The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIV. The Victorian Age, Part Two.

VIII. The Literature of Science

§ 27. Nehemiah Grew

Nehemiah Grew studied at Pembroke hall, Cambridge, and afterwards took his doctor’s degree at Leyden. He published numerous treatises dealing with the anatomy of vegetables, and with the comparative anatomy of trunks, roots, and so forth, illustrated by admirable, if somewhat diagrammatic, plates. Although essentially an anatomist, he made certain investigations into plant physiology and suggested many more. Perhaps his most interesting contribution to botany, however, was his discovery that flowering plants, like animals, have male and female sexes. It seems odd to reflect that this discovery is only about 250 years old. When Grew began to work, the study of botany was in a very neglected condition—the old herbal had ceased to interest, and, with its contemporary, the bestiary, was disappearing from current use, while the work of some of Grew’s contemporaries, notably Robert Morison and John Ray, hastened their disappearance. Of these two systematists, Ray, on the whole, was the more successful. His classification of plants obtained in England until the later half of the eighteenth century, when it was gradually replaced by the Linnaean method of classification.