Willis Linn Jepson

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Willis Linn Jepson
Willis Linn Jepson00.jpg
Jepson in 1911
Born(1867-08-19)August 19, 1867
DiedNovember 7, 1946(1946-11-07) (aged 79)
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkley
OccupationBotanist, conservationist
Notable work
A Flora of California (1909)

Willis Linn Jepson (August 19, 1867 – November 7, 1946) was an early California botanist, conservationist, and writer.


Born at Little Oak Ranch near Vacaville, California, Jepson became interested in botany as a boy and explored the adjacent San Francisco Bay Area. He came in contact with various botanists before he entered college.

In 1892, at the age of 25, Jepson, John Muir, and Warren Olney formed the Sierra Club, in Olney's San Francisco law office. From 1895 to 1898, Jepson served as instructor[clarification needed] and carried on research at the University of California, Berkeley, Cornell University (1895), and Harvard University (1896–1897). He received his Ph.D. at Berkeley in 1899.

He was made assistant professor in 1899, associate professor in 1911, professor in 1918, and professor emeritus in 1937. He was a Professor of Botany at UC Berkeley for four decades, thus his entire career was identified with the University of California. Jepson founded the California Botanical Society and served as its president from 1913 to 1915; he also worked as councilor of the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.


His specimens, extensive archives and fieldbooks are housed in the University and Jepson Herbaria libraries and archives. Most of his specimens from California have been databased in the Jepson eFlora and form a multi-institutional Consortium of California Herbaria database.

Many honors and commemorations came to Jepson during his lifetime and as well as posthumously


Jepson wrote at least 11 books during his lifetime, with two focused on California's trees. His works include A Flora of California (1909), The Trees of California (1909); and the major A Manual of the Flowering Plants of California (1925), predecessor of The Jepson Manual (1993).

  • A Flora of California – Volume I. San Francisco: Cunningham, Curtiss & Welch. 1909a. OCLC 755039635.
  • A Flora of California – Volume II. San Francisco: Cunningham, Curtiss & Welch. 1909b. OCLC 755039635.




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