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Armen Takhtajan

armen takhtajan system of classification, armen takhtajan
Armen Leonovich Takhtajan or Takhtajian Armenian: Արմեն Լևոնի Թախտաջյան; Russian: Армен Леонович Тахтаджян; surname also transliterated Takhtadjan, Takhtadzhi︠a︡n or Takhtadzhian, pronounced TAHK-tuh-jahn June 10, 1910 – November 13, 2009, was a Soviet-Armenian botanist, one of the most important figures in 20th century plant evolution and systematics and biogeography His other interests included morphology of flowering plants, paleobotany, and the flora of the Caucasus He was born in Shusha He was one of the most influential taxonomists of the latter twentieth century


  • 1 Life
    • 11 Family
    • 12 Early life and education
  • 2 Work
    • 21 Takhtajan system
  • 3 Selected publications
  • 4 Legacy
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References
  • 7 Bibliography
    • 71 Works by Takhtajan
  • 8 External links



Armen Takhtajan's father left and grandfather right, appr 1900

Takhtajan was born in Shusha, Nagorno-Karabakh, Russia on 10 June 1910, to a family of Armenian intellectuals His grandfather Meliksan Takhtadzhyan Petrovich had been born in Trabzon, Ottoman Empire but was educated in Italy, on the island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni, an Armenian enclave and spoke many languages and worked as a journalist He died in Paris in 1930 His father, Leon Meliksanovich Takhtadzhyan 1884–1950, was born in Batumi, Georgia was educated as an agronomist at Leipzig University Graduating in 1906, he worked on farms in France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and made a special study of sheep farming He became proficient in German, French, English, Russian, Georgian and Azerbaijani Arriving in Shusha in 1908, then a centre of sheep farming in the Caucasus, looking for work, Leon was forced to teach German at the local Realschule attached to the Armenian seminary, due to lack of opportunities in his chosen field There he met and married Gazarbekyan Sergeevna Gerseliya 1887–1974, Armen Takhtajan's mother, a native of Susha, in 1909

Early life and education

The Takhtajans had three children, Armen 1910–2009, Nellie 1914–1994 and Nora 1918–1965 In 1918 the family were forced to flee to northern Armenia because of the pogroms Throughout his childhood, Armen showed a keen interest in natural history, travelling with his father Armen attended school in Tbilisi in nearby Georgia, initially at Unified Labor School number 42 former Mantashevskom commercial school There he came under the influence of one of his teachers, Alexander Konstantinovich Makaev Makashvili 1896–1962, who had previously taught agriculture at Tbilisi State University, and had produced a dictionary of botanical names in Georgian, Russian and Latin Makaev would take Armen on botanical excursions, teaching him to identify plants from Sosnowski and Grossheim's "Determinants of plant life in the vicinity of Tbilisi" 1920 In 1928 he completed secondary school and travelled to Leningrad There he volunteered at the biology school at Leningrad University and attended lectures by Vladimir Leontyevich Komarov 1869–1945 on plant morphology In 1929 he began his studies in biology at Yerevan State University in Yerevan, Armenia, which he completed in 1931 He then returned to Tbilisi, enrolling in the All-Union Institute of Subtropical Crops

In 1932 after completing his course at Tbilisi he worked for a while as a laboratory assistant at Sukhumi, Georgia, at the subtropical branch of the All-Union Institute of Applied Botany and New Crops now the Institute of Plant Industry, before returning to Yerevan In Yerevan he took a position as researcher at the Natural History Museum of Armenia, and then at the Herbarium of the Armenian branch of the Institute of Biology, Soviet Academy of Sciences, and began teaching at Yerevan University in 1936, while completing his Master's thesis

He died in Saint Petersburg on November 13, 2009, at the age of 99, in 2009, having just completed his most important work, Flowering Plants


From 1938-48 he headed a Department at the Yerevan State University, and from 1944-48 was director of the Botanical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR, and Professor of the Leningrad State University Takhtajan was a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences since 1971 He was also the academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR, the president of the Soviet All-Union Botanical Society 1973 and the International Association for Plant Taxonomy 1975, member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Literature 1971, the German Academy of Naturalists "Leopoldina" 1972 and other scientific societies

While at the Komarov Botanical Institute in Leningrad in 1940 Takhtajan developed his classification scheme for flowering plants, which emphasized phylogenetic relationships between plants His system did not become known to botanists in the West until after 1950, and in the late 1950s he began a correspondence and collaboration with the prominent American botanist Arthur Cronquist, whose plant classification scheme was heavily influenced by his collaboration with Takhtajan and other botanists at Komarov

