Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Johnson, Charles (1791-1880)

JOHNSON, CHARLES (1791–1880), botanist, was born in London 5 Oct. 1791. He was intended by his father for an assayer, but his bent for natural history proved too strong. He began to lecture on botany in 1819, and thenceforward devoted himself entirely to that science. In 1830 he received the appointment of lecturer on botany in Guy's Hospital upon the founding of its medical school. Here he delivered forty-four courses of lectures, resigning his post in 1873. He was the first to introduce living specimens, which came mostly from his own garden, for demonstration. In 1832 he re-edited Sir James Smith's ‘English Botany.’ He also condensed the text and rearranged the contents of Sowerby's ‘English Botany,’ 2nd edit. in 12 vols. 1832–46. His other publications were: ‘Ferns of Great Britain,’ 1855, ‘British Poisonous Plants,’ 1856, and ‘Grasses of Great Britain,’ 1861. He retained his faculties to the last, and gave a course of botanical lectures in 1878, when aged 87. He died at Camberwell, 21 Sept. 1880.

[Journ. Bot. 1880, xviii. 351.]

B. D. J.