Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Nehemiah Grew

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GREW, Nehemiah (1628-1711), the earliest vegetable anatomist and physiologist of England, was the son of Obadiah Grew, nonconformist divine of St Michael's, Coventry. At the Restoration, his father being ejected from his living, he went to a foreign university, where he took the degree of doctor of physic. Returning to Coventry, his native town, he commenced a series of observations on the physiology of plants, communicating the results to the Royal Society, by which they were so well received that he was induced to remove to London (1672). There he acquired an extensive practice as a physician. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society on the recommendation of Bishop Wilkins, and in 1677 he succeeded Mr Oldenburg as secretary, in which capacity he prepared a descriptive catalogue of the rarities preserved at Gresham College (1681). The following year appeared his celebrated work on the Anatomy of Plants, in which he displayed great originality as an investigator, especially in pointing out the sex-differences of plants. Linnæus named a genus of plants Grewia (natural family of Tiliaceæ) in his honour.

He edited the Philosophical Transactions, begun in 1665, and wrote treatises on Sea-Water made Fresh, which passed through several editions, and on the Nature and Use of the Salt contain'd in Epsom and such other Waters (1697), a rendering of the Tractatus de Salis, &c., Usu (1695). Besides the Anatomy of Plants, he wrote a Comparative Anatomy of Trunks (1675), and an Idea of a Phytological History (1673), as well as Cosmologia Sacra (1701). There is also a Disputatio de liquore nervoso by him (1672), and Recueil d'expériences . . . . sur le combat qui procède du mélange des corps (1679).


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