SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
John Ray. Portrait of the English naturalist and plant taxonomist John Ray (1627- 1705). Ray went to Cambridge University at 16 and taught there at Trinity College after his graduation. When he left he was already a keen naturalist, and from 1662 was supported by his wealthy ex-pupil and fellow naturalist, F. Willughby. Ray's taxonomic system emphasised the division of flowering plants into the monocotyledon and dicotyledon groups. It is the basic system still used today. His major three volume work on botany, Historia Plantarum, covered 18,600 species. He saw the species as the fundamental unit of taxonomy.
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