L'Obel Mathias de (1538–1616), Flemish botanist. L'Obel ranks among the great botanists who preceded Linnaeus. In 1570 he published a work describing more than 1200 plants. He classified plants according to leaf structure, and he apparently tried to incorporate into his classification concepts of genus and family. The genus Lobelia was named in his honor in 1702 by the French botanist Charles Plumier (1646–1704).