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Biographical entry Bentham, George (1800 - 1884)


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    Eucalyptus caesia Benth. (1867), 23 January 2013

22 September 1800
Stoke, Hampshire, England
10 September 1884
London, England
Author and Botanist


George Bentham was the author of the seven-volume Flora Australiensis (1863-1878). The work on this mammoth project was conducted at the Herbarium at Kew, England, where he had lodged his large private collection in 1854. In this work, he catalogued and described more than 7000 species, including 89 taxa of Eucalyptus. Some of these names are still considered valid. Although he never visited Australia, this work is considered as a major contribution to Australian botany. Together with Sir Joseph Hooker, he created the Genera Plantarum, which was completed in 1883 after a 21-year collaboration. This work, now known as the Bentham-Hooker classification system, was adopted as the system used in the Herbarium at Kew Gardens. Numerous species are named in his honour.


Born Stoke, Hampshire, England, 22 September 1800. Died 10 September 1884. CMG 1878. Educated Faculté de Theologie, Mantauban. Managed his father's estate near Montpellier for some years; went to London and met several important botanists 1825; later moved to England, where he assisted his uncle, Jeremy Bentham, edited his father's papers on naval administration and then entered Lincoln's Inn; called to the Bar 1831, but never practised; produced "Labiatarum General et Species" 1832-36; lived in Pontrilas in Herefordshire 1835-54; donated his herbarium and library to Kew 1854 and moved to London to work on them; wrote "Flora Australiensis" 1863-78. Fellow, Royal Society 1862; Clarke Medal, Royal Society of New South Wales 1879. President, Linnean Society 1861-74.


Award - Elected Fellow of the Linnean Society
1829 - 1840
Career position - Honorary Secretary of the Royal Horticultural Society
1861 - 1874
Career position - President of the Linnean Society
Taxonomy event - Eucalyptus pachyloma Benth. (1866)
Taxonomy event - Eucalyptus annulata Benth. (1866)
Taxonomy event - Eucalyptus caesia Benth. (1867)
Taxonomy event - Eucalyptus peltata Benth. (1867)
Taxonomy event - Eucalyptus loxophleba Benth. (1867)
Taxonomy event - Eucalyptus leptopoda Benth. (1867)
Taxonomy event - Eucalyptus benthamii Maiden & Cambage was named for Bentham

Related Awards

Related Corporate Bodies

Archival resources

National Herbarium, Melbourne

  • George Bentham - Records, 1858 - 1877, MSS M4; National Herbarium, Melbourne. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


  • Bentham, George, Labiatarum genera et species: A description of the genera and species of plants of the order labiatae, with their general history, characters, affinities, and geographical distribution (London: J. Ridgway and sons, 1836). Details
  • Bentham, George, Flora hongkongensis: a description of the flowering plants and ferns of the island of Hongkong (London: L. Reeve, 1861), 482 pp. Details
  • Bentham, George and Hooker, Joseph Dalton, Genera plantarum ad exemplaria imprimis in Herbariis Kewensibus servata definata (London: Reeve & Co., 1862). Details
  • Bentham, George and Mueller, Ferdinand, Baron von, Flora Australiensis (London: Lovell-Reeve, 1863). Details
  • Wrigley, J. and Fagg, M., Eucalypts: A Celebration (Crows Nest Australia: Allen & Unwin, 2010), 344 pp. Details

Book Sections

Journal Articles

  • Blake, S. T., 'Some Pioneers in Plant Exploration Classification', Proceedings of the Linnean Society of Queensland, lxvi (1) (1954), 1-19. Details
  • Britten, J., 'Review of 'George Bentham' by B. D. Jackson', Journal of Botany, British and Foreign, 44 (1906). Details
  • Daley, Charles, 'The History of Flora Australiensis', Victorian Naturalist, 47 (November) (1930), 113-115. Details
  • George, Alex, 'Another example of illustrating an unillustrated work: Bentham's Flora australiensis', Archives of Natural History, 33 (2) (2006), 351-3. Details
  • Hooker, J. D., 'George Bentham, FRS', Annals of Botany, 12 (1898). Details
  • Hooker, J. D., 'Review of 'George Bentham'', Kew Bulletin (1906), 106. Details
  • Jackson, B. D., 'Obituary and Bibliography [Bentham George]', Proceedings of the Linnean Society (London) (1884), 90. Details
  • Lucas, A. M., 'Assistance at a Distance: George Bentham, Ferdinand von Mueller and the Production of the Flora australiensis', Archives of Natural History, 30 (2003), 255-281. Details
  • Maiden, J.H., 'A Century of Botanical Endeavour in South Australia', Australasian Association for Advancement of Science, xi (1907), 158-199. Details
  • Maiden, J.H., 'Records of Australian Botanists - (a) General, (b) New South Wales', Journal and Proceedings of The Royal Society of New South Wales, xlii (1908), 60-132. Details
  • Stafleu, F. A., 'The Flora Australiensis', Taxonomist, 16 (1967). Details
  • Stevens, P.F., 'J.D. Hooker, George Bentham, Asa Gray and Ferdinand Mueller on Species Limits in Theory and Practice: a Mid-Nineteenth-Century Debate and its Repercussions', Historical Records of Australian Science, 11 (3) (1997), 335-344. Details


See also

  • Hall, Norman, Botanists of the Eucalypts: short biographies of people who have named eucalypts, whose names have been given to species or who have collected type material (Melbourne: CSIRO, 1978), 101 pp. Details

Digital resources

Eucalyptus caesia Benth. (1867)
23 January 2013
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne


McCarthy, G.J., Moje, C.R. and Walsh, N.