German Botanist Carl Ernst Otto Kuntze


Carl Ernst Otto Kuntze Carl Ernst Otto Kuntze (1843 - 1907) was a German botanist and a revolutioner of the botanic nomenclature. Otto Kuntze was born in Leipzig, Germany at 23.06.1843. In his early career he became an apothecary. In his youth he already had a big interest for botany and collected numerous plants in the region of Leipzig. In 1867 he published his first book, called “Taschen-Flora von Leipzig”, means pocket flora of Leipzig, where he described the collected plants. In 1868 he established his own factory for essential oils and essences in Leipzig and was so successful, that he could retire just 5 years later. From 1874 until 1876 Otto Kuntze travelled the world, having a focus on botany. He visited the Caribbean islands, USA, Japan, China, South East Asia, the Arabian peninsula and Egypt and collected 7,700 specimens during his journey. He also collated an ethnological collection, which has been given to the Leipzig Museum of Ethnography. Whilst back in Germany he studied Natural Science from 1876 to 1878 in Berlin, Leipzig and Freiburg
and gained his doctorate 1878 in Freiburg.

1881 he published the journal of his journey “Um die Erde”, means around the world. From 1884 until 1890 Otto Kuntze sorted and described his collected specimens in Berlin and as well in Kew Garden, London and in 1891 he published as a result of his work the three-volumed Revisio Generum Plantarum. As Carl Ernst Otto Kuntze had entirely revised taxonomy in his publication, it came as a shock for the botanical science of that time. His work was widely rejected or deliberately ignored. In 1894 Kuntze travelled to South Africa and the German colonies and in 1904 to Australia, New Zealand, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Samoa, Hawaii and the USA.

In 1905 he participated in the 2. International Botanical Congress in Vienna, but just to cast doubt on the authority of the congress. Consequential Kuntze`s competence as a botanist has been denied. After the Vienna congress his state of health worsened due to the humiliation and Carl Ernst Otto Kuntze died in 1907 in his house in San Remo, Italy. His revolutionary ideas about botanic nomenclature created a schism between competing opinions of the Rules of Botanical Nomenclature. Most of the problems have been solved in 1930 at the 5. International Botanical Congress in Cambridge, England.
His author abbreviation is: Kuntze, occasionally also O.Kuntze

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