Mutius by Tommasini

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Mutius von Tommasini (lithograph by Eduard Kaiser from the Oesterreichische Botanische Zeitschrift 1866)

Mutius Joseph Spiritus Ritter von Tommasini (Italian Muzio Giuseppe Spirito de Tommasini ; born June 4, 1794 in Trieste , † December 31, 1879 ibid) was Mayor of Trieste from 1839 to 1860. As an Istrian , k. k. Austrian botanist, he researched the flora of Istria and published the first works on the flora of the peninsula. Its official botanical author abbreviation is “ Tomm. "


Mutius von Tommasini was born on June 4, 1794 in the port city of Trieste, which at that time belonged to the Habsburg Monarchy, as the son of a wealthy merchant. He attended high school in Ljubljana , where his interest in botany was aroused. When his hometown of Trieste and Ljubljana by the French troops of Napoleon were busy, it Tommasini 1811 went to Vienna to there medicine to study. Inspired by Joseph Franz von Jacquin , botanist and professor at the University of Vienna , Tommasini began to research the flora in the area around Vienna. Due to an illness he had to drop out of his medical studies and returned to his hometown Trieste, which in the meantime had become Austrian again. He later studied law at the Karl Franzens University in Graz . Because of his studies he gave up his research activities as a botanist.

In 1817 Tommasini got his first job as a civil servant in the district office of Istria. In the following year he was promoted to district secretary of Split and a little later appointed as a clerk in the governorate of Zadar . It was only when Tommasini was appointed district commissioner of Split in 1823 that he resumed his work as a botanist and undertook, among other things, some research trips to the Biokovo Mountains . In 1827 he was transferred to Kotor in what is now Montenegro and made numerous excursions to the border with Albania . In the same year he was finally called back to his hometown Trieste and as a result had to give up exploring the Dalmatian flora. Despite his political career, he devoted himself again to his research from 1832 and explored the Austrian coastal region together with the botanists Bartolomeo Biasoletto (1793–1859) and Nicolas-Théodore de Saussure (1767–1845) . In 1837 Tommasini went on an excursion to Friuli , Carniola and Carinthia with the British botanist George Bentham (1800-1884) .

Bust of Mutius by Tommasini in the city park of Trieste

In 1839 Tommasini was appointed mayor of Trieste. From this point on, his scientific work was limited to the immediate vicinity of Trieste, with the exception of the ascent of Monte Matajur near Gorizia in 1840. From 1841 to 1843, Tommasini hired the Munich botanist Otto Sendtner (1813–1859) to advance the exploration of the Austrian coastal region. . The plants that Sendtner collected are now part of the most valuable part of Tommasini's herbarium . In the following years, Tommasini was in lively exchange with botanists and promoted the creation of the natural history museum Museo di Storia Naturale in Trieste.

In 1860 Tommasini retired and devoted himself entirely to researching the local flora.

Tommasini died on December 31, 1879 at the age of 85 in Trieste of complications from pneumonia.


In 1856 he became a member of the Leopoldina .

The elven crocus ( Crocus tommasinianus Herb. ) Was named after Tommasini . Also the plant genus Tommasinia Bertol. from the umbelliferae family (Apiaceae) is named after him.


Web links

Commons : Mutius von Tommasini  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Member entry of Mutius Joseph Spiritus von Tommasini at the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina , accessed on June 18, 2016.
  2. 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 .