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Sunday, 18 March 2012

John Bartram

John Bartram (1699-1777) developed an early interest in botany while growing up on his father's farm.

In 1728 he purchased land at Kingsessing, near Philadelphia, which he developed into the first botanical garden in the American colonies and where he conducted the first hybridization experiments in America.

He made frequent collection expeditions, travelling north to Lake Ontario, then to Florida and the Ohio River in search of plants and natural history specimens for his own botanic garden and for collectors at home and abroad.

He and his botanist son William Bartram are credited with identifying and introducing into cultivation more than 200 of America's native plants.

By 1765, Bartram’s international reputation earned him the notice of King George III, who honoured him as Royal Botanist, a position he held until his death in 1777.

A naturalist as well as a botanist, Bartram described and collected zoological specimens, proposed geological surveys of North American mineral sites, and argued that fossils be investigated scientifically, rather than exploited as curiosities.

A Quaker, Bartram demonstrated his opposition to slavery by freeing his slaves; his outspoken religious opinions caused him to be disowned by his coreligionists in the Society of Friends.

Bartramia, a genus of mosses, was named in his honor

The Historic Bartram Garden is America's oldest living botanical garden.

Source Europress Family Encyclopedia 1999

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