Gunnar Seidenfaden 1908-2001 Botanist and Diplomat


gunnar-seidenfaden-botanistGunnar Seidenfaden (1908-2001)
was a Danish diplomat, botanist
and an expert on orchids from South Asia.
From 1926-1934 Gunnar Seidenfaden
has studied botany at the
University of Copenhagen.
From 1955-1959 he was Danish ambassador
in Thailand.
During his time in Thailand,
he started a cooperation
with the Royal Thai Forest Department
and arranged several collecting expeditions
during the years 1956 -1984.
Gunnar Seidenfaden published several books
on Orchidaceae from South Asia,
mostly decorated with his own drawings.
Some of his publications:

*The Orchids of Thailand: a Preliminary List (Seidenfaden & Smitinand, 1958–1964)
*Contributions to the Orchid Flora of Thailand (1969-1997)

Gunnar Seidenfaden described and categorised more then 120 new orchid species
and severel orchids are named to his honour.
His author abbreviation: Seidenf.
Gunnar Seidenfaden died at the age of 93 (09.02.2001),
his collection is kept in the Botanic Garden of Copenhagen.

One of the most wellknown Thai orchids,
described by Gunnar Seidenfaden:
Dendrobium unicum Seidenf. 1970

Image: Dendrobium unicum Seidenf. 1970
Photographer: Posantor “Chocolate” Saelie

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Eric Danell May 10, 2010 at 12:04

This is a lovely orchid site! We just received a donation, an orchid collection, to Dokmai Garden, and we currently establish a catalogue. I need to know for sure if it is Chiloschista viridiflora or viridflava, as Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden as well as Smitinand’s checklist claims “viridiflora”. I do not have accss to the protologue - has anyone seen it (Orchids-flowers April 19th)?
Thanks, Eric Danell, scientific consultant at Dokmai Garden, Chiang Mai.

Eric Danell May 10, 2010 at 13:25

I also need to know which spelling is correct: Nervillea (According to GBIF and Nantiya’s orchid book) or Nervilia (according to QSBG and Smitinand’s checklist)? I can only accept an answer from somebody who checked the actual protologue, as errors can be repeated and perpetuated on internet. Thanks again, Eric Danell, Dokmai Garden.

admin May 10, 2010 at 14:12

Dear Mr Danell,
We checked again the name,
this time with Kew Garden.
The real name is
Chiloschista viridiflava Seidenf.
You can try it by yourself:
For the other variation (chiloschista viridiflora) which is also covered in Queen Sirikits Book,
there are no search results at Kew Garden,
which is an expert in orchidology.

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