Katherine Esau

Anatomy of Seed Plants

On this day in 1997, the great plant anatomist extraordinaire Katherine Esau died.
Her early work was dedicated to forming the curly top virus in beets and other plants.
I found an early newspaper account of her work in the Woodland Daily Democrat from 1928; the headline was "Girl to Conduct Beet Experiments."
She was best known for her research on the effects of viruses on plant tissues
Her 1953 plant anatomy book remains vital for botanists today
And her smaller work anatomy of seed plants is one of the most influential structural botany textbooks around for the past 40 years her work has been used to teach anatomy courses to horticulture students all around the world
Esau herself spent nearly 35 years of teaching at the UC Davis campus
And she helped develop the campuses center for plant diversity 
Professor and plant biologist Bill Lucas says his about Esau

"Katherine Print Esau's work is the Webster's of plant biology. It's encyclopedic. Her prose is elegant and precise; each word is carefully chosen. When you read her publications, you're at the microscope with her-you see what she's seeing. If my students and I have a disagreement about cell definition, I turn to Esau's work to settle it."

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Katherine Esau
Katherine Esau

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