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Peter Raven, after receiving the Addison Emery Verrill Award

Peter Hamilton Raven (born June 13, 1936) is a botanist and environmentalist, notable as the longtime director of the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Raven was born in China to American parents. An uncle of his father's was, for a time, one of the wealthiest Americans in China, but was later jailed in a banking scandal. That incident and Japanese aggression in China led the Raven family to return to San Francisco in the late 1930s.

After becoming a member of the California Academy of Sciences while still a youth, Raven went on to graduate with a BS from University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Botany from the University of California, Los Angeles.

After teaching at Stanford University, Raven went on to become Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden in 1971, a position he has held ever since (Raven recently announced his plans to retire in 2011, to coincide with his 75th birthday and his 40th year at the Garden). In 2006, his position was renamed President and Director. Raven is also a tenured faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis where he is the Engelmann Professor of Botany.

Raven is possibly best known for his important work Coevolution of Insects and Plants published in the journal Evolution in 1964 which he coauthored with Paul R. Ehrlich. Since then he has authored numerous scientific and popular papers, many on the evening primrose family, Onagraceae. Raven is also an author of the widely used textbook Biology of Plants, now in its seventh edition, coauthored with Ray F. Evert and Susan E. Eichhorn (both of University of Wisconsin, Madison).

He is a frequent speaker on the need for biodiversity and species conservation.

Raven is currently writing his memoirs, assisted by Andrew Szanton.

The American Society of Plant Taxonomists established in 2000 the Peter Raven Award in his honor to be conferred to authors with outstanding contributions to plant taxonomy and "for exceptional efforts at outreach to non-scientists".

Raven's honors and accomplishments include the following:


  1. ^ "Author Query". International Plant Names Index.  

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Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

American botanist (born 1936)

Standard form: P.H.Raven

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