First Book of Indian Botany (Cambridge Library Collection – Botany and Horticulture)
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Well known among his contemporaries for his unrivalled knowledge of aberrant plants, Daniel Oliver (1830–1916) ran the herbarium at Kew Gardens and held the chair of botany at University College London, for which he was recommended by Charles Darwin. Although Oliver never visited India, his expertise in Indian botany grew considerably after he worked with an enormous number of dried specimens rescued from the cellars of the East India Company. In this book, first published in 1869, he sets out the basics of botanical study in India for the absolute beginner. It includes instruction on the anatomy of simple plants, lessons in collection and dissection, and explanations of botany’s often dense terminology. Annotated diagrams appear throughout, in both microscopic and macroscopic views. Rigorous and carefully structured, Oliver’s book remains an excellent resource for novice botanists and students in the history of science.