Chiovenda was born in Rome in 1871 to a family originating from rural Piedmont. He was educated at the Collegio Rosmini in Stresa and Domodossola College before graduating in Natural Sciences from the University of Rome in 1898. He frequently collaborated with Pietro Romualdo Pirotta, under whom he had studied in Rome, including on an unfinished catalogue of flora in Rome and on The flora of the colony of Eritrea.
He initially specialised in the flora of the Val d'Ossola valley in Piedmont, where his family had ancestral roots. He collected around 20,000 plant samples, now preserved at the department of Experimental Evolutionary Biology at Bologna University.
At the turn of the century he was appointed the first curator of the Colonial Herbarium (Erbario coloniale) in Rome, founded to preserve the plant species brought back by scientific expeditions to Italian colonies in East Africa in the preceding years. In 1909 he travelled extensively in Eritrea and Ethiopia to study indigenous plants, which made him a global authority on the flora of East Africa.
In 1915 he moved with the Colonial Herbarium from Rome to Florence,
From 1926 to 1929 he was professor of Botany at the University of Catania.
In 1930 he was appointed dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Modena. In 1935 he moved to Bologna, where he headed the Botanical Institute and managed the Botanical Garden.
In 1941 Chiovenda died of cerebral thrombosis in Bologna. He was buried in the cemetery of the village of Premosello in Piedmont.
- Flora della Colonia Eritrea 1903 (in collaboration with Romualdo Pirotta)
- Flora delle Alpi Lepontine occidentali (1904–1935)
- Flora somala Roma, Sindacato italiano arti grafiche, 1929
- Pteridophyta Catania, Tip. Giandolfo, 1929
- Il papiro in Italia : un interessante problema di biologia, sistematica e fitogeografia Forli, Tip. Valbonesi, 1931
- Ib Friis, Olof Ryding (2001). "The identity of Polyscias lepidota Chiov. (1940) A name missing in Vol. 3 of the Flora of Ethiopia by Ib Friis". Biodiversity Research in the Horn of Africa Region: Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on the Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea at the Carlsberg Academy, Copenhagen, August 25–27, 1999. Kgl. Danske Videnskabernes Selskab. pp. 439 pages. ISBN 87-7876-246-4.
- Giacomini, Valerio. "CHIOVENDA, Emilio". Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani - Volume 25 (1981). Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
- Aluka. "Chiovenda, Emilio (1871–1941)". African Plants. Ithaka Harbors, Inc. Retrieved 2008-05-11.
- "Emilio Chiovenda". La storia dell'Orto Botanico Catanese (in Italian). Università degli Studi di Catania. 2004-07-10. Retrieved 2008-05-11.
- "Emilio Chiovenda". Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna (in Italian). Sistema Museale di Ateneo. Retrieved 2008-05-11.
- "Author Query for 'Chiov.'". International Plant Names Index.
Data related to Emilio Chiovenda at Wikispecies
- Works by or about Emilio Chiovenda at Internet Archive
- Dipartimento di Biologia Evoluzionistica Sperimentale. "Erbario dell'Università" (PDF) (in Italian). Retrieved 2008-05-11.
- "Descrizione dell'Erbario". Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna (in Italian). Sistema Museale di Ateneo. Retrieved 2008-05-11.
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