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P Maheshwari

P Maheshwari

The pioneer of India’s plant embryology

Dr. Panchanan Maheshwari was an eminent botanist specialising in plant embryology, morphology and anatomy, plant physiology and biochemistry. He was one of the leading plant biologists who established the technique of test-tube fertilization of angiosperms. Another landmark discovery by Dr. Maheshwari was production of haploids using anther culture. This discovery initiated a new era in plant biology and formed the path for developing many improved crop varieties. 

Dr. Maheshwari’s book, ‘An Introduction to the Embryology of Angiosperms’, published in 1950, is considered as a classic and is one of the most quoted biology texts. He established the International Society of Plant Morphologists in 1951, and started the international journal Phytomorphology. His research group investigated over 100 families of angiosperms and some gymnosperms in the country. He is also the author of the book ‘An illustrated Flora of Delhi’ - considered an excellent field-guide for everyone. 

Dr. Maheshwari was a member of the Science Advisory Committee to the Cabinet and had great contributions to leading scientific organisations in the country. He has received many national and international recognitions. 

Maheshwari wrote popular science articles on Plant Power to attract the young. For instance, he wrote that Gandhiji’s very first Satyagraha had to do with the plant Indigofera tinctoria, a source of the indigo dye used in textile manufacture.

Established the technique of test-tube fertilization of angiosperms