Paul Hermann

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Paul Hermann (30 June 1646, Halle – 29 January 1695, Leiden) was a German born physician and botanist who for 15 years was director of the Hortus Botanicus Leiden.

Born in Halle, Germany, Paul Hermann was the son of Johann Hermann, a well-known organist, and Maria Magdalena Röber, a clergyman's daughter. After graduating from Europe's finest medical school, Padua, he was then engaged by the Dutch East India Company and went to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) as a Ship's Medical Officer. He was in their employ from 1672 to 1677. During his stay there, he made a scientific collection of this island's plants and other organisms. He was then offered the job at Leiden and took up the Chair of Botany at the University of Leiden in 1679 where he spent the rest of his professional life. He immediately set to making it the finest botanical garden in Europe.

Paradisus batavus by Paul Hermann, Leyden, 2nd Edn. 1705

Hermann's Paradisus batavus, a description of the plants of the Leyden university botanical garden, was published three years after his death in 1698 and edited by William Sherard. Sherard edited his notes and solicited patronage for the publication of this important book. They were students together in Paris of Tournefort in 1688. Later Sherard collected more of his notes and produced a catalogue published as Musaeum Zeylanicum (1717, 2nd edn.: 1727). Hermann's original Ceylon collection was used by Carolus Linnaeus when he wrote his Flora Zeylanica (1747) and Species plantarum (1753), using the abbreviation "Hermann herb." in those publications. After Hermann's collections had passed through many hands, they were eventually purchased by Sir Joseph Banks. Now they are kept at the Natural History Museum in London. Hermann was a very good botanical illustrator and had an excellent botanical grasp as declared by Linnaeus himself.


  • Cynosura materiae medicae : ante sedecim annos in lucem emissa, brevibusque annotatis exornata a Joh. Sigismundo Henningero, nunc diffusius explanata, et compositorum Medicamentorum Recensione aucta.... Argentorati : Beck, 1726 Digital edition of the University and State Library Düsseldorf.


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