Nebraska Authors

Frederic Edward Clements

Born 1874-09-26 Lincoln, NE (USA)

Died 1945-07-26
Santa Barbara, CA (USA)

Lincoln, NE (USA)
Wyuka Cemetery

Frederic Clements, born in Lincoln, Nebraska, gained fame as a botanist and as one of the founders of the science of ecology. He was a leading figure in Charles E. Bessey's Botanical Seminar, "Sem. Bot.," which functioned independently from the University of Nebraska's Botany Department. Clements was a close friend and associate of both Bessey and of Roscoe Pound, while Pound continued to pursue botanical interests. The importance of the circle is described in Ronald C. Tobey, Saving the Prairies: The Life Cycle of the Founding School of American Plant Ecology, 1895-1955, 1981. Bessey, Clements, Pound, John Weaver and their followers transformed ecology from a metaphor into a science. Clements gained special renown for his work on ecological methodologies and for suggesting a paradigm of the succession of plant communities that, though later overturned, was a model for thinking about larger questions in the scientific study of ecology. He lived in Lincoln until about 1907. Clements was married to Edith Schwartz Clements, also a Nebraska author and famous botanist in her own right.

Melvin Gilmore, a founder of the field of ethnobotany, was Clement's student at the University of Nebraska.


Places Lived

Lincoln, NE
Minneapolis, MN
Pikes Peak, CO
Santa Barbara, CA
San Diego, CA
Tucson, AZ

Author Of

  • Nonfiction


Botany; Ecology


Bachelor's Degree in Botany, 1894, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
Ph.D. in Botany, 1898, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE


Head of Botany Department, University of Minnesota
Minnesota State Botanist

Places Worked

University of Nebraska
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Division of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institute of Washington
Alpine Laboratory, Pikes Peak, CO


The flower Clementsia rhodantha ("Clements' rose flower") was named in honor of Frederic Clements, 1903


Collaborated with Roscoe Pound, John E. Weaver, and his wife, Edith Clements
Melvin Gilmore was his student.


Phytogeography of Nebraska. 1898. (with Roscoe Pound)
Research Methods in Ecology. 1905.
Plant Physiology and Ecology. 1907.
Guide to the Spring Flowers. 1908.
Guide to the Trees and Shrubs. 1908.
Guide to the Ferns and Fern Allies. 1909.
Minnesota Mushrooms. 1910.
Minnesota Trees and Shrubs. 1912.
Rocky Mountain Flowers: An Illustrated Guide. 1914.
Plant Succession. 1916.
Plant Indicators. 1920.
Flower Families and Ancestors. 1928. (with Edith Clements)
Plant Ecology. 1929. (with John E. Weaver)
The Genera of Fungi. 1931.
Environment and Life in the Great Plains. 1937.

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Frederic Edward Clements

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(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)