Carl Ludwig Willdenow

Carl Ludwig Willdenow

Carl Ludwig Willdenow (22 August 1765 10 July 1812) was a German botanist, pharmacist, and plant taxonomist. He is considered one of the founders of phytogeography, the study of the geographic distribution of plants. Willdenow was also a mentor of Alexander von Humboldt, one of the earliest and best known phytogeographers.


Willdenow was born in Berlin and studied medicine and botany at the University of Halle. He was a director of the Botanical garden of Berlin from 1801 until his death. There he studied many South American plants, brought back by the explorer Alexander von Humboldt. He was interested in the adaptation of plants to climate, showing that the same climate had plants having common characteristics. His herbarium, containing more than 20,000 species, is still preserved in the Botanical Garden in Berlin.

He is most famous for his synthesis of European plant geography, and his mountains origins theories.



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