The Father of Japanese Botany

#OTD Today, April 24, Japan celebrates Botany Day; a celebration that honors the birthday of the Father of Japanese Botany, Tomitaro Makino.

Makino was born in 1862. His dad was a successful brewer of the Japanese national drink, sake. Sadly, by the time he was six, his father, mother, and grandfather had died. He was raised by his grandmother.

Makino became fascinated with plants as a boy. He loved to collect specimens. Every spare minute, until he became bedridden before his death, he would roam the countryside adding to his personal herbarium which would ultimately max out at over 400,000 specimens. (The University of Tokyo is now home to the Makino herbarium).

Makino adopted Linnaean principles for naming his plants. In 1940, he published the Illustrated Flora of Japan - an exhaustive work that detailed more than 6,000 plants. (I ordered myself a first edition online from Abe Books for the fine price of $67.)

The Makino Botanical Garden was built in his hometown of Kochi City after he died in 1957 at the age of 94.

Tomitaro Makino, Japanese botanist said,

"Plants can survive without humans; but humans can't survive without plants".

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Tomitaro Makino
Tomitaro Makino