Charles Edwin Bessey

Charles Edwin Bessey (21 May 1845 – 25 February 1915) was an American botanist.

Charles Edwin Bessey
Charles Edwin Bessey.jpg
Born21 May 1845
Died25 February 1915(1915-02-25) (aged 69)
Alma materMichigan Agricultural College
Known forBessey system
AwardsNebraska Hall of Fame
Scientific career
InstitutionsIowa Agricultural College
Doctoral advisorAsa Gray
Author abbrev. (botany)Bessey


He was born at Milton, Wayne County, Ohio. He graduated in 1869 at the Michigan Agricultural College. Bessey also studied at Harvard University under Asa Gray, in 1872 and in 1875–76. He was professor of botany at the Iowa Agricultural College, today known as Iowa State University from 1870 to 1884. In 1884, he was appointed professor of botany at the University of Nebraska and became head dean there in 1909. He also served as Chancellor of the University of Nebraska from 1888 to 1891 and again from 1899 to 1900.[1] He served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1911. Bessey's son, Ernst Bessey was Professor of Mycology and Botany at Michigan State University.

Selected publicationsEdit


  • The Geography of Iowa (Cincinnati, 1878)
  • Botany for High Schools and Colleges (New York, 1880)
  • revision of McNab's Botany (1881)
  • The Essentials of Botany (1884)
  • Elementary Botany (1904)
  • Plant Migration Studies (1905)
  • Synopsis of Plant Phyla (1907)
  • Outlines of Plant Phyla (1909)
  • written with others, New Elementary Agriculture (ninth edition, 1911)


  • Bessey, Charles (September 1897). "Phylogeny and Taxonomy of the Angiosperms". Botanical Gazette. XXIV (3): 145–178. doi:10.1086/327577. PMID 17816268. S2CID 88268600. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  • Charles E. Bessey (1915). "The phylogenetic taxonomy of flowering plants". Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. Missouri Botanical Garden Press. 2 (1/2): 109–164. doi:10.2307/2990030. JSTOR 2990030.


His arrangement of flowering plants taxa, with focus on the evolutionary divergence of primitive forms, is considered by many as the system most likely to form the basis of a modern, comprehensive taxonomy of the plant kingdom.

In 1967, Iowa State University built a Plant Industry Building, which was named after Bessey. Today the building is used by departments in the biological sciences.

In 2009 he was inducted to the Nebraska Hall of Fame.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ RG05, Chancellor records Archived May 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, UNL Archives and Special Collections. Retrieved on July 10, 2009.
  2. ^ IPNI.  Bessey.


External linksEdit

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. Missing or empty |title= (help)