Bessey system

Last updated

A system of plant taxonomy, the Bessey system was published by Charles Bessey in 1915. [1]



Bessey based his system on the tradition of de Candolle, Bentham and Hooker and Hallier. He was also influenced by Darwin and Wallace. He taught that taxonomy must be based on evolutionary principles. [2] Like Wettstein he placed the Ranales at the origin of Angiospermae.

He considered Spermatophyta as having a polyphyletic origin, being composed by three different phyla, of which he only treated Anthophyta (syn.: Angiosperms). In that he used the same names for the subclasses of both monocotyledons and dicotyledons, this is contrary to contemporary rules on plant nomenclature that require names to be unique. However Bessey actually used a qualifying hyphenation (Alternifoliae-Strobiloideae and Oppositifoliae-Strobiloideae), a distinction not always recognised in reference to this scheme. With some modifications, most modern classifications - for example, those of Cronquist (1981, 1983, 1988), Takhtajan (1969, 1980, 1983, 1991), Stebbins (1974), R. Dahlgren (1975, 1980, 1983; R. Dahlgren et al. 1981; R. Dahlgren and F. N. Rasmussen 1983; R. Dahlgren and K. Bremer 1985; G. Dahlgren 1989), and Thorne (1976, 1981, 1983, 1992) - follow the Bessey tradition. [3]




Related Research Articles

Dioscoreales Order of lilioid monocotyledonous flowering plants

The Dioscoreales are an order of monocotyledonous flowering plants in modern classification systems, such as the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group and the Angiosperm Phylogeny Web. Within the monocots Dioscoreales are grouped in the lilioid monocots where they are in a sister group relationship with the Pandanales. Of necessity the Dioscoreales contain the family Dioscoreaceae which includes the yam (Dioscorea) that is used as an important food source in many regions around the globe. Older systems tended to place all lilioid monocots with reticulate veined leaves in Dioscoreales. As currently circumscribed by phylogenetic analysis using combined morphology and molecular methods, Dioscreales contains many reticulate veined vines in Dioscoraceae, it also includes the myco-heterotrophic Burmanniaceae and the autotrophic Nartheciaceae. The order consists of three families, 22 genera and about 850 species.

Magnoliales Basal order of flowering plants

The Magnoliales are an order of flowering plants.


The Nymphaeales are an order of flowering plants, consisting of three families of aquatic plants, the Hydatellaceae, the Cabombaceae, and the Nymphaeaceae. It is one of the three orders of basal angiosperms, an early-diverging grade of flowering plants. At least 10 morphological characters unite the Nymphaeales. Molecular synapomorphies are also known.

Monocotyledon Important clade of flowering plants

Monocotyledons, commonly referred to as monocots, are grass and grass-like flowering plants (angiosperms), the seeds of which typically contain only one embryonic leaf, or cotyledon. They constitute one of the major groups into which the flowering plants have traditionally been divided, the rest of the flowering plants having two cotyledons and therefore classified as dicotyledons, or dicots.

<i>Austrobaileya</i> Species of plant

Austrobaileya is the sole genus consisting of a single species that constitutes the entire flowering plant family Austrobaileyaceae. The species Austrobaileya scandens grows naturally only in the Wet Tropics rainforests of northeastern Queensland, Australia.


Trimeniaceae is a family of flowering plants recognized by most taxonomists, at least for the past several decades. It is a small family of one genus, Trimenia, with eight known species of woody plants, bearing essential oils. The family is subtropical to tropical and found in Southeast Asia, eastern Australia and on several Pacific Islands.

One of the prime systems of plant taxonomy, the Engler system was devised by Adolf Engler (1844–1930), and is featured in two major taxonomic texts he authored or coauthored. His influence is reflected in the use of the terms "Engler School" and "Engler Era". Engler's starting point was that of Eichler who had been the first to use phylogenetic principles, although Engler himself did not think that his was.

A system of plant taxonomy, the Wettstein system recognised the following main groups, according to Richard Wettstein's Handbuch der Systematischen Botanik (1901–1924).

Eichler system System of plant taxonomy

A system of plant taxonomy, the Eichler system was the first phylogenetic (phyletic) or evolutionary system. It was developed by August W. Eichler (1839–1887), initially in his Blüthendiagramme (1875–1878) and then in successive editions of his Syllabus (1876–1890). After his death his colleague Adolf Engler (1844–1930) continued its development, and it became widely accepted.

The De Candolle system is a system of plant taxonomy by French (Swiss) botanist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle (1778−1841).


Lilianae is a botanical name for a superorder of flowering plants. Such a superorder of necessity includes the type family Liliaceae. Terminations at the rank of superorder are not standardized by the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN), although the suffix -anae has been proposed.

James L. Reveal American botanist

James Lauritz Reveal was a U.S. botanist best known for his contributions to the genus Eriogonum and for his work on suprageneric names. His website, at, also presents material on plant taxonomy including the Reveal system. He published extensively on North American flora, was a member of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, and was one of the authors of the APG II and APG III classifications.

Charles Edwin Bessey

Charles Edwin Bessey was an American botanist.

<i>Die Natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien</i> German textbook on plant systematics, initially published 1887–1915

Die Natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien (1887–1915) by Adolf Engler (1844–1930) and Karl Anton Prantl is a complete revision of plant families down to generic level and often even further. As such it forms part of the Engler system of plant taxonomy.

Robert Folger Thorne American botanist

Dr. Robert F. Thorne was an American botanist. He was Taxonomist and Curator Emeritus at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and Professor Emeritus at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. His research has contributed to the understanding of the evolution of flowering plants.

The Strobiloideae are an obsolete taxonomic name, a subclass of both Monocotyledons and Dicotyledons proposed by Charles Bessey in 1915 in his taxonomic classification of plants. In this sense by not being unique it breaks the rules of botanical nomenclature as currently used, however Bessey actually used a qualifying hyphenation, a distinction not always recognised in reference to this scheme.

Taxonomy of Liliaceae Classification of the lily family Liliaceae

The taxonomy of Liliaceae has had a complex history since the first description of this flowering plant family in the mid-eighteenth century. Originally, the Liliaceae or Lily family were defined as having a "calix" (perianth) of six equal-coloured parts, six stamens, a single style, and a superior, three-chambered (trilocular) ovary turning into a capsule fruit at maturity. The taxonomic circumscription of the family Liliaceae progressively expanded until it became the largest plant family and also extremely diverse, being somewhat arbitrarily defined as all species of plants with six tepals and a superior ovary. It eventually came to encompass about 300 genera and 4,500 species, and was thus a "catch-all" and hence paraphyletic taxon. Only since the more modern taxonomic systems developed by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG) and based on phylogenetic principles, has it been possible to identify the many separate taxonomic groupings within the original family and redistribute them, leaving a relatively small core as the modern family Liliaceae, with fifteen genera and 600 species.


BurmannialesMart. was an order of monocotyledons, subsequently discontinued.

Coronariae Historical term for group of flowering plants, including lilies

Coronariae is a term used historically to refer to a group of flowering plants, generally including the lilies (Liliaceae), and later replaced by the order Liliales. First used in the 17th century by John Ray, it referred to flowers used to insert in garlands. Coronariae soon came to be associated with Liliaceae in the Linnaean system. The term was abandoned at the end of the 19th century, being replaced with Liliiflorae and then Liliales.


  1. Bessey 1915.
    • Bessey, Charles (September 1897). "Phylogeny and Taxonomy of the Angiosperms". Botanical Gazette. XXIV (3): 145–178. doi:10.1086/327577. PMID   17816268 . Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  2. Zomlefer, W. B. (1994):Guide to flowering plant families