Rise of Systematic Botany—Lindley's place—early history—services to Horticulture—Professor at University College, London—The Gardeners' Chronicle—Theory and Practice of Horticulture—The Vegetable Kingdom—Orchids—his interest in Fossil Botany—personal characteristics.
The first half of the 19th century is a brilliant epoch in the history of botanical discovery. During that period the foundations of plant-anatomy were laid afresh with the cell as the builders' material. The discovery of sarcode or protoplasm electrified the scientific world and excited the attention of the philosophical novelist—as readers of Middlemarch may remember. The nucleus, the only and true deus ex machina of many a modern botanist, was recognised as an organ of the cell.
Biochemistry came into being and, with Liebig as foster-parent, grew into modern Physiology. The natural system of classification proclaimed by Jussieu put to rout the old established Linnean system and the enunciation of the theory of Natural Selection brought the epoch to a dramatic close.
In the constructive work of this period British botanists played a distinguished part, and it was due preeminently to them that the transition from the old artificial system to the new natural system took place so speedily and completely.