Willis Linn Jepson
Willis Linn Jepson (August 19, 1867 in Little Oak Ranch, near Vacaville, California – November 7, 1946 in Berkeley, California) is known as California's most distinguished early botanist. He graduated from the University of California in 1889, and become a UC professor in botany, a botanical writer, and a conservationist.
From 1895 to 1898 Jepson served as instructor, and carried on research at UC Berkeley, Cornell (1895) and Harvard (1896-97). He received his Ph.D. degree at University of California, 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 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).
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 The Jepson Online Interchange for California Floristics − Jepson eFlora (TJM2) and form a multi-institutional Consortium of California Herbaria database.
Honors and achievements
Many honors came to Willis Linn Jepson during his long and productive lifetime, and commemorations afterwards. They include:
- Founded the California Botanical Society, and was president of it from 1913–15
- Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences (1918–29), American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Royal Society of Arts, and American Geographical Society
- Delegate to the International Agricultural Congress at Liége (1906), and to the International Botanical Congresses at Cambridge (1930) and Amsterdam (1935)
- Councilor of the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
- UC Berkeley colleagues honored him with the Faculty Research Lectureship in 1934
- Foreign member of the Société Linnéenne de Lyon and the National Botanical Society of Czechoslovakia
- Life member of the American Genetic Association; and member of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists, Botanical Society of America, Society of Foresters, Washington Academy of Sciences, Western Society of Naturalists, Phi Beta Kappa, and Sigma Xi.
- The Saxifragaceae genus Jepsonia, and host of plant species botanical and common names, are named after him in commemoration.
- The Jepson Herbarium at the University of California, Berkeley is named for him.
- The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California is named in his honor.
- Willis Jepson Middle School is named after him in Vacaville, California.
- Jepson Herbarium website - Obituary of Willis Jepson
- California Botanical Society website - the society was founded by Jepson.