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Joseph Hooker: Botanical Trailblazer

Joseph Hooker: Botanical Trailblazer
Pat Griggs
Kew (distributed in the U.S. by the University of Chicago Press)
Publication Date: 

paper, 64 pp., $17.00

Joseph Hooker (1817–1911), son of amateur botanist William Hooker, is hailed for raising the status of botany into a respected profession. Botanists were once overlooked, but by the time Joseph Hooker retired, they were appreciated as scientists. Hooker worked hard in his climb up the professional ladder, first becoming an instructor of medical students, a lowly position at the time. Despite his recognition that plant exploration was a dangerous track, he made several perilous trips that gave him celebrity status in the field. Becoming one of the most influential botanists of the period, Joseph Hooker supported Charles Darwin’s notions of evolution when the ideas originally appeared in print in 1859. Joseph Hooker became director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in 1865. During his career, he identified more than 12,000 new plants, winning recognition as one of the founding fathers of modern botany and taxonomy. Handsomely illustrated with full-color drawings and reproductions of archival materials, this work provides the reader with an intimate introduction to the field of botany at a critical period.

— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden