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Botany in China

Nature volume 139, pages 319320 (20 February 1937) | Download Citation



IN a paper presented at the annual conference of the International Faculty of Sciences, held in London on January 29-30, Prof. H. H. Hu described the progress of botanical sciences in China. Botany in China is a very modern study, having a history of only a quarter of a century, though, of course, the medicinal study of herbs in ancient China is well known. At present, taxonomy takes pride of place, which is natural in a country so rich in botanical resources. During the past fifteen years, six institutes have been established which are carrying out important exploration work; and this has resulted in a rich harvest, including many rare specimens. Prof. Hu himself is attached to the Fan Memorial Institute of Biology which was established in 1928, and is wholly devoted to the taxonomic study of the flora and fauna of China. The botanical section carries out exploration in Yunnan, during which many new genera have been discovered. Monographic studies of ferns and flowering plant families are also being made, which are published in the bulletins of the Institute. In connexion with systematic botany in China, three botanic gardens have been established. The other branches of botany are still at the pioneer Valuable work is being done on freshwater and marine algae, mycology and morphology. We would, however, like to see further recruits to the small band of Chinese botanists studying plant physiology, ecology and genetics, in order that the whole subject may become more balanced, since all the subdivisions of the science are so interrelated that satisfactory progress in the whole is not easy without equal progress in each part.

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