He published his first papers on fossil plants in 1908 and continued his studies on the Jurassic flora of Yorkshire and plant morphology , much of it based on his own field collections rather than on museum collections. His most important and seminal paper, on the Caytoniales , appeared in 1925 . This was a major contribution to one of the problems of fossil botany , the origin of flowering plants , though his ideas on morphology provoked a great deal of comment. His interests developed not only in the structure of fossil plants where his methodology of analysis was innovative, but also in the wider issues of evolutionary changes and the organization of the plant body so that his contribution to ‘new’ plant morphology is central. He became a historian of botanical ideas and played an important part in establishing the history of science option in the Natural History tripos . A modest, retiring and kindly man, he nevertheless achieved great distinction and in the Darwin-Wallace centenary ( 1958 ) he was judged to be among the 20 biologists of the world who had made the most outstanding contribution to knowledge of evolution and he was presented with a commemmorative medal . He was Pres. of the Linnean Society , of the botanical section of the British Association , of the British Soc. for the History of Science . He was awarded the Linnean Soc. gold medal in 1906 , Sc.D. Cambridge 1926 , and elected F.R.S. 1934 .
He m. Edith Gertrude Torrance in 1923 and they had 1 s. and 1 dau. He d. in Cambridge 30 June 1962 .
Dr Brynley Francis Roberts, Aberystwyth
Published date: 2001