Peter Crane is President of the Oak Spring Garden Foundation in Virginia (, an estate of Rachel Lambert Mellon that includes an exquisite garden as well as an exceptional library focused on the history of plant science, plant exploration, and the development of gardens and landscape design. He is known internationally for his work on the diversity of plant life – its origin, fossil history, current status, conservation and use. Peter Crane was elected to the Royal Society in 1998 and was knighted in the UK for services to horticulture and conservation in 2004. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences, a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and a Member of the German Academy Leopoldina. He is the recipient of several honorary degrees from universities in the UK and US, including honorary doctorates of science from the University of Connecticut and Sewanee: The University of the South in the US, and Cambridge University in the UK. He received the International Prize for Biology in December 2014.

Research Interests

In addition to my leadership and administrative responsibilities at Oak Spring I continue my research on the evolution of seed plants and the early evolution of flowering plants (angiosperms). Most of this work consists of research on well-preserved and informative fossil material and their comparison with living plants, including studies with synchrotron radiation X-ray tomographic microscopy. Among the specific questions under investigation as part of my research are the origins of the angiosperm stamen, carpel and second integument, and the putative close relationship between Gnetales and conifers, including the possibility that different group of living conifers are of diverse relationships with respect to other seed plants.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 27: Evolutionary Biology

Secondary Section

Section 63: Environmental Sciences and Ecology