Rudolph Jacob Camerarius


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(1665–1721) German botanist

Born the son of a professor of medicine at Tübingen (now in Germany), Camerarius was himself educated there and received his doctorate in 1687. He joined the staff at Tübingen and following his father's death in 1695 was appointed professor of medicine and director of the botanic gardens, posts he occupied until his death from TB in 1721.

In 1694 in De sexu plantarum (On the Sex of Plants) Camerarius produced clear experimental evidence for the sexuality of plants first proposed by John Ray and Nehemiah Grew. By isolating pistillate (female) dioecious plants from staminate (male) plants (dioecious referring to plant species where the male and female flowers are borne on separate plants), he was able to show that although the pistillate plants produced fruit, they lacked seeds. With monoecious plants (those that bear separate unisexual male and female flowers on the same plant, e.g. maize) he found that removing the male inflorescence also resulted in sterile fruit.

In his description of plant anatomy Camerarius identified the stamens as the male organ and the style and stigma as the female part. He also described the role of pollination.

Subjects: Science and Mathematics.

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