Johann Christian von Schreber

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Johann Christian von Schreber
The Schreber Column erected in 1810 in the Erlangen Palace Gardens , 2012

Johann Christian (Daniel) Schreber, Edler von Schreber since 1791 (born January 17, 1739 in Weißensee (Thuringia) , † December 10, 1810 in Erlangen ), was a German physician and naturalist. Its official botanical author abbreviation is “ Schreb. "


Schreber was born the son of the camerawoman and lawyer Daniel Gottfried Schreber (1709–1777). He received private tuition in his parents' house before studying medicine, natural sciences and theology at the University of Halle . From October 1757 to April 1758 he worked as an informator at the German and Latin schools of the Francke Foundations in Halle. In June 1758 he was given a teaching license from the University of Halle. While still a student, he published his first scientific work in 1758, a Lithographia Halensis , which was published in an improved and increased edition in the following year under the expanded title: Lithographia Halensis, exhibens lapides circa Halam Saxonum reperiundos systematice digestos, secundum classes et ordines, genera et species. appeared.

He later switched to the University of Uppsala with the same subjects , where he heard the lectures of Carl von Linné , with whom he was in correspondence from January 1758. There he successfully completed his studies in 1761 with his dissertation Theses medicae .

After his return to Germany in 1761, he got a job that same year as a general practitioner at the Pedagogical Center in Bützow , where he succeeded his father. In 1764 he went to Leipzig with his father, where he taught at the university and was appointed secretary of the Economic Society. The Leopoldina (German Academy of Natural Scientists) accepted him as a member as early as 1764 . Numerous other memberships in other learned societies followed. In 1759 he was admitted to the Philadelphia Masonic Lodge in Halle.

In 1769 he published his work Description of the Grasses , in which, in addition to a botanical description, he also gave an assessment of the agricultural usefulness of the individual grasses. Another innovative feature of the work was the exact depiction of the taxonomically relevant species characteristics on the botanical drawings. In the same year he married Johanna Christiane Dorothea von Schönfeld in Leipzig. The marriage remained childless.

At the turn of the year 1769/70 Schreber accepted a position as full professor of botany , natural history, economics and politics at the University of Erlangen ; In addition to these subjects, he also gave lectures on forestry, metallurgy, materia medica, dietetics and materia alimentaria. In the summer of 1770 he took up a position as third professor of medicine, while at the same time he held a professorship for camera studies at the philosophical faculty.

In 1773 he was also entrusted with the management of the university's botanical garden, founded in 1771 . As its director, he regularly held botanical demonstrations as well as courses in herbariology and plant physiology and went on excursions with students in the Erlangen area. In addition to his actual scientific work, Schreber began to translate the entire work of the scientist Carl von Linné into German during these years .

In 1777 he was appointed director of the Natural History Museum at the University of Erlangen. During this time he was already working on "The Mammals in Pictures from Nature with Descriptions", a zoological, encyclopedic description and picture credits, which appeared in four volumes between 1775 and 1792. von Schreber worked as an editor of illustrations for other scientists, including Franz Xavier v. Wulfen , Johann Hedwig , Peter Simon Pallas and Olof Swartz , whereby the artistic aspect was always very important to him. He had close contacts to several qualified painters, draftsmen and engravers in Nuremberg, whom he used for publications.

When the President of the Leopoldina, Heinrich Friedrich Delius , died in 1791 , Johann Christian Schreber became his successor. As chairman, Schreber chose the company name Theophrastus Eresius IV and headed the Leopoldina until the end of his life.

Johann Christian von Schreber died on December 10, 1810 in Erlangen at the age of 71. In his memory, his widow donated the Schreber column in the year of his death , which was set up in the Erlangen Botanical Garden, which Schreber looks after. After the botanical garden had been relocated, the column was restored in 1827 and placed in its current location in the Erlangen palace garden .

