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.
1.2 Early life and education
3 Selected publications
5 See also
7.1 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
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
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
Vladimir Leontyevich Komarov (1869–1945) on plant morphology. In
1929 he began his studies in biology at
Yerevan State University
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
Yerevan University in 1936, while completing his Master's
He died in
Saint Petersburg on November 13, 2009, at the age of 99, in
2009, having just completed his most important work, Flowering
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 U.S.
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
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,
Takhtajan also developed a system of floristic
regions.(Takhtajan, 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" of flowering plant classification treats
flowering plants as a division (phylum), Magnoliophyta, with two
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
system remains influential; it is used, for example, by the Montréal
1948. Морфологическая эволюция
покрытосеменных. [Translated from Russian to German by
Werner Höppner, as Die evolution der angiospermae 1959, Fischer,
1969. Flowering plants: origin and dispersal. Oliver and Boyd,
Edinburgh [Translated from Russian by C Jeffrey]
2009. Flowering Plants. Springer, New York
Takhtajan has been considered one of the leading botanists of his
The standard author abbreviation Takht. is used to indicate this
person as the author when citing a botanical name.
^ a b c Velgorskaya 2007.
^ a b c Morin 2009.
^ a b
^ Raven 2009.
^ a b c Stevens 1993.
^ Reviewed by Herbert F. Copeland, 1961
^ Review by Lincoln Constance
^ IPNI. Takht.
Morin, Nancy R (July–December 2009). "Armen
(PDF). Flora of North America Newsletter. 23 (2): 23–24. Retrieved 3
Raven, Peter H. (2009). Foreword. pp. ix–xi. Retrieved 3
January 2016. in
Stevens, William K. (April 6, 1993). "Armen Takhtajan;
Survey of World's Flowers". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 December
Velgorskaya, T. V. (2007). Armen Leonovich Takhtajan: Biographical
Works by Takhtajan
Takhtajan, A. (June 1964). "The Taxa of the Higher Plants above the
Rank of Order". Taxon. 13 (5): 160–164. doi:10.2307/1216134.
Cronquist, Arthur; Takhtajan, Armen; Zimmermann, Walter (April 1966).
"On the Higher Taxa of Embryobionta". Taxon. 15 (4): 129–134.
doi:10.2307/1217531. JSTOR 1217531.
Takhtajan, Armen Leonovich (1966). "Lilianae". Система и
филогения цветкорых растений (Sistema i
filogeniia tsvetkovykh rastenii) [Systema et Phylogemia
Magnoliophytorum] (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.
Takhtajan, Armen (1991). Evolutionary trends in flowering plants. New
York: Columbia Univ. Press. ISBN 9780231073288.
Takhtajan, A.L. (2007). Грани эволюции: Статьи по
теории эволюции. 1943—2006 (Grani
ėvoli︠u︡t︠s︡ii: statʹi po teorii ėvoli︠u︡t︠s︡ii.
1943--2006 [Edge evolution: Articles on the theory of evolution.
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.
Takhtajan (1997) Diversity and Classification of Flowering Plants
A. Takhtajan, Th.J. Crovello and A. Cronquist (1986). Floristic
Regions of the World.
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
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Armen Takhtajan.
ISNI: 0000 0001 0876 6682
BNF: cb124421628 (data)