Ernst Stahl (botanist)

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Christian Ernst Stahl (born June 21, 1848 in Schiltigheim in Alsace , † December 3, 1919 in Jena ) was a Franco-German botanist . Its official botanical author's abbreviation is " steel ".

Live and act

Gravestone in the north cemetery in Jena

Stahl initially studied botany at the University of Strasbourg, among others with Pierre-Marie Alexis Millardet , at the University of Halle (with Anton de Bary ), from 1872 back in Strasbourg, where he had followed de Bary. There he was promoted to Dr. phil. PhD.

He then worked as a research assistant to Julius Sachs at the University of Würzburg , where he completed his habilitation in botany in 1877. His work on lichens was created in Würzburg . In 1877 he became a private lecturer and in 1880 an associate professor in Strasbourg. In 1881 Stahl was offered the chair of botany at the University of Jena , where he also became director of the botanical garden . In 1882 he was elected a member of the Leopoldina .

In the winter of 1889/1890 he made a trip to Ceylon and Java . He also went on a research trip to Mexico . In 1898 he was accepted as a full member of the Royal Saxon Society of Sciences . From 1906 he was a corresponding member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences .

In addition to questions about the development of fungi and lichens, Stahl addressed himself . By introducing experimental methods into ecology , steel is considered to be the founder of ecophysiology . In this area he first investigated the influence of light on plants, then the problem of protecting plants against animal damage. He also researched the different influences of dry and humid locations on the formation of leaves. One of his most important research results was the elucidation of the mycorrhiza of forest trees as a symbiosis between fungi and plant roots. Stahl further explored the importance of the stomata . Incidentally, steel was one of the pioneers in researching secondary plant substances .

Several later important biologists and botanists studied at Stahl, including Emmy Stein , Hans Driesch , Julius Schaxel , Johannes Gottfried Hallier , Hans Kniep , Otto Stocker , Heinrich Walter , Rudolf Aderhold and Max Wolff .

After his death he was buried in the Jena North Cemetery.


  • Development and anatomy of the lenticels . Leipzig 1873.
  • Contributions to the history of the development of lichens . Leipzig 1877.
  • About the influence of direction and strength of lighting on some movement phenomena in the plant kingdom . Leipzig 1880.
  • About so-called compass plants . Jena 1883.
  • About the influence of the sunny or shady location on the development of the leaves . Jena 1883.
  • Influence of light on the geotropism of some plant organs . Berlin 1884.
  • On the biology of the Myxomycetes . Leipzig 1884.
  • Plants and snails . A biological study of the protective means of plants against snail damage . Jena 1888.


  • Jan-Peter Frahm , Jens Eggers: Lexicon of German-speaking bryologists. Books on Demand, Norderstedt 2001, ISBN 3-8311-0986-9 , p. 500 ( online ).
  • Axel Mithöfer: A pioneer in chemical ecology: On the 100th anniversary of Christian Ernst Stahl's death. In: Biology in Our Time. Volume 50, No. 2, 2020, pp. 91–92, doi: 10.1002 / biuz.202070208 .

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