Hooker, Sir Joseph 1817-1911
Sir Joseph Hooker took over the Directorship of Kew Gardens from his father Sir William Hooker in 1865. He was one of the chief proponents of the principle of evolution as promulgated by Charles Darwin. In fact, Hooker was Darwin's very close friend and confidant. In 1909 at the centenary celebration of the birth of Charles Darwin, Sir Joseph Hooker, aged 92, was present at Cambridge University to do homage to his celebrated friend.
Hooker's travels made him one of the great plant explorers. He explored in the Himalaya Mountains in 1847-1851, and made visits to Mount Lebanon, Allas Mountains in Africa and the Rocky Mountains in the United States. The botanical results in terms of specimens collected and descriptions of new forms were unexcelled.
Hooker was responsible for the massive work Flora of British India (1897). He also published two major works, Index Kewnesis and Genera Plantarum. He also was responsible for Student's Flora (1884). Hooker collaborated with George Bentham (1800-1884) in publishing Genera Plantarum (1862) which gave a complete description in Latin of all known genera of flowering plants.
Bentham and Hooker were authors of the Handbook of British Flora (1866). This handbook still provides the most up-to-date accounts describing the Flora of Great Britain.