Hendrik de Wit

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Hendrik Cornelis Dirk de Wit
Born (1909 -10-24)24 October 1909
Purmerend, The Netherlands
Died 16 March 1999 (1999 -03-16) (aged 89)
Heelsum, The Netherlands
Residence The Netherlands, South Africa, Dutch East Indies
Citizenship Dutch
Fields Plant taxonomy
Institutions Wageningen University and Research Centre
Alma mater University of Amsterdam
Known for studies on Cryptocoryne and Lagenandra
Influenced Wim Crusio
Author abbrev. (botany) de Wit

Hendrik (Henk) Cornelis Dirk de Wit (24 October 1909 – 16 March 1999) was a Dutch systematic botanist who contributed significantly to the knowledge of the Aroid genera Cryptocoryne and Lagenandra.[1][2] He grew up in the Waterland, a marshy area in the Northwest Netherlands, possibly the origin of his lifelong interest in aquatic plants.

Career[edit]

De Wit studied biology at the University of Amsterdam from 1931-1937.[2] In 1937 he left for Pretoria, South Africa where he worked as an Agricultural Research Officer with the Department of Agriculture.[3] In 1941 he obtained his Ph.D. with a thesis on the genus Setaria from the grass family (Poaceae).[4] In the same year, he moved to the Dutch East Indies (nowadays Indonesia).[3]

During World War II de Wit worked in the 's Lands Plantentuin te Buitenzorg. After his return to The Netherlands in 1946 he worked for the "Flora Malesiana Foundation".[3] De Wit was a gifted teacher[2] and on 20 September 1953[2] he became a lecturer at Leiden University[5] where he taught plant taxonomy and morphology of flowering plants[3] and on 1 November of the same year also at the Wageningen University and Research Centre where he taught taxonomy and tropical and subtropical plant geography.[2] In 1959 he left Leiden to become full professor in Wageningen[3] and on 15 September 1969 he became the head of the Laboratory of Plant Taxonomy and Plant Geography there.[2] De Wit retired in 1980, at which occasion a Festschrift was published in his honour.[6]

Scientific work[edit]

De Wit was especially interested in the Aroid genus Cryptocoryne, as well as the closely related Lagenandra on which he published extensively.[5] In all, he described 21 new species of Cryptocoryne and 6 species of the related genus Lagenandra.[5] A lifelong hobby were freshwater aquaria and in the late 1950s he edited an encyclopaedia for aquarists in 15 volumes, 2 of which (volumes 5 and 6) dealt with aquarium plants and were written by himself.[7] In 1966 these volumes were revised and published together as the first edition of his book Aquariumplanten was published.[8][9] It was translated in English in 1964[10] and in German in 1971.[11][12] After his retirement, he wrote a history of biology (Ontwikkelingsgeschiedenis van de biologie) in three volumes (1982–1989). A popularized version appeared in 1993 (Wat is leven? Een cultuurgeschiedenis van de biologie).

Primitiae Africanae[edit]

The first results of research workers in African botanical taxonomy, prepared under supervision of de Wit, were published in a series named Primitiae Africanae. Twelve articles were published in total, in different taxonomic journals.[13]

Eponymous species[edit]

Several plant species were named in his honour, such as Begonia bonus-henricus J.J. de Wilde,[14] Crudia dewitii Kostermans,[15] Cryptocoryne dewitii Jacobsen,[16][17][18] Homalium dewitii Kostermans,[19] Bauhinia dewitii K.Larsen & S.S.Larsen,[20] Rinorea dewitii Achound.,[21] and Lagenandra dewitii Crusio et de Graaf.[22]

Major works[edit]

