Wilhelm Friedrich Phillip Pfeffer studied plants in Germany during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He started his career as an apothecary, but Pfeffer also studied plant physiology, including how plants move and react to changes in light, temperature, and osmotic pressure. He created the Pfeffer Zelle apparatus, also known as the Pfeffer Cell, to study osmosis in plants.
Johann Gregor Mendel studied plants and their patterns of inheritance in Austria during the nineteenth century. Mendel experimented with the pea plant, Pisum, and his publication, “Versuche über Pflanzenhybriden” (“Experiments on Plant Hybridization”), published in 1866, revolutionized theories of trait inheritance.
Wilhelm Ludvig Johannsen studied plants and helped found the field of genetics, contributing methods and concepts to the study of heredity around the turn of the twentieth century in Denmark. His experiments on heredity and variation in plants influenced the methods and techniques of geneticists, and his distinction between the genotype of an organism—its hereditary disposition—and its phenotype—its observable characteristics—remains at the core of contemporary biology.
Wilhelm Johannsen first proposed the distinction between genotype and phenotype in the study of heredity while working in Denmark in 1909. The distinction is between the hereditary dispositions of organisms (their genotypes) and the ways in which those dispositions manifest themselves in the physical characteristics of those organisms (their phenotypes).
Muriel Wheldale Onslow studied flowers in England with genetic and biochemical techniques in the early twentieth century. Working with geneticist William Bateson, Onslow used Mendelian principles and biochemical analysis together to understand the inheritance of flower colors at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Matthias Jacob Schleiden helped develop the cell theory in Germany during the nineteenth century. Schleiden studied cells as the common element among all plants and animals.