Also found in: Medical, Wikipedia.
Born Apr. 7, 1727; died Aug. 3, 1806. French botanist. Member of the French Academy of Sciences (1759).
Adanson was one of the founders of the natural system of plant classification, a variant of which he propounded in Families of Plants. In his search for the logical foundations of classification, he drew up 65 artificial systems, each one of which was based on a particular characteristic; comparing these systems, Adanson gauged the degree of proximity between related groups of plants, or taxons, thus becoming one of the pioneers in the application of mathematical methods to biology. Adanson believed in the possibility of transforming species. After 1772 he became infatuated with philosophy and with the Utopian idea of a single-handed compilation of a multivolume universal encyclopedia.