Karl maidwoman

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Karl Mägdefrau (born February 8, 1907 in Ziegenhain , now part of Jena ; † February 1, 1999 in Deisenhofen , part of Oberhaching ) was a German botanist and paleobotanist . Its official botanical author's abbreviation is “ Mägd. ".

Live and act


Mägdefrau studied biology from 1926 , first at the University of Jena , then at the University of Munich . After graduating in 1930, he was a research assistant at the university. After his habilitation he was a private lecturer at the University of Erlangen from 1936 .

National Socialism and Captivity of War

In his memoirs, Karl Mägdefrau confesses to having been an NSDAP voter. He joined the NSDAP in 1933 as one of the first of his faculties and volunteered for military service in 1939. According to his wish, he was able to sign up with the mountain troops. After liberation from National Socialism , he fell into American captivity; there he made friends with comrades from the SS , because "especially under the Waffen-SS there were quite a few such upright men". Even in his memories he strikes anti-American tones when he describes the conditions of his captivity.

Scientific career

After being a prisoner of war, Mägdefrau became a member of the government at the Forest Botanical Institute of the Munich Forest Research Institute in 1948 . From 1951 he was first associate professor and from 1956 full professor at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich . In 1960 he was appointed to the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen , where he was full professor for special botany and director of the botanical garden until 1972 . In 1961 he was elected a member of the Leopoldina .

Mägdefraus main areas of research were paleobotany and the ecology of mosses . In palaeobotany, he reconstructed the socialization of plants in prehistoric times. His mossological research related not only to Central Europe, but also to tropical areas, including South America. In addition, he has not only dealt with the history of his subject area, but also provided a description of many research personalities and their achievements in his book History of Botany .

Mägdefrau was also a co-author of several editions of the textbook of botany for universities (short: "The Strasburger").

He was an honorary member of the German Botanical Society . In 1991 he became an honorary member of the Thuringian Geological Association .


  • History of botany . Gustav Fischer Verlag , Stuttgart 1973, ISBN 3-437-20489-0 .
  • Paleobiology of Plants . G. Fischer, Stuttgart 1968.
  • Alpine flowers . Schwarz, Bayreuth 1963.
  • The genera Voltzia and Glyptolepis in the Middle Keuper of Haßfurt (Main). In: Geol. Bl. NO-Bayern, 13, Erlangen 1963, pp. 95-98
  • Vegetation pictures of the past . G. Fischer, Jena 1959.
  • Geological guide through the Triassic around Jena . G. Fischer, Jena 1959.
  • To the flora of the Middle Keuper of Haßfurt (Main). In: Geol. Bl. NO-Bayern, 6, Erlangen 1956, pp. 84-90
  • New finds of fossil conifers in the Middle Keuper of Haßfurt (Main). In: Geol. Bl. NO-Bayern, 3, Erlangen 1953, pp. 49-58


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Mägdefrau, Karl (1907–1999). In: Bryological newsletters. Information on moss research in Germany. No. 24 March 1999, pp. 3 and 6–8, here p. 6. ( online version (PDF; 47 kB))
  2. ^ Ernst Klee: Das Personenlexikon zum Third Reich , Frankfurt am Main 2007, p. 386
  3. ^ Member entry by Karl Mägdefrau (with picture) at the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina , accessed on May 29, 2016.
  4. ^ Honorary members of the TGV