Famous Orchidologists

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Carolus Linnaeus (1707 - 1778), Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern binomial nomenclature (a formal system of naming species) and modern taxonomy: Carl Linnaeus used the word Cypripedium for the Lady Slipper; established, for the first time, technical names for orchid genera and species and recognized eight orchid genera.

John Fothergill (1712-1780), Quaker physician: introduced, from China in 1778, the first tropical orchid to flower in the glasshouses at Kew.

Joseph Banks (1743 - 1820), English naturalist and botanist: took part in Captain James Cook's first great voyage (1768–1771) and is credited with the introduction to the Western world of many plants. He was a great orchid collector and brought to England orchids from India and Australia and suggested growing methods.

Richard Salisbury (1761-1829), British botanist: published the first description of germinating orchid seedlings in 1804.

Joseph Cooper, English orchid grower: introduced, in 1830, to orchid cultivation ventilation techniques and raised the humidity by regulrly watering the floor of nurseries and by that also lowered temperature.

William Hooker (1785 - 1865), English botanist: As the first director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew he organized the vast orchid collection there and recorded for the first time a few species like Ram's-head Lady's-slipper Cypripedium arietinum. Hooker's orchid (Platanthera hookeri (Torrey) Lindley) is named after him.

Robert Brown (1773 - 1858), Scottish botanist and palaeobotanist who made important contributions to botany through his pioneering use of the microscope. Brown documented Western Australia orchids and discovered the cell nucleus while researching his orchids with a microscope. In 1805, Brown discovered that tropical orchids were epiphytic not parasites. He also studied pollination and fertilisation of orchids.

John Lindley (1799 - 1865), English botanist, gardener and orchidologist: his time top authority on the classification of orchids; his orchid collection included more than 7000 items including new species.

John Lyons (1792 - 1874), Irish orchid grower: credited with producing the first manual on orchid cultivation in 1843 - Remarks in the Management of Orchidaceous Plants; his comments on temperature, humidity, fresh air and misting in the glasshouse improved orchid cultivation everywhere.

Charles Darwin (1809 - 1882), English naturalist: proposed the scientific theory of evolution. Darwin showed that orchid's beauty was honed by natural selection to attract insect cross-pollinators since he believed that cross-pollinated plants would produce fitter offspring than self-pollinators, and he conducted many crossings experiments to prove the point.

Benjamin Williams (1824 - 1890), English orchidologist and nurseryman: published horticultural articles on orchids in publications such as The Orchid Grower's Manual, Select Orchidaceous Plants and The Orchid Album. He was also a notable orchid cultivator of his day.

John Dominy (1816 - 1891) English notable plant hybridist: head gardener, plant grower at the nurseries of James Veitch & Sons (see below) in Exeter; his Calanthe × Dominii is the world's first recognised orchid hybrid.

Frederick Burbidge (1847 - 1905), British explorer: collected many rare tropical plants, including orchids, for the famous Veitch Nurseries.

Joseph Hooker (1817 - 1911), British botanists and explorer: founder of geographical botany, director of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, for twenty years in succession to his father, William Jackson Hooker (see above). He explored Himalayan, British, Ceylon and New Zealand orchids and in 1854 published a paper on the structure and fertilization of Listera (twayblades orchids) which Darwin mentioned in his work about orchids (see above).

Noel Bernard (1874-1911) suggested that a symbiotic method of germenation could be carried out after he discovered that in the wild orchid seeds germinate in the presence of a mycorrhizal fungus.

John Seden (1840–1921), hybridist and horticulturalist: succeeded John Dominy (see above) as hybridiser at Veitch’s and over a thirty-year period created more than 500 orchid hybrids, including 150 paphiopedilums.

Harry James Veitch (1840 - 1924), English horticulturist: was the head of the nursery business, James Veitch & Sons in Chelsea, in which the first hybrid orchid, Calanthe × dominii was hybridized by John Dominy (see above). He was also instrumental in establishing the Chelsea Flower Show.

Lewis Knudson (1884 - 1958), American plant physiologist: developed the non-symbiotic germination (not dependent on mycorrhizal fungi for germination) of orchid seeds that revolutionized the commercial growing of orchids.

Georges Morel (1916-1973), French orchid enthusiast: application of tissue culture techniques to orchid propagation in 1960 - the first to culture an orchid shoot tip in vitro.

Related Subjects
Identify Orchids - for Dummies
Famous Botanists
Famous Horticulturists

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Last updated: February 2018
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