Some Biogeographers, Evolutionists and Ecologists:
Chrono-Biographical Sketches

Rydberg, Per Axel (Sweden-United States 1860-1931)
botany, floristics

Photo courtesy Archives of the
New York Botanical Garden

Although not a man who attracted much attention as a theorizer, Rydberg was an energetic field biologist and meticulous (if somewhat radical) taxonomist whose efforts made him perhaps the foremost expert on Rocky Mountain and Great Plains floras. These days his most cited works are his Flora of the Rocky Mountains and Adjacent Plains and Flora of the Prairies and Plains of Central North America, but he also produced several other memorable "floras," as well as numerous reports and taxonomic reviews--in all, in fact, he is reputed to have described some seventeen hundred new species. For his later works Rydberg contributed all his own illustrations.

Life Chronology

--born in Odh, Vestergötland, Sweden, on 6 July 1860.
--1882: moves to America
--1884-1890: teaches math and natural science at Luther Academy, Wahoo, Nebraska
--1891: B.S., University of Nebraska
--1892-1893: botanical exploration in western Nebraska and South Dakota
--1895: M.A., University of Nebraska; field trip to Montana
--1895-1896: collecting expedition to Colorado mountains
--1896: elected to the Torrey Botanical Club
--1897: collecting expedition to Montana
--1897: publishes his A Report Upon the Grasses and Forage Plants of the Rocky Mountain Region, with C. L. Shear
--1898: Ph.D., Columbia University
--1899: joins staff of the New York Botanical Garden as assistant curator
--1899-1915: a director of Upsala College
--1900: publishes his Catalogue of the Flora of Montana and the Yellowstone National Park
--1901: made a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
--1905, 1911: field trips to Utah
--1906: publishes his Flora of Colorado
--1908-1931: curator of the herbarium, New York Botanical Garden
--1917: publishes his Flora of the Rocky Mountains and Adjacent Plains...
--1925, 1926, 1929: field trips to the Allegheny Mountains and the Great Plains
--dies at New York City, on 25 July 1931.
--1932: posthumously publishes his Flora of the Prairies and Plains of Central North America, with M. A. Howe

For Additional Information, See:

--National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 26 (1937).
--Dictionary of American Biography, Vol. 16 (1935).
--Per Axel Rydberg: A Biography, Bibliography, and List of His Taxa (1990).
--Taxonomic Literature, Vol. 4 (1983).

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Copyright 2005 by Charles H. Smith. All rights reserved.

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