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George Bentham (1800–84) was one of Britain's most influential botanists, whose own collection of plant specimens numbered more than 100,000. Although he donated his herbarium to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in 1854, he continued to make significant contributions to the field, including this exhaustive, seven-volume work detailing the plant life of Australia, which was published from 1863 to 1878. It was part of a series of works commissioned by the British government to document the flora in its colonies. Using the extensive numbers of specimens at Kew - and with the help of Ferdinand Mueller (1825–96), a German botanist in Australia - Bentham was able to compile descriptions of more than 8,000 species of Australian plants, making these volumes the first completed compendium of the flora of any large continental area. Volume 7, published in 1878, concludes with descriptions of flora in the classes of monocotyledon and cryptogamae.