Asa Gray

(1810—1888) American botanist

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An American botanist and taxonomist who did much to popularize the study of botany and to expound, but also criticize, Darwin's evolutionary theory. In 1842, he was appointed Fisher Professor of Natural History at Harvard University and founded the Gray Herbarium and a library. He was an original member of the National Academy of Sciences and in 1872 was elected president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1859 he published a memoir on the relationships between the floras of Japan and North America, one of the earliest studies of discontinuous plant distribution. His Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States, the first edition of which was published in 1848, was probably his most enduring work, although it was his Statistics of the Flora of the Northern United States (1856–7) that established his academic reputation. He collaborated with John Torrey to produce the 2-volume Flora of North America (1838–43) and published his Synoptical Flora in 1878.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry — Ecology and Conservation.

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