Elias Magnus Fries

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Elias Magnus Fries (1794–1878)

Elias Magnus Fries (* 15. August 1794 in the parish Femsjö , Jonkopings Lan , † 8. February 1878 in Uppsala ) was a Swedish botanist , the first a system for classification of the fungi had developed. Its official botanical author's abbreviation is " Fr. ". Together with his 33 year older contemporary Christian Hendrik Persoon , Fries is considered to be the father of modern mycology .

Live and act

Elias Magnus Fries was born in the historic province of Småland as the son of the local pastor and grew up as an only child. His father was able to awaken his passion for botany at a young age . When he was twelve years old he became interested in mushrooms. At the age of 17 he already knew more than 300 species. It is said that Fries learned the Latin language before Swedish; so he had no problems reading the scientific botanical works of the time, which were mostly written in Latin. He was able to understand the work of Persoon and other mycologists and thereby learned common names and descriptions of many mushrooms. Only Persoon's knowledge of mushrooms was more extensive than that of the child prodigy Elias Magnus Fries.

In 1814, Fries graduated from Lund University with a doctorate in philosophy (lat. Doctor philosophiae ) and worked there for several years as a lecturer . In 1820 he was elected a member of the Leopoldina . In 1834 he moved to Uppsala University . Since Göran Wahlenberg (1780-1851) already held the chair for botany , he was initially appointed professor for applied economics. After Wahlenberg's death in 1851, he was given a professorship in botany.

From 1821 Fries tried to classify all mushrooms known at the time. He initially divided these into four major genera , based on the spore-forming organs of the mushrooms. So he called the leaves mushrooms as Agaricus , the boletes as Boletus , the coral fungi as Clavaria and the tooth fungi as Hydnum . Later there was a more extensive differentiation into families and genera.

Within the agaric mushrooms, Fries differentiated, for example, species based on their spore color (macroscopic feature) and - which was downright revolutionary for taxonomy - based on the microscopic structure of the spores and hymenium . The snail ( Hygrophorus ) was the first to be separated from other genera due to the discovery of their particularly long basidia (a microscopic feature).

The first description of many types of mushrooms, including the chanterelle ( Cantharellus cibarius Fr. ), comes from Fries .

Fries belonged to numerous academies and learned societies, including the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (since 1821), the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala (since 1831), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1849), the Prussian Academy of Sciences ( since 1854), the Kungliga Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Academies (since 1855), the Bavarian Academy of Sciences (since 1856), the Royal Society of Edinburgh (since 1864) and the Royal Society (since 1875). In 1847 he was accepted into the Svenska Academies and in 1868 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Lund University .

His son Theodor Magnus Fries (1832–1913) also became a botanist.

Selected Works

  • Observationes mycologicae . (2 volumes, 1815-1818).
  • Systema mycologicum . (3 volumes, 1821–1832; with this work, Fries enforced the binary nomenclature established by Linnaeus for mushrooms as well).
  • Epicrisis systematis mycologici . (1836-1838).
  • Sveriges ätlige och giftiga Svampar . (1861–1868; Edible and poisonous mushrooms of Sweden).
  • Hymenomycetes Europaei . 1874 (Hat mushrooms [ Hymenomycetidae ] Europe).
  • Linnaeus, Lefnadsteckning . Stockholm 1903 (2 volumes).
  • Fries (Elias Magnus) , in: Johann Emanuel Wikström: Conspectus Litteraturae Botanicae in Suecia , Norstedt et Filii, 1831, pp. 69–81, (list of publications, digitizedhttp: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3D~GB%3D42U-AAAAcAAJ~IA%3D~MDZ%3D%0A~SZ%3DPA69~ double-sided%3D~LT%3D~PUR%3D ).


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