Roy Lewis Taylor | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Roy Lewis Taylor

Roy Lewis Taylor, botanist (born 12 April 1932 in Olds, AB; died 2 May 2013 in Nanaimo, BC). Throughout his career, Taylor held numerous leadership positions at botanical gardens and societies in both Canada and the United States. Taylor was also a founding director of Botanic Gardens Conservation International, an organization working toward the conservation of threatened plants.


A taxonomist and cytologist, Roy Lewis Taylor was involved in a major study of the Queen Charlotte Islands (now named Haida Gwaii) flora between 1957 and 1965. The study culminated in  Flora of the Queen Charlotte Islands (1968). From 1965 to 1968 he was head of the taxonomy and economic botany section of the Department of Agriculture, Ottawa. Taylor helped found the Canadian Botanical Association (1965) and served as its vice-president and president. From 1968 to 1985 he was director of the botanical garden and professor of botany and plant science at the University of British Columbia. He was president of the Chicago Horticultural Society and director of the Chicago Botanic Garden from 1985 to 1994. These positions were followed, until his retirement in 1999, by the directorship of the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, California, and the positions of professor and chair of the graduate botany program for Claremont Graduate University.

Honours and Awards

Over his career, Roy Lewis Taylor built an internationally-renowned reputation for directing botanical gardens. This was recognized in 1987 when he was appointed as a founding director of Botanic Gardens Conservation International, an organization working to ensure the worldwide conservation of threatened plants. He has received many other awards and honours, such as the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal and membership honoris causa in the Linnean Society of London (1978). He has been the author, coauthor or editor of more than 150 publications.