Britton, Nathaniel L.

Britton, Nathaniel L. (Lord)

(1859–1934) botanist; born in New Dorp, Staten Island, N.Y. Originally a geologist, he was an assistant in geology at Columbia University (1879–86), then taught geology, botany, and ecology there (1886–90). He became a professor of botany at Columbia (1891–96), then resigned to found and direct the New York Botanical Garden (1896–1929), with his wife Elizabeth Gertrude Knight Britton, as its curator of mosses. A rigid taxonomist, he collected and classified plants of the U.S.A. and the West Indies, and wrote and illustrated volumes on flowers, trees, and cacti. He is honored in the names of many plant genera and species; Mount Britton in Luquillo National Park, Puerto Rico, was also named for him.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.