna. He was a Professor at the University of Prague from 1892, and at the University of Vienna from 1899. He laid out the Botanical Garden of the University of Vienna.


Monocots evolved from Ranales. Used the phylogenetic system.

Main groups:
subdivisio Gymnospermae
   classis Pteridospermae (fossil)
   classis Cycadinae
   classis Benettitinae (fossil)
   classis Cordaïtinae (fossil)
   classis Ginkgoinae
   classis Coniferae
   classis Gnetinae
 subdivisio Angiospermae
   classis Dicotyledones
     subclassis Choripetalae
A Monochlamideae
B Dialypetalae
     subclassis Sympetalae
  classis Monocotyledones

 48 ordos with 315 families
The full Taxon

1915  Charles Edwin Bessey (1845-1915) made his Bessey system, with focus on the evolutionary divergence of primitive forms. The systems based on various 28 guiding rules, or “dicta”, to determine level of being, simple or advanced, of a group of plants. It is considered by many as the system most likely to form the basis of a modern, comprehensive taxonomy of the plant kingdom. It was published in The phylogenetic taxonomy of flowering plants 1915. Here, he considered Spermatophyta as having had polyphyletic origin, being composed by three different phyla, of which he treated only Anthophyta. Full in line with Richard Wettstein ideas.

 Charles Edwin Bessey was born in Milton Township, Wayne County, Ohio, USA. He studied at Michigan Agricultural College, and become instructor in botany and horticulture at Iowa College of Agriculture, where he becomes a full professor. In 1884, he is appointed professor of botany at University of Nebraska.

Evolutionary divergence of primitive forms.
Spermatophyta having had polyphyletic origin: three different phyla.

Main groups:
Phylum Angiospermae
Classis Alternifoliae Monocotyledoneae
 subclassis Strobiloideae
 subclassis Cotyloideae
   superordo Apopetalae
   superordo Sympetalae
Classis Oppositifoliae Dicotyledoneae
 subclassis Strobiloideae
  superordo Apopetalae-Polycarpellatae
  superordo Sympetalae-Polycarpellata

Containing 15 ordos with a total of 146 families
The full Taxon




 John Hutchinson's System was published in his  two volumes: Monocotyledonae in 1926, and Dicotyledonae in 1934 (2nd edition 1959; 3rd edition, 1973). The families of flowering plants, arranged according to a new system based on their probable phylogeny. It counts 328 families. It was a radical revision of the angiosperm classification system devised by Bentham & Hooker and by Engler & Prantl.

  John Hutchinson was born in Blindburn, Wark on Tyne, Northumberland, England. Hutchinson worked at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew from he was appointed a student gardener in 1904. He  was appointed Keeper of the Museums of Botany at Kew in 1936, where he worked until he retired in 1948, and started writing full time.

 He made two extended collecting trips to South Africa, where he collected and described a huge amount of plants.

 Commemorated in the genus Hutchinsonia  by Robyns.

 A system based on their probable phylogeny.

Main groups:
phylum Angiospermae
  subphylum Monocotyledons
    dividio Calyciferae
    dividio Corolliferae
    dividio Glumiflorae
  subphylum Dicotyledons
    dividio Archychlamydeae
    dividio Metachlamydeae

 115 ordo with 333 families
The full Taxon

  < 1812-1867                       1875-1926                      1966-1989 >