Camerarius, Rudolph Jakob 1665-1721

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Camerarius was a German botanist, traveler, and professor.

He was born in Tubingen, Germany. At 33 he became Professor and Director of the Botanic Garden. In 1691-1694 he published his extraordinary researches on the sexuality of plants. He demonstrated that "the substance carried by pollen is indispensable for the production of seeds capable of germination." Previously Grew and others had likened the pollen "granules" to the male element, but Camerarius went further; by prolonged observations and repeated experiments he showed that the cooperation of pollen is necessary for the production of perfect seeds. It was thus demonstrated that in plants, as in animals, there is the egg and the fertilizing agent, and that "fertilization is indispensable for formation of an embryo."

He reported that when he removed the male flowers of Ricinus and Zea Mays he obtained no seeds. From this he concluded that no ovules could ever develop into seeds without first being fertilized by the pollen which is borne in the stamens. "It therefore follows," he said, "that the stamens are the male sexual organs in which that powder which is the most su(b) tile part of the plant, is secreted and collected."

Sachs stated that his De Sexu Plantarium epistola (August 25, 1694), "contains more profound observations than were made by any other botanist before Koelreuter."