Jepson, Willis Linn

Jepson, Willis Linn

(1867–1946) botanist; born near Vacaville, Calif. He spent his career at the University of California: Berkeley (1899–1937), which now holds his extensive notes, library, and herbarium. Known as the "dean of California botanists," he wrote over 200 scientific papers and eight books, including the classic A Manual of the Flowering Plants of California (1925) and the uncompleted A Flora of California (published 1909–43). He was a taxonomic conservative whose writings emphasized using the living plant as a model and making detailed field observations. An outspoken conservationist, he founded the California Botanical Society (1913) and the Save the Redwoods League (1918). His dedication and erratic emotionalism caused him to be either admired or resented by his associates. A genus of flowering herbaceous plants, Jepsonia, is named for him.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.