John Lindley

John Lindley

John Lindley (February 8, 1799 - November 1, 1865) was an English botanist.

Lindley was born at Catton, near Norwich, where his father, George Lindley, author of "A Guide to the Orchard and Kitchen Garden", owned a nursery garden. He was educated at what was then Norwich Grammar School. His first publication, in 1819, a translation of the "Analyse du fruit" of L. C. M. Richard, was followed in 1820 by an original "Monographia Rosarum", with descriptions of new species, and drawings executed by himself, and in 1821 by "Monographia Digitalium", and by "Observations on Pomaceae", contributed to the Linnean Society. Shortly afterwards he went to London, where he was engaged by J. C. Loudon to write the descriptive portion of the "Encyclopaedia of Plants".

In his labours on this undertaking, which was completed in 1829, and by arduous studying the pattern of characters, he became convinced of the superiority of the "natural" system of Antoine Laurent de Jussieu, i.e. a system that reflected the great plan of nature. This had to be distinguished from the "artificial" system of Linnaeus followed in the "Encyclopaedia"; the conviction found expression in "A Synopsis of British Flora, arranged according to the Natural Order" (1829) and in "An Introduction to the Natural System of Botany" (1830).

In 1829 Lindley, who since 1822 had been assistant secretary to the Horticultural Society, was appointed to the chair of botany in University College, London, which he retained until 1860; he lectured also on botany from 1831 at the Royal Institution, and from 1836 at the Chelsea Physic Garden. He began the flower show of the Society in the later 1830s. During his professoriate he wrote many scientific and popular works, besides contributing largely to the "Botanical Register", of which he was editor for many years, and to "The Gardeners' Chronicle", in which he had charge of the horticultural department from 1841. He was a fellow of the Royal, Linnean and Geological Societies. He died at his house in Bedford Park near Turnham Green.

His son Nathaniel Lindley became a judge and was elevated as Baron Lindley.


Besides those already mentioned, his works include :
*"An Outline of the First Principles of Horticulture" (1832)
*"An Outline of the Structure and Physiology of Plants" (1832)
*"Nixus Plantarum" (1833)
*"The Genera and Species of Orchidaceous Plants" (1835)cite book
last = Lindley
first = John
title = The Genera and Species of Orchidaceous Plants
origdate = 1835
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-03
publisher = Ridgways, Piccadilly
*"A Natural System of Botany" (1836)cite book
last = Lindley
first = John
title = A Systematic View of the Organisation, Natural Affinities, and Geographical Distribution,of the Whole Vegetable Kingdom; Together With the Uses of the Most Important Species in Medicine,the Arts, and Rural or Domestic Economy
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-11
year = 1836
publisher = Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green and Longman
*"The Fossil Flora of Great Britain" (with William Hutton, 1831-1837)
*"Flora Medica" (1838)
*"Theory of Horticulture" (1840)
*"The Vegetable Kingdom" (1846)
*"Folia Orchidacea" (1852)
*"Descriptive Botany" (1858).
* "Ladies' Botany" (6th ed. 1865). [ Ladies' Botany; or, A familiar introduction to the study of the natural system of botany. London: H. G. Bohn, 1865.] In 1841 he co-founded "The Gardeners' Chronicle" alongside Joseph Paxton, Charles Wentworth Dilke and William Bradbury and became its first editor.

He is one of the fathers of orchid classification and plant systematics in general.



External links

* [ John Lindley] John Lindley's work on orchids
* [ Books by John Lindley at the Biodiversity Heritage Library]

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