Peter H. Raven

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Peter H. Raven FMLS[1]
Peter Raven smiling, October 16, 2007.jpg
Peter Raven, after receiving the Addison Emery Verrill Award
Born June 13, 1936
Shanghai, China
Nationality American
Fields Botany, Evolutionary biology, Biodiversity
Institutions Stanford University,
Missouri Botanical Garden
Washington University in St. Louis
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley,
University of California, Los Angeles
Notable awards International Prize for Biology (1986)
Volvo Environment Prize (1992)
Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement (1994)
International Cosmos Prize (2003)

Peter Hamilton Raven FMLS (born June 13, 1936) is a botanist and environmentalist, notable as the longtime director, now President Emeritus, of the Missouri Botanical Garden.[2]

Early life

On June 13, 1936, Raven was born in Shanghai, China to American parents. An uncle of his father's was, for a time, one of the wealthiest Americans in China, but was later jailed in a banking scandal. That incident and Japanese aggression in China led the Raven family to return to San Francisco, CA in the late 1930s.

After becoming a member of the California Academy of Sciences while still a youth, Raven went on to graduate with a BSc in Biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1957 and a Ph.D. in botany from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1960.


After teaching at Stanford University, Raven went on to become Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden in 1971. In 2006, his position was renamed President and Director. Raven announced his plans to retire in 2011, to coincide with his 75th birthday and his 40th year at the Garden. Peter Wyse Jackson was appointed as Raven's successor at the Missouri Botanical Garden in September 2010.

Raven is possibly best known for his work Butterflies and Plants: A Study in Coevolution published in the journal Evolution in 1964 which he coauthored with Paul R. Ehrlich. Since then he has authored numerous scientific and popular papers, many on the evening primrose family, Onagraceae. Raven is also an author of the widely used textbook Biology of Plants, now in its eighth edition, coauthored with Ray F. Evert and Susan E. Eichhorn (both of University of Wisconsin, Madison).

He is a frequent speaker on the need for biodiversity and species conservation.

In 2000, the American Society of Plant Taxonomists established the Peter Raven Award in his honor to be conferred to authors with outstanding contributions to plant taxonomy and "for exceptional efforts at outreach to non-scientists".

He serves on the advisory council of CRDF Global. He served on the board of trustees for Science Service, now known as Society for Science & the Public, from 1993-1996.

Awards and honors

  • Honorary Doctor of Science Harvard University May 29, 2014


  1. "Royal Patrons and Honorary Fellows". The Linnean Society of London. Retrieved 2014-07-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Staff writer (2014). "The 2010 William L. Brown Award". William L. Brown Center for Plant Genetic Resources. Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved 31 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 Peter H. Raven -- Curriculum Vita, retrieved 8 September 2010<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. St. Louis Walk of Fame. "St. Louis Walk of Fame Inductees". Retrieved 25 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Royal Patrons and Honorary Fellows". Retrieved 10 Jan 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Author Query for 'P.H.Raven', International Plant Names Index Invalid |mode=CS1 (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


Paul R. Ehrlich and Peter H. Raven (1964), "Butterflies and Plants: A Study in Coevolution", Evolution, 18: 586-608.

Peter H. Raven and Helena Curtis (1970), Biology of Plants, New York: Worth Publishing. [Early presentation of five-kingdom system.]

External links