Nehemiah Grew

The Father of Plant Anatomy

Today is the birthday of the Father of Plant Anatomy, Nehemiah Grew, who was born on this day in 1641.

Grew was an English botanist and was the first person to illustrate the inner structures and functions of plants in all their wondrous intricacies.
If you've ever seen a Nehemiah Grew drawing, you'll never forget it; you're probably able to spot them a mile away. But, if you've never seen a Nehemiah Grew drawing, imagine an etch-a-sketch drawing on steroids. The lines are impossibly thin. The level of detail is staggering. For instance, Grew's drawings of tree parts cut transversely look like elaborate Japanese fans. This is because Grew was one of the first naturalists to incorporate the microscope in the study of plant morphology.
It was his use of the microscope that allowed Grew to give the first known microscopic description of pollen. Along those same lines, Grew was also the first person to analyze the ridges, furrows, grooves, and pores on human hands and feet. He published his incredibly accurate drawings of finger ridge patterns in  1684. Palm readers owe Grew a debt of gratitude. (Just kidding.... or am I?)

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Nehemiah Grew
Nehemiah Grew

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