Berthold Seemann

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Berthold Carl Seemann

Berthold Seemann (full name Berthold Carl Seemann ; born February 28, 1825 in Hanover , † October 10, 1871 in Javali , Nicaragua ) was a German traveler , naturalist , botanist and plant collector . Its official botanical author abbreviation is “ Seem. "

Live and act

Berthold Seemann was born in Hanover in 1825 as the second son of the clarinetist and royal Hanover chamber musician Wilhelm Seemann and his wife Caroline, who worked at the court theater there .

In 1846, Seemann was added by the British Admiralty as a naturalist to the expedition that Sir Henry Kellett undertook with the Herald ship . He visited Central and South America . In 1848 the Herald was commissioned to penetrate the Arctic Ocean from the Bering Strait to clarify the fate of the missing John Franklin and his expedition. In this way, Seemann made three research trips to the Arctic Sea . In 1849 he returned to Mazatlán , toured Mexico , penetrated again into the Arctic Ocean in 1850 and arrived back in London in July 1851 . In 1852 he was elected a member of the Leopoldina .

In February 1860, Seemann embarked on a second major voyage, during which he explored the Fiji Islands in particular and coined the name of the man- eater tomato. From 1864 to 1866 he toured Venezuela and Central America. Seemann was temporarily employed at the Botanical Gardens in Hanover and in Kew . In 1853 he got the Dr. hc awarded by the University of Göttingen ; from 1853 to 1862 he was editor of the magazine Bonplandia , 1863 to 1871 he was editor of the Journal of Botany, British and Foreign .

After he was administrator of a sugar plantation in Panama for some time , Seemann died on October 10, 1871 in Javali (Nicaragua), where he was a member of the board of directors of a gold mining company.


The plants genera Seemannia rule (today in the genus Gloxinia , Gesneriae family (Gesneriaceae), incorporated), Seemannantha Alef. from the legume family (Fabaceae) and Seemannaralia R. Viguier from the Araliaceae family were named after him.

Journey around the world and three journeys by the Royal British Frigate Herald ...

Fonts (selection)

  • The common names of American plants . 1851.
  • The popular nomenclature of the American flora . Hanover 1851.
  • The Acacia introduced into Europe . Hanover 1852.
  • Narrative of the voyage of HMS Herald and three cruises to the arctic regions in search of Sir John Franklin . 2 volumes, London 1852 Volume 1 , Volume 2 .
  • The botany of the voyage of HMS Herald during the years 1845 to 1851… . London 1852-1857.
  • Popular history of the Palms and their allies . London 1856 ( dedicated to Alexander von Humboldt ).
  • The British Ferns at one view . 1860.
  • Viti: an account of a government mission to the Vitian or Fijian Islands in the years 1860-1861 . Macmillan & Co, Cambridge, 1862.
  • Flora Vitiensis: a description of the plants of the Viti or Fiji Islands . Reeve & Co, London 1865-1876
  • Dottings of the roadside . London 1868
  • The history of the Isthmus of Panama . Panama 1867, 2nd edition


  • Ernst Wunschmann:  Seemann, Berthold . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 33, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1891, pp. 581-584.
  • V. Staff Notes and News. In: Eduard Regel (Ed.): Gartenflora , 21st year. Ferdinand Enke, Erlangen, 1872, pp. 64–65, (contains a necrology written by Eduard Regel)
  • Wilhelm Rothert : Seemann, Berth., Botan. , in ders .: General Hannoversche Biographie , Volume 2: In the Old Kingdom of Hanover 1814–1866 . Sponholtz, Hannover 1914, p. 580
  • Joachim Knoll:
    • Berthold Seemann. From gardener's assistant in Herrenhausen to gold digger in Nicaragua . In: From the Herrenhausen Gardens: Information for Friends of the Herrenhausen Gardens eV , Ed .: Friends of the Herrenhausen Gardens eV in cooperation with the Herrenhausen Gardens Department of the City of Hanover Green Spaces, Hanover 2001
    • Berthold Carl Seemann - From gardening assistant in Herrenhausen to world-traveling explorer. In: Naturhistorica, Reports of the Natural History Society Hanover , Issue 158/159 2016/2017, pp. 55–79

Individual evidence

  1. a b H. G. Reichenbach : Dr. Berthold Seemann , in Anton de Bary , Gregor Kraus (ed.): Botanische Zeitung , 30th year (1872), Leipzig: Verlag von Arthur Felix, column 503-510; Digitized via Google books
  2. a b c Joseph Meyer : Seemann, Berthold, deutscher Reisender , in ders. (Ed.): The great conversation lexicon for the educated classes ... , fifth supplement volume, Hildburghausen, Amsterdam, Paris, Philadelphia: printing and Verlag des Bibliographisches Institut, 1854, pp. 703–704; Digitized via Google books
  3. ^ GS Boulger, revised by Andrew Grout: Seemann, Berthold Carl , in: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ; Preview extract
  4. Bonplandia , magazine ..., in: Hamburger Garten- und Blumenzeitung , 19th year 1863, Norbert Kittler, Hamburg 1863, p. 285, (notification of the discontinuation)
  5. Robert Zander : Zander hand dictionary of plant names . Ed .: Fritz Encke , Günther Buchheim, Siegmund Seybold . 13th, revised and expanded edition. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart 1984, ISBN 3-8001-5042-5 .
  6. Lotte Burkhardt: Directory of eponymous plant names - Extended Edition. Part I and II. Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum Berlin , Freie Universität Berlin , Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-946292-26-5 doi: 10.3372 / epolist2018 .

Web links

Wikisource: Bonplandia  - Sources and full texts
Wikisource: Journal of Botany  - Sources and full texts