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An English naturalist, who wrote the book “Historia Generalis Plantarum” and introduced the word ‘species’, was:
A. Theophrastus
B. John Ray
C. Cuvier
D. Lamarck

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Hint: The book ‘Historia Generalis Plantarum’ was published in three volumes. First volume was published in 1686, second volume in 1688 and third volume in 1704. To our surprise, this book has information regarding 18,500 plant species.

Complete answer:
The book ‘Historia Generalis Plantarum’ was a book that contained information about 18,500 plant species. This book was written by the English naturalist John Ray. He published the important works on botany, zoology and natural theology. The classification of plants in Historia Plantarum was an important step towards modern taxonomy. Also, he was the first to attempt a biological definition of the concept of species.

Therefore, the correct answer is option b- John Ray.

Additional information: John Ray gave the fundamental principles of plant classification. He classified the plants into cryptogams, monocotyledons and dicotyledons in his book “Catalogus Plantarum Angliae” in 1670 and “Methodus Plantarum nova” in 1682.
Ray was the first person to give a biological definition of species, in his book. He described species as:
“…no sure criterion for describing species has occurred to me than the distinguishing features that perpetuate themselves in propagation from seed. Thus, no matter what variations occur in the individuals or the species, if they spring from the seed of one and the same plant, they are accidental variations and not such as to distinguish a species. Animals likewise that differ specifically preserve their distinct species permanently; one species never springs from the seed of another nor vice versa”.
According to John Ray, cryptogams included the plants that reproduce by spores, monocotyledons have the flowering plants whose seeds typically contain one embryonic leaf and the flowering plants whose seeds have two embryonic leaves were classified as dicotyledons.
In zoology, Ray contributed the development of most natural pre-Linnaean classification of animal kingdom. He was appointed as Fellow of Royal society in 1667. Also, his final work was an investigation of insects which was published as “Historia Insectorum”.

Note: Theophrastus also contributed work in the field of botany. He wrote the books ‘On the Causes of Plants’ and ‘On the History of Plants’. In these books, he gave the basic concept of morphology, classification and natural history of plants.
Last updated date: 04th Jun 2023
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