Bessey system

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]


  • phylum Angiospermae
    1 classis Alternifoliae syn.:Monocotyledoneae
    2 classis Oppositifoliae syn.: Dicotyledoneae




  1. Bessey 1915.
  2. Zomlefer, W. B. (1994):Guide to flowering plant families


Note: This is a selected list of the more influential systems. There are many other systems, for instance a review of earlier systems, published by Lindley in his 1853 edition, and Dahlgren (1982). Examples include the works of Scopoli, Batsch and Grisebach.

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