Nathaniel Lord Britton

Nathaniel Lord Britton (born 15 January 1859 in New Dorp, Staten Iceland, † June 26, 1934 in New York) was an American geologist and botanist. Its official botanical author abbreviation is " Britton ". His wife Elizabeth Gertrude Britton (1858-1934), née Knight, was also a botanist.


Britton, son of Alexander Hamilton Jasper Britton and Harriet Lord Turner, should the will of the parents to study theology, found himself, however, but from early youth attracted to natural history. He studied at the Columbia University School of Mines and then taught geology and botany at the University of Columbia. After his studies he joined the Torrey Botanical Club, whose member he remained for life. On August 27, 1885 he married the Bryologin Elizabeth Gertrude Knight. Your honeymoon they took to Europe in 1888 and during a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens ( Kew ) is thrilled his wife for the idea they suggested the Torrey Club after return, also to create a botanical garden in New York. The couple launched a successful campaign and so both left Columbia in 1895 when Britton first director of the newly created New York Botanical Garden was. Until 1929 he remained at his post. Along with him were Andrew Carnegie, J. Pierpont Morgan and Cornelius Vanderbilt II in the first Supervisory Board of the Botanic Garden. Sponsors found Britton by naming newly discovered plant species after them. Britton was also co-founder of Staten Iceland Institute of Arts & Sciences. He has written several botanical books and worked with Joseph Nelson Rose in the study of North American flora and especially the cacti.


The following plant species are named after him:

  • Brittonastrum Briq. of the family Lamiaceae ( Lamiaceae)
  • Brittonella Rusby from the family of Malpighiengewächse ( Malpighiaceae )
  • Brittonia Hort. and Brittonrosea Speg. from the cactus family ( Cactaceae )

Furthermore, the magazine Brittonia is named after him.

Writings (selection )

  • Manual of the flora of the Northern States and Canada. 1901 doi: 10.5962/bhl.title.62418.
  • North American Trees. 1908 doi: 10.5962/bhl.title.55765. - With Joseph Adolf Shafer
  • An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British possessions: from Newfoundland to the parallel of the southern boundary of Virginia, and from the Atlantic Ocean westward to the 102d meridian. 3 volumes, 1913 doi: 10.5962/bhl.title.940. - Addison Brown.
  • Flora of Bermuda. 1918 doi: 10.5962/bhl.title.1352.
  • The Flora of the American Virgin Islands. In: Brooklyn Botanic Garden Memoirs. Volume 1, 1918, pp. 19-118 doi: 10.5962/bhl.title.46288.
  • The Cactaceae. 4 volumes, 1919-1923. - With Joseph Nelson Rose
  • The Bahama flora. 1920 doi: 10.5962/bhl.title.54084. - With Charles Frederick Millspaugh

Further Reading

  • Peter Philip Mickulas: Britton 's botanical empire: The New York Botanical Garden and American botany, 1888-1929. Volume 94 of Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden, New York Botanical Garden, 2007 ISBN 9,780,893,274,795th