GREENE, Edward Lee

From Islapedia

GREENE, Edward Lee (1843-1915), professor of botany at the University of California from 1885-1895, and later at the Smithsonian.

“1885. Edward Lee Greene. Greene sailed from San Diego in April, 1885, and visited the Coronados, Todos Santos, Cedros, and Guadalupe islands, and San Quintin on the mainland, whence he returned to San Diego about the middle of May. The results of this botanical trip were published by him in several papers, adding 15 species to the flora of Guadalupe Island, seven of which were described as new.” [Nelson 1921]

In 1886, Greene was the first botanist to collect plants on San Miguel Island, and according to Ralph Hoffmann (SBMNH Museum Leaflet May 1930), “the first two plants he saw even before he landed, were new to science.”

Greene was also one of the first to collect plants on Santa Cruz Island where he found 321 species, 20 of which were new to science. He classified and named the Santa Cruz Island ironwood (Lyonothamnus aspleniifolius) based upon a specimen sent to him by Barclay Hazard. According to Jepson (1927), Greene stayed at the Main Ranch on Santa Cruz Island, often botanizing until after dark, and the Caire family often feared he had lost his way on the unfamiliar terrain. He declined the loan of a horse, and traversed the island on foot.

Fennel, an invasive European native, was established on Santa Cruz Island as early as 1886 when E. L. Green reported that this species was "thoroughly established on hillsides near the landing of Prisoners' Harbor.

Greene collected many species unknown to science on Santa Cruz and San Miguel islands. Two island endemics, the live-forever (Dudleya greenei) and the island rock rose (Helianthemum greenei) were named in his honor.

Greene collected on:

— — — — — —

[original in SCIF archives; signed "Regards of E. L. Greene"]

[original in SCIF archives; signed "Compliments of the author"]

[original in SCIF archives]

[original in SCIF archives]

Island Collections~
Anacapa Island E. L. Greene SBBG January 1893 SBBG-65447 Atriplex lentiformis subsp. breweri Plants
Anacapa Island E. L. Greene SBBG January 1893 SBBG-79246 Castilleja lanata subsp. hololeuca Plants


9/1886 NMNH plants

San Miguel Island E. L. Greene UC 1886 UC-124457 Camissonia cheiranthifolia cheiranthifolia Plants
San Miguel Island E. L. Greene UC April 1, 1886 UC-87275 Isocoma menziesii sedoides Plants
~ trip ~
San Miguel Island E. L. Greene UC September 20, 1886 UC-78540 Cryptantha clevelandii Plants


7/1886 SBBG plants

7+8/1886 NMNH plants

7+8/1886 UC Berkeley plants

Santa Cruz Island E. L. Greene UC August 13, 1886 UC-173313 Typha domingensis Plants
Santa Cruz Island E. L. Greene CAS September 4, 1886 UC-88643 Eriogonum rubescens Plants
~ trip ~
Santa Cruz Island E. L. Greene UC March 15, 1891 Jeps-12108 Solanum umbelliferum Plants

In the News~

August 18, 1886 [SBDI]: “Professor Greene, a botanist of some fame, has just arrived from Santa Cruz Island and is registered at the Morris House.”

August 25, 1886 [SBDI]: “Professor Greene, the biologist, and W. H. Mills, left this morning on the sloop Ocean King for San Miguel.”

August 31, 1886 [SBDI]: “From scientific notes gathered by our President, we learn that Rev. E. L. Greene, during this month has visited Santa Cruz Island and has found about two dozen species of plants new to science. He is now continuing his collections upon the island of San Miguel.”

September 27, 1886 [SBDP]: “Mrs. Bingham exhibited several specimens of plants recently obtained by Rev. E. L. Greene on Santa Cruz and San Miguel islands. Among them, leaves and blossoms of a tree found on Santa Cruz, first introduced to science by Mr. Hazard of this city in 1884 and described by Mr. Greene. He named it Lyonothamnus asplenifolium. It has much divided, shining, evergreen leaves, and a white blossom, grows to the height of 40 feet, and must be ornamental. The only other plant in this genus was collected on Santa Catalina Island by W. S. Lyon, for whom the genus is named. It belongs to the order Rosacae and comes near the Spirea. Another plant interesting to botanists, was collected by Nuttall in 1835, on an island in San Diego Bay. These specimens were imperfect, and the plant has never since been found until Mr. Greene rediscovered it on San Miguel Island a few weeks ago. Since Nuttall’s time the island has disappeared from the Bay of San Diego…”

September 27, 1886 [SBDI]: “Natural History Society… Mrs. Bingham exhibited specimens of plants collected recently by Rev. E. L. Greene on the islands of Santa Cruz and San Miguel. There were about twenty species, most of them new. The one which most especially interested those present, was the tree found on Santa Cruz Island. Specimens were first collected in 1884 by Mr. Hazard of this city, and described by Mr. Greene…”

April 9, 1887 [SBDI]: “Natural History Society Report… An interesting fact was mentioned, that Prof. Greene of California University, had named a new genus of plants, belonging to the Channel Islands, in honor of Mr. Barclay Hazard of this city, in consideration of the assistance rendered during the botanical excursions on Mare Island during last year. It was the same gentleman who introduced the tree Lyonothamnus asplenifolia to science, a tree known only from Santa Cruz Island.”

July 31, 1887 [SBMP]: “A paper was read from Pittonia, a publication used by Prof. E. L. Greene of the State University. This gives an account of Mr. Greene’s visit to San Miguel Island last summer and a list of 120 plants, the result of two weeks’ botanizing on that island. Much of the flora is peculiar to the island, and he gives reasons for supposing that it is indigenous rather than introduced. The annual species and many of the early flowered perennials were too far gone for identification, and he thinks many more new species might be found earlier in the season.”

March 8, 1890 [SBDI]: “The Natural History Society met Saturday afternoon, March 1. The corresponding secretary handed the treasury a receipt for $2.50—amount paid by the society for Pittonia, a botanical publication edited by Prof. E. L. Greene of the State University at Berkeley.”