Grew, Nehemiah

Grew, Nehemiah,

1641–1712, English botanist and physician. Grew practiced medicine in London and made important microscopic studies of plants. He made what were probably the first observations of sex in plants. His most noted book is his Anatomy of Plants (1682), in which are included a number of papers on chemistry. He also wrote Anatomy of Vegetables Begun (1672) and Comparative Anatomy of Trunks (1675).

Grew, Nehemiah


Born Sept. 26. 1641. in Atherstone; died Mar. 25, 1712, in London. English botanist and physician; secretary of the Royal Society (1677). Together with M. Malpighi, Grew was the cofounder of the science of plant anatomy. In his Anatomy of Plants, (1682), Grew described the microscopic structure of roots, stems, leaves, fruits, and seeds. He advanced the idea of the unity of microscopic structure of the various organs, which he reduced to three elements: “vacuoles” (cells), fibers, and tubules. He introduced the terms “tissue” and “parenchyma” and described the stomata. He recognized flowers as the organs of sexual reproduction in plants.


Lunkevich, V. V. Ot Geraklita do Darvina: Ocherki po istorii biologii. 2nd ed., vol. 2. Moscow. 1960.
Arber, A. “Nehemiah Grew.” In Makers of British Botany. Cambridge. 1913. Pages 44–64.
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