Joseph Gaertner (March 12 1732 – July 14 1791) was a German botanist, best known for his work on seeds, De Fructibus et Seminibus Plantarum (1788-1792).
He was born in Calw, and studied in Göttingen under Albrecht von Haller. He was primarily a naturalist, but also worked at physics and zoology. He travelled extensively to visit other naturalists. He was professor of anatomy in Tübingen in 1760, and was appointed professor of botany at St Petersburg in 1768, but returned to Calw in 1770.
By 1770 he had already begun work on his De Fructibus et Seminibus Plantarum, but thereafter he gave himself up almost entirely to it, becoming nearly blind through his persistent studies, partly with the microscope. The work's minutely accurate descriptions, comprising a thousand and more species, introduced a new era in plant morphology. The scientific value of the book was much increased by the addition of 180 copper-plate engravings.