Friday, 26 July 2013

Grew's Anatomy ...

Here's a gem of an article for anyone interested in the history of botany.

It's all about the 82 illustrated plates included in the1680 book, The Anatomy of Plants, by English botanist Nehemiah Grew. In it, he revealed for the first time the inner structure and function of plants in all their splendorous intricacy.

Check out a delightful Public Domain Review article by Brian Garret, professor of philosophy at McMaster Univerity, who explores how Grew’s pioneering ‘mechanist’ vision in relation to the floral world paved the way for the science of plant anatomy.

‘Nehemiah Grew (1641-1712) is best remembered for his careful and novel observations on plant anatomy, for his role in the development of comparative anatomy and as one of the first naturalists to utilise the microscope in the study of plant morphology. His most lasting work, containing his observations and impressive illustrations, is most certainly his early work ‘The Anatomy of Plants’ begun as a philosophical history of plants published in 1682. Although Grew continued to publish throughout his life, especially on the chemical properties of various substances, all but the The Anatomy have fallen into obscurity.'

'The growth of a plant he deemed to be a function of sap circulating through the tissue, carrying and adding material to the plant. His observations on the bud of the flower revealed the complicated folding of the unexpanded leaves, something that had not been previously seen with the naked eye.'

By Pamela Kelt

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