In 1813 the Bavarian King von Schreber acquired the herbarium, which served as the basis of the Herbarium Regium Monacense , which today belongs to the Botanical State Collection Munich. It mainly contained vascular plants that Schreber had collected in the Uppsala area as well as in Leipzig and Erlangen. It also contained numerous plants of foreign origins that he had acquired in a scientific exchange from well-known botanists such as Johann Reinhold Forster and his son Georg Forster , Olof Peter Swartz and Carl Peter Thunberg . In addition, von Schreber had the herbarium of his Erlangen predecessor, CC Schmiedel, which in turn contained the collections of the botanists Johannes Burman and Nicolaas Laurens Burman (South Africa, Cylon). The herbarium contained only a few specimens of mosses and lichens.

Johann Christian von Schreber was the uncle of the pedagogue and orthopedic surgeon Moritz Schreber , after whom the allotment gardens are named.

Awards and memberships

Due to his outstanding reputation, von Schreber was a member of numerous scientific societies:

The genus Schrebera L. of the Convolvulaceae family of plants was named in his honor.

For his services as a scientist, Johann Christian von Schreber was appointed court advisor to Brandenburg in 1769. In 1770 the University of Erlangen awarded him the honorary title of "Mag. Phil." In 1791 he was appointed imperial councilor and personal physician. In 1791 he was raised to the imperial nobility as Count Palatine with the title Edler von Schreber. In 1795 he was awarded the title of Prussian Privy Councilor.



  • Description of the grasses together with their images from nature. Three volumes with 54 colored plates, (1769 - 1810)
  • Lithographia Halensis. (1758)
  • Novae species insectorum. (1759)
  • Theses medicae. (1761)
  • Icones et descriptiones plantarum minus cognitarum. (1766)
  • De Phasco observationes. with 2 plates, (1770)
  • Spicilegium florae Lipsicae. (1771)
  • Description of the couch grass, with illustration. (1772)
  • Plantarum verticillatarum unilabiatarum genera et species. (1774)
  • The mammals in illustrations after nature with descriptions. (1.1774 - 64.1804)
  • De Persea Aegyptiorum commentationes I.-IV. (1790–92)


  • Carl v. Linnaeus: Travels through West Gothland. (1765)
  • Carl v. Linnaeus: Amoenitates academicae ,. (1787)
  • Carl v. Linnaeus: Materia medica. (1772)
  • Carl v. Linnaeus: Genera plantarum. (1789)
  • Carl v. Linnaeus: Travels through Oeland and Gothland and Westgothland, (1764)
  • FX von Wulfen: Descriptiones quorumdam capensium insectorum. Erlangen (1786)
  • W. von Pallas: Novae Species Quadrupedum e Glirium ordine. In two parts, (1778/79)
  • W. von Pallas: Icones Insectorum, Sibiriaeque peculiarium. In three parts, (1781-98)
  • W. von Pallas: Flora Rossica. In two parts, (1784-88)
  • O. Swartz: Flora Indiae Occidentalis. 3 volumes, (1797-1806)
  • O. Swartz: Observationes botanicae, (1791)
  • O. Swartz: Dispositio systematica muscorum frondosorum Sueciae. (1799)
  • O. Swartz: Lichenes americani, quos partim in Flora Indiae Occidentalis descripsit. (1811)


Web links

Commons : Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Johann Christian von Schreber  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k Hermann Beyer-Thoma: Schreber, Johann Christian Daniel Edler von. In: Neue Deutsche Biographie 23, 2007, pp. 524–525
  2. Ernst Wunschmann: Schreber, Joh. Christian Daniel (v.) In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, published by the Historical Commission at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, Volume 32, 1891, pp. 465–466.
  3. ^ Friedrich August Eckstein: History of the Freemason Lodge in the Orient from Halle: A festive gift for the Secondary Celebration of the Lodge to the three swords ; published by Gebauersche Buchdruckerei , Halle (1844) p. 63
  4. ^ Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber. on the homepage of the Botanical State Collection Munich, accessed on March 18, 2016
  5. ^ Member entry by Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber (with picture) at the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina , accessed on March 17, 2016.
  6. ^ Member entry by Johann Christian von Schreber (with picture) at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences , accessed on March 17, 2016.
  7. 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 .
  8. KNESCHKE, Ernst Heinrich: German Adels Lexicon. Vol. 8 (1808). P. 335.