James Edward Smith

Sir James Edward Smith ( born December 2, 1759 in Norwich, † March 17, 1828 ) was a British botanist and founder of the Linnean Society of London. Its official botanical author abbreviation is " Sm ".

Life and work

Smith began his study of medicine in 1777 at Edinburgh University, where he also heard Botany from 1781 with John Hope ( 1725-1786 ). He worked from 1783 as a doctor in London, where he continued his botanical studies at the university. There his teacher John Hunter and William Pitcairn (1711-1791) were.

Smith founded the Linnaean Society with Joseph Banks; he bought Linnaeus's herbarium, including his library, manuscripts and other collections. Smith was elected the first President of the Linnaean Society of London and had that position until his death. He gained many contributions to the systematic botany, especially to the English Flora, and also made a botanical journey through Holland, France and Italy. From 1796, he lived again in Norwich.

To him, the genus Smithia Aiton of the plant family Leguminosae ( Fabaceae ) was named in honor.


  • With John Abbot: The Natural History of the Rarer Lepidopterous Insects of Georgia, London 1797
  • Compendium FLORAE Britannicæ, London 1800
  • Exotic Botany: Consisting of colored figures and scientific descriptions of seeking new, beautiful, or rare plants as are worthy of cultivation in the gardens of Britain ... The figures by J Sowerby 2 volumes, London 1804
  • Remarks on the generic characters of the decandrous papilionaceous plants of New Holland, London 1804
  • An Introduction to physiological and systematical botany, London 1807
  • A Review of the modern state of Botany, with a Particular reference to the natural system of Linnæus and Jussieu. From the second volume of the supplement to the Encyclopædia Britannica, Edinburgh 1817 (? )
  • Considerations respecting Cambridge, more particularly Relating to its Botanical professorship, London 1818
  • A Grammar of Botany, illustrative of artificial, as well as natural classification; with at explanation of Jussieu 's system, London 1821
  • A Selection of the Correspondence of Linnaeus and other naturalists. 2 vols, London 1821 Volume 1
  • A Compendium of the English Flora, London 1829
  • The English Flora, 5 volumes, London 1824-36
  • English Botany, or colored figures of British Plants. ..., The figures by J. Sowerby, ( 2nd edition, 12 volumes ), London 1832-1846