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The aliveness of plants : the Darwins at the dawn of plant science / by Peter Ayres.

By: Ayres, P. G. (Peter G.).
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London : Pickering & Chatto, c2008Description: xiii, 227 p. : ill., ports.ISBN: 9781851969708 (alk. paper); 1851969705 (alk. paper).Subject(s): Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882 | Darwin, Francis, Sir, 1848-1925 | Darwin, Erasmus, 1731-1802 | Botanists -- Great Britain -- Biography | Botany -- Great Britain -- History -- 18th century | Botany -- Great Britain -- History -- 19th centuryDDC classification: 580.92241
Contents:
Acknowledgements -- List of tables -- List of figures -- Green threads across the ages : a brief perspective on the Darwins' botany -- The fortunes of the Darwins -- The misfortunes of botany -- Erasmus Darwin's vision of the future : phytologia -- Charles Darwin's evolutionary period -- Charles Darwin's physiological period -- Charles Darwin, Frances Darwin and differences with von Sachs -- Francis Darwin, Cambridge and plant physiology -- Francis Darwin, family and his father's memory -- Fortune's favourites? -- Where did the green threads lead? The botanical legacy -- Notes -- Works cited -- Index.
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Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
QK26 .A97 2008 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001939446

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Acknowledgements -- List of tables -- List of figures -- 1. Green threads across the ages : a brief perspective on the Darwins' botany -- 2. The fortunes of the Darwins -- 3. The misfortunes of botany -- 4. Erasmus Darwin's vision of the future : phytologia -- 5. Charles Darwin's evolutionary period -- 6. Charles Darwin's physiological period -- 7. Charles Darwin, Frances Darwin and differences with von Sachs -- 8. Francis Darwin, Cambridge and plant physiology -- 9. Francis Darwin, family and his father's memory -- 10. Fortune's favourites? -- 11. Where did the green threads lead? The botanical legacy -- Notes -- Works cited -- Index.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

This carefully researched book full of enlightening historical detail focuses on the role botany played in the work of Erasmus, Charles, and Francis Darwin. Charles's grandfather, Erasmus, wrote The Botanic Garden (including the lyrical The Loves of Plants, 1791); and Phytologia (1800), "an enthralling cocktail of half-truths, good sense and inspiration." Ayres (Oxford) distinguishes between Charles's early "evolutionary period" and his later "physiological period," which resulted in his The Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants (1875). This work, undertaken with Francis's help, considers the causes of phototropism and "circumnutation." Francis studied botany at Cambridge, but is better known for work devoted to his father's life, including publishing his letters. However, Francis made important contributions to plant physiology, especially growth curvatures. He invented a potometer to measure water loss in plants, and a porometer (developed with Dorothea Pertz) to measure the size of plant stomata. Francis wrote the influential The Elements of Botany (1895), and was largely responsible for the development of plant physiology studies at Cambridge. In assessing the Darwins' collective importance for the advancement of botany, Ayres concludes that "they made a unique contribution to the dawning of plant science, helping botany become independent, free of medicine...." Summing Up: Essential. All readers interested in the history of botany/the Darwins. J. W. Dauben CUNY Herbert H. Lehman College

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