  • de Wit, H.C.D. (1982 and 1989). Ontwikkelingsgeschiedenis van de biologie (in Dutch). 1, 2a, 2b. Wageningen, The Netherlands: PUDOC, Centrum voor Landbouwpublicaties en Landbouwdocumentatie. pp. xxxiii+1429. ISBN 9022007839.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bos, J.J. In Memoriam Professor Dr H.C.D. de Wit (1909–1999), Taxon, Vol. 48, No. 4 (Nov., 1999), pp. 847–848
  2. ^ a b c d e f Bogner, J. & Bastmeijer, J. (2001). In Memoriam - H.C.D. de Wit (1909–1999). Aroideana 24: 3-5
  3. ^ a b c d e Boelema, G. (1980). "Preface". In Arends J.C., Boelema G., de Groot C.T., and Leeuwenberg A.J.M. Liber Gratulatorius in Honorem H.C.D. de Wit. Miscellaneous Papers Landbouwhogeschool 19. Wageningen, The Netherlands: H. Veenman & Zonen BV. pp. 1–2. 
  4. ^ de Wit, H.C.D. (August 1941). "Contributions to the knowledge of the genus Setaria Beauv. in South Africa". Bulletin of Botanic Gardens, Buitenzorg, series III XVII: 87 pp. 
  5. ^ a b c "In memoriam Hendrik Cornelis Dirk de Wit (1909 – 1999)". Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  6. ^ Arends J.C., Boelema G., de Groot C.T., and Leeuwenberg A.J.M., ed. (1980). Liber Gratulatorius in Honorem H.C.D. de Wit. Miscellaneous Papers Landbouwhogeschool 19. Wageningen, The Netherlands: H. Veenman & Zonen BV. OCLC 7215638. 
  7. ^ de Wit, H.C.D., ed. (1957–1958). Het Handboek voor de Aquariumhouder. volume 1-15. Baarn, The Netherlands: Hollandia. 
  8. ^ de Wit, H.C.D. (1966). Aquariumplanten (1st ed.). Baarn, The Netherlands: Hollandia. p. 360. 
  9. ^ de Wit, H.C.D. (1983). Aquariumplanten (4th ed.). Baarn, The Netherlands: Hollandia. p. 360. ISBN 90 6045 172 4. 
  10. ^ de Wit, H.C.D. (1964). Aquarium Plants. London, UK: Blandford Press. p. 255. 
  11. ^ de Wit, H.C.D. (1971). Aquarienpflanzen (1st ed.). Stuttgart, Germany: Eugen Ulmer Verlag. p. 365. 
  12. ^ de Wit, H.C.D. (1990). Aquarienpflanzen (2nd ed.). Stuttgart, Germany: Eugen Ulmer Verlag. p. 464. ISBN 978-3-8001-7185-9. 
  13. ^ Crusio, W. (1979). "A revision of Anubias Schott (Araceae). (Primitiae Africanae XII)". Mededelingen Landbouwhogeschool Wageningen 79 (14): 1–48 (p. 47). 
  14. ^ de Wilde, J.J.F.E.; Arends, J.C. (1980). "Begonia section Squamibegonia Warb. A taxonomic revision". In Arends J.C., Boelema G., de Groot C.T., and Leeuwenberg A.J.M. Liber Gratulatorius in Honorem H.C.D. de Wit. Miscellaneous Papers Landbouwhogeschool 19. Wageningen, The Netherlands: H. Veenman & Zonen BV. pp. 377–421. 
  15. ^ "Crudia dewitii". Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  16. ^ Jacobsen, Niels (1977). "Cryptocoryne dewitii N. Jacobsen sp.nov. (Araceae)". Botaniska Notiser 130: 381–382. 
  17. ^ Jan D. Bastmeijer. "Cryptocoryne dewitii". Retrieved 2009-02-21. 
  18. ^ Idei, Takashige (2010). "Der natürliche Standort von Cryptocoryne dewitii N. Jacobsen (Araceae) in Papua Neuguinea". Aqua Planta 35 (1): 23–38. Retrieved 2010-02-25. 
  19. ^ Kostermans, A.J.G.H. (1980). "Notes on Ceylonese plants. I". In Arends J.C., Boelema G., de Groot C.T., and Leeuwenberg A.J.M. Liber Gratulatorius in Honorem H.C.D. de Wit. Miscellaneous Papers Landbouwhogeschool 19. Wageningen, The Netherlands: H. Veenman & Zonen BV. pp. 205–230. 
  20. ^ Larsen, K.; Larsen, S.S. (1978). "Bauhinia dewitii, a new Bornean species" (PDF). Gard. Bull. Singapore 31 (1): 1–3. 
  21. ^ Achoundong, Gaston (2005). "Two Further New Species of Rinorea (Violaceae) from Cameroon". Kew Bull. 60 (4): 581–586. 
  22. ^ Crusio, W.E.; de Graaf, A. (1986). "Lagenandra dewitii Crusio et de Graaf (Araceae), eine neue Art aus Sri Lanka". Aqua Planta 11: 56–59. 
  23. ^ "Author Query for 'de Wit'". International Plant Names Index.