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A: Rosental, Basel, Basel-Stadt, Switzerland

Gaspard Bauhin Establishes Plant Classification Based upon General Morphology


In 1623 Physician Gaspard Bauhin (also Caspar Bauhin) published in Basel Pinax theatri botanici. . . sive index in Theophrasti Dioscoridis Plinii et botanicorum qui a secula scripserunt opera. Bauhin's work began the system of "natural" plant classification based upon general morphology, and established the first scientific system of nomenclature.  Bauhin discarded the alphabetical and other arbitrary systems used by earlier writers, insisting that any useful method of classification must be based on natural affinities. He grouped plants according to their genera, then, drawing from his own observations and the works of earlier authors, gave each species within a genus a descriptive name. He thus introduced an orderly system of binomial nomenclature, which—although the concept did not originate with him— marked a significant improvement over earlier schemes.

Hook & Norman, The Haskell F. Norman Library of Science and Medicine (1991) no. 139.

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