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 Willis Linn Jepson

Willis Linn Jepson

Vacaville, Solano County, California, USA
Death 7 Nov 1946 (aged 79)
Berkeley, Alameda County, California, USA
Burial Vacaville, Solano County, California, USA
Plot Old section I18
Memorial ID 15427790 · View Source
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Willis Linn Jepson (born August 18, 1867 at Little Oak Ranch, Vacaville, CA; died November 7, 1946, Berkeley, California) is regarded as California's most eminent early botanist.

He developed a keen interest in plants at a young age and began collecting and cataloguing specimens even before he entered college. He encountered botanists along the way who encouraged his interest in the science. He came to develop a deep interest not only in botany but also the preservation and protection of native habitats. While still a young man he helped establish both the Sierra Club and the Save-the-Redwoods League, two of the earliest and most important organizations formed to preserve native habitats.

He graduated from the University of California in 1889 and became an assistant professor of botany. He worked as an instructor and researcher at Berkeley, Cornell and Harvard. He later made professor and then, in 1937, professor emeritus. His association with the University of California, therefore, spanned 40 years.

Jepson's extensive research led him to author several guides and reference manuals on the flora of California. One of those, his Manual of the Flowering Plants of California, is considered the most outstanding early work on regional flora in this country. It has been reprinted many times over the years in its original form and has also been updated to include hundreds of new species identified in the decades since its original publication in 1925.

Many honors came to Jepson during his lifetime in recognition of the tremendous body of work he contributed to the field of botany. Some of those honors include:

• President of the California Botanical Society, 1913-15

• Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Royal Society of Arts, and American Geographical Society

• Delegate to the International Agricultural Congress at Liége, the International Botanical Congresses at Cambridge and Amsterdam

• Honored member of numerous other organizations, including the American Genetic Association, 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 genus Jepsonia and numerous plant species are named for him.

• The Jepson Herbarium at the University of California is named for him. The herbarium is part of a collection that houses over two million plant specimens and is one of the largest collections in North America.

• The Solano County chapter of the California Native Plant Society is named the Willis L. Jepson Chapter.

• The Jepson Prairie Reserve in Solano County is named for him. This important natural reserve protects one of the best few remaining vernal pool habitats, which were once common in the western United States (and few other places in the world) but are now highly endangered, as are the flora and fauna found there.

Family Members


Profound Scholar
Inspiring Teacher
Indefatigable Botanical Explorer
Born in Vaca Valley
Aug. 19, 1867
Died in Berkeley
Nov. 7, 1946
In the Ordered Beauty of Nature
He Found Enduring Communion

  • Created by: Rosemary
  • Added: 20 Aug 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 15427790
  • Rosemary
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Willis Linn Jepson (18 Aug 1867–7 Nov 1946), Find A Grave Memorial no. 15427790, citing Vacaville-Elmira Cemetery, Vacaville, Solano County, California, USA ; Maintained by Rosemary (contributor 46541750) .