He is chiefly famous as the author of works on the origins of flowering plants and paleobotany, developing a new classification system of higher plants He worked on the "Flora of Armenia" vol 1–6, 1954–73 and "Fossil flowering plants of the USSR "v 1, 1974 books Takhtajan also developed a system of floristic regionsTakhtajan, Crovello and Cronquist, 1986

For many years restrictions were placed on his work because of his opposition to the official line on genetics promoted by Lysenko In 1993 he worked for a while at the New York Botanical Garden

Takhtajan system

Main article: Takhtajan system

The "Takhtajan system" of flowering plant classification treats flowering plants as a division phylum, Magnoliophyta, with two classes, Magnoliopsida dicots and Liliopsida monocots These two classes are subdivided into subclasses, and then superorders, orders, and families The Takhtajan system is similar to the Cronquist system, but with somewhat greater complexity at the higher levels He favors smaller orders and families, to allow character and evolutionary relationships to be more easily grasped The Takhtajan classification system remains influential; it is used, for example, by the Montréal Botanical Garden

Selected publications

  • 1948 Морфологическая эволюция покрытосеменных
  • 1969 Flowering plants: origin and dispersal Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh
  • 2009 Flowering Plants Springer, New York


Takhtajan has been considered one of the leading botanists of his time

The standard author abbreviation Takht is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name

See also

  • Takhtajan system


  1. ^ a b c Velgorskaya 2007
  2. ^ a b c Morin 2009
  3. ^ a b Takhtajan 2009
  4. ^ Raven 2009
  5. ^ a b c Stevens 1993
  6. ^ Reviewed by Herbert F Copeland, 1961
  7. ^ Review by Lincoln Constance
  8. ^ Takhtajan 1966
  9. ^ IPNI  Takht 


  • Morin, Nancy R July–December 2009 "Armen Takhtajan 1910–2009" PDF Flora of North America Newsletter 23 2: 23–24 Retrieved 3 January 2016 
  • Raven, Peter H 2009 Foreword pp ix–xi Retrieved 3 January 2016  in Takhtajan 2009
  • Stevens, William K April 6, 1993 "Armen Takhtajan; Botanist Plans Survey of World's Flowers" The New York Times Retrieved 28 December 2015 
  • Velgorskaya, T V 2007 Armen Leonovich Takhtajan: Biographical sketch  in Takhtajan 2007

Works by Takhtajan

  • Takhtajan, A June 1964 "The Taxa of the Higher Plants above the Rank of Order" Taxon 13 5: 160–164 doi:102307/1216134 JSTOR 102307/1216134 
  • Cronquist, Arthur; Takhtajan, Armen; Zimmermann, Walter April 1966 "On the Higher Taxa of Embryobionta" Taxon 15 4: 129–134 doi:102307/1217531 JSTOR 1217531 
  • Takhtajan, Armen Leonovich 1966 "Lilianae" Система и филогения цветкорых растений Sistema i filogeniia tsvetkovykh rastenii in Russian trans C Jeffrey, as Flowering plants: Origin and dispersal, Edinburgh : Oliver and Boyd, 1969 Moscow: Наука p 473 ISBN 0-05-001715-2 
  • Takhtajan, Armen 1980 "Outline of the classification of flowering plants Magnoliophya" Botanical Review 46 3: 225–359 doi:101007/BF02861558 
  • Takhtajan, Armen 1991 Evolutionary trends in flowering plants New York: Columbia Univ Press ISBN 9780231073288 
  • Takhtajan, AL 2007 Грани эволюции: Статьи по теории эволюции 1943—2006 Grani ėvoli︠u︡t︠s︡ii: statʹi po teorii ėvoli︠u︡t︠s︡ii 1943--2006 St Petersburg: Nauka ISBN 978-5-02-026273-7 Retrieved 3 January 2016 
  • Takhtajan, Armen Leonovich 2009 Flowering Plants New York: Springer ISBN 1-4020-9609-7 Retrieved 7 January 2014 
  • A Takhtajan 1997 Diversity and Classification of Flowering Plants
  • A Takhtajan, ThJ Crovello and A Cronquist 1986 Floristic Regions of the World

External links

  • Takhtajian in Great Soviet Encyclopedia
  • The parting with Armen Takhtajan Photo-report on the site of the Komarov Botanical Institute in Russian
  • Ivan Gabrielyan, Johanna Kovar-Eder Obituary Nov 16 2010

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