William Woodville

The Kings Cross Physician March 26, 1805 Today is the anniversary of the death of the English physician and botanist William Woodville. William was an early adopter of the botanist and physician Edward Jenner’s work on vaccines. So he became an outspoken advocate of vaccination – even trying to create his own smallpox vaccine. In…

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Adolf Engler

The Natural Plant Families March 25, 1844 Today is the birthday of the German botanist Adolf Engler. Adolf developed a system for plant classification now called the Engler System that is still used in some specialty areas today. His masterpiece was Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien (“The Natural Plant Families”). The concept of Plant Families is useful…

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Nehemiah Grew

The Father of Plant Anatomy March 25, 1641 Today is the birthday of the Father of Plant Anatomy, Nehemiah Grew. Nehemiah was an English botanist and was the first person to illustrate the inner structures and functions of plants in all their amazing intricacies. Specifically, Nehemiah illustrated eighty images in his 1682 book called Anatomy…

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Aven Nelson

The Father of Wyoming Botany March 24, 1859 Today is the birthday of the American botanist, who specialized in the Rocky Mountains, Aven Nelson. In 1899, Aven led a 14-week botanical expedition through Yellowstone. Aven had hired a student named Leslie Goodding to be the chore boy for $10 per month. The group assembled at…

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Mark Catesby

Mark’s Magnificent Illustrations March 24, 1682 Today is the baptism day of the little-known English naturalist, adventurer, explorer, and artist. Mark Catesby – his exact birthdate has been lost to time. Way back when the United States was a British colony, Mark made two trips to the new world. On his second trip, he traveled…

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Arabella Elizabeth Roupell

The Cape Town Flower Painter March 23, 1817 Today is the birthday of the English flower painter Arabella Elizabeth Roupell. Arabella joined her husband when he was stationed in South Africa for his work with the East India Company. To occupy herself, Arabella painted the flora and fauna of the Cape. In a complete stroke…

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John Bartram

“The Greatest Natural Botanist in the World” March 23, 1699 Today is the birthday of the one of American’s earliest botanists, horticulturists and explorers: John Bartram. John founded the first botanical garden in America and Linnaeus called John the “greatest natural botanist in the world.” Like many botanists of his time, John was born into…

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Christine Johanna Buisman

Dutch Elm Disease March 22, 1900 Today is the birthday of the Dutch Phytopathologist Christine Johanna Buisman. Christine worked on the all-female-team of scientists tackling Dutch Elm Disease and led by the great botanist Johanna Westerdijk. Christine is remembered for her dedication to the topic, and she was the first scientist from the group to…

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Henry David Thoreau

Maple Trees and Warm Places March 22, 1856 Today Henry David Thoreau writes about spring and flowing sap in Maple trees in his journal. He also writes about microclimates – he calls them “warm places.” “Part of the White Maples now begin to flow, some perhaps two or three days. Probably in equally warm positions,…

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Joseph Sauriol

The Don River Valley Naturalist March 19, 1938 It was on this day that the Canadian Naturalist Charles Joseph Sauriol (“Sar-ee-all”) jotted down a sweet diary entry, and it was shared bythe Toronto Archiveson their fabulous twitter feed – which is a wonderful thing to follow. Charles wrote: “We have a visitor. A long winding…

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Stella Ross-Craig

Drawings of British Plants March 19, 1906 Today is the birthday of the English illustrator who specialized in the native flora of Britain, Stella Ross-Craig. When Stella was 23, she landed a job at Kew Gardens, where she worked as a botanical illustrator, taxonomist, and contributor to Curtis’s Botanical Magazine. When Stella’s work caught the…

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John Chapman

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away March 18, 1845 Today is the anniversary of the death of John Chapman – better known as Johnny Appleseed – who died on this day at the age of 70. Johnny was born in Massachusetts. In fact, the street where he was born is now called Johnny…

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Dame Penelope Margaret Lively

Life in the Garden March 17, 1933 Today is the birthday of the great British writer of fiction for both children and adults, Dame Penelope Margaret Lively – so that makes her 88 years young today. Happy birthday, Penelope. Penelope wrote one of my favorite garden books. It’s called life in the garden, and I…

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William Withering

Fond of Foxgloves March 17, 1741 Today is the birthday of the English botanist geologist, physician, and chemist William Withering. William became the very first person to study the bioactivity of the flower known as Digitalis or Foxglove. In this respect, William’s training as a physician served him well. And the story goes that one…

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