He was the son of Carl Adolph Agardh, and from 1854 until 1879 was professor of botany at Lund University. Agardh designed the current 1862 blueprints for the botanical garden Botaniska trädgården in Lund.
In 1849, he was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Agardh was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1878. It is said that the naturalist Mary Philadelphia Merrifield learnt Swedish in order that she could correspond with him.
His principal work, Species, Genera et Ordines Algarum (4 vols., Lund, 1848–63), was a standard authority.
- Swedish botanist Jacob Agardh identified Baudinet's algal specimens
- "Jacob G Agardh – Svenskt Biografiskt Lexikon". sok.riksarkivet.se. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
- Hunt Botanical Library, Carnegie-Mellon University (1972). Biographical Dictionary of Botanists Represented in the Hunt Institute Portrait Collection. Boston: G. K. Hall & Co. p. 4. ISBN 0-8161-1023-9.
- Ripley, George; Dana, Charles A., eds. (1879). The American Cyclopædia. .
- Gilman, D. C.; Peck, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Jacob Georg Agardh". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.
- Botaniska trädgården. "A Brief History of the Lund University Botanical Garden". Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2010.
- "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
- Creese, Mary R. S. (1 January 2000). Ladies in the Laboratory? American and British Women in Science, 1800–1900: A Survey of Their Contributions to Research. Scarecrow Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-585-27684-7.
- IPNI. J. Agardh.
- Eriksson, G. (1970). "Agardh, Jacob Georg". Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Vol. 1. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. pp. 70–71. ISBN 0-684-10114-9.
- Theoria Systematis Plantarum; Accredit Familiarum Phanerogarum in Series Naturales Disposito, Secundum Structurae Normas et Evolutionis Gradus Instituta. Lund Apr–Sep 1858