F. A. W. Miquel, Netherlands botanist
Wentia , Volume 16 - Issue 1 p. 1- 95
The University herbarium of Utrecht dates traditionally from the year 1816 when a collection of about 3000 plants was bought from the professor ofbotany M. van Geuns (1735-1817). It is possible that other collections of dried plants were already owned by the University or at any rate by the botanic garden, before that time, but nothing is known about this. The small van Geuns herbarium, which contained collections made by J. D. Hahn, M. W. Schwencke and S. J. van Geuns, among others, may therefore be taken as the starting-point of the herbarium of the later Botanical Museum.1)*) The period, however, was not one of great botanical activity at Utrecht and the botanist who succeeded van Geuns as professor of natural history and rural economy, Jan Kops, did little to increase the size of the collections. When C. A. Bergsma was appointed professor of botany in the faculty of natural sciences in 1835 nothing changed. Only when Miquel came to Utrecht, bringing his considerable personal herbarium, did scientific plant taxonomy get a chance. After his appointment as director of the Rijksherbarium in Leiden in 1862, Miquel was no longer allowed to have a private herbarium. His collections were taken over by the University of Utrecht and thus became the real foundation of the collection of the present institute. Miquel was succeeded by Rauwenhoff who was again scarcely interested in taxonomy, and it was not until Went and, somewhat later, Pulle, came on the scene that further development became possible. Went and Pulle are still too close for a biographical assessment; Miquel, however, is sufficiently far away. In him we find a man not only of great local fame, but also of international standing as a plant taxonomist. In the year, therefore, in which the Utrecht Botanical Museum commemorates the 150th anniversary of the acquisition of its first herbarium together with the 40th anniversary of its association with J. Lanjouw, it seems appropriate to give a sketch of the life and works of the man who can be considered to be the founder of the Utrecht school of plant taxonomy. By the nature of his work, by building up the collections, and through his international relations Miquel started taxonomy at Utrecht.
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