1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Grew, Nehemiah

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GREW, NEHEMIAH (1641–1712), English vegetable anatomist and physiologist, was the only son of Obadiah Grew (1607–1688), Nonconformist divine and vicar of St Michael’s, Coventry, and was born in Warwickshire in 1641. He graduated at Cambridge in 1661, and ten years later took the degree of M.D. at Leiden, his thesis being Disputatio medico-physica . . . de liquore nervoso. He began observations on the anatomy of plants in 1664, and in 1670 his essay, The Anatomy of Vegetables begun, was communicated to the Royal Society by Bishop Wilkins, on whose recommendation he was in the following year elected a fellow. In 1672, when the essay was published, he settled in London, and soon acquired an extensive practice as a physician. In 1673 he published his Idea of a Phytological History, which consisted of papers he had communicated to the Royal Society in the preceding year, and in 1677 he succeeded Henry Oldenburg as secretary of the society. He edited the Philosophical Transactions in 1678–1679, and in 1681 he published “by request” a descriptive catalogue of the rarities preserved at Gresham College, with which were printed some papers he had read to the Royal Society on the Comparative Anatomy of Stomachs and Guts. In 1682 appeared his great work on the Anatomy of Plants, which also was largely a collection of previous publications. It was divided into four books, Anatomy of Vegetables begun, Anatomy of Roots, Anatomy of Trunks and Anatomy of Leaves, Flowers, Fruits and Seeds, and was illustrated with eighty-two plates, while appended to it were seven papers mostly of a chemical character. Among his other publications were Sea-water made Fresh (1684), the Nature and Use of the Salt contained in Epsom and such other Waters (1697), which was a rendering of his Tractatus de salis . . . usu (1695), and Cosmologia sacra (1701). He died suddenly on the 25th of March 1712. Linnaeus named a genus of trees Grewia (nat. ord. Tiliaceae) in his honour.