Jump to content

Carl Sigismund Kunth

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Carl Sigismund Kunth
Born(1788-06-18)June 18, 1788
DiedMarch 22, 1850(1850-03-22) (aged 61)
Alma materUniversity of Berlin

Carl Sigismund Kunth (18 June 1788 – 22 March 1850) was a German botanist. He was also known as Karl Sigismund Kunth or anglicized as Charles Sigismund Kunth. He was one of the early systematic botanists who focused on studying the plants of the Americas. Kunth's notable contributions include the publication of Nova genera et species plantarum quas in peregrinatione ad plagam aequinoctialem orbis novi collegerunt Bonpland et Humboldt. This work spanned seven volumes and was published between 1815 and 1825.

Early life[edit]

He was born in Leipzig, Germany. Kunth became a merchant's clerk in Berlin in 1806. His interest in botany was sparked when he met Alexander von Humboldt, who facilitated his attendance at lectures held at the University of Berlin.


Kunth served as Humboldt's assistant in Paris from 1813 to 1819, during which time he meticulously examined and described the plants collected by Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland during their expedition through the Americas.[1]

Upon his return to Berlin in 1820, Kunth assumed the position of Professor of Botany at the University of Berlin, as well as Vice President of the Berlin botanical garden. In recognition of his contributions, he was elected as a member of the Academy of Sciences in Berlin in 1829.

In 1829, Kunth embarked on a three-year journey to South America, traversing Chile, Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, Central America, and the West Indies.


Following his death in 1850, the Prussian government acquired Kunth's botanical collection, which subsequently became part of the esteemed Royal Herbarium in Berlin.

Kunth described and named numerous species and genera. He named certain genera in honor of his colleagues and collaborators, including Gaudichaudia. Contemporaries reciprocated by naming species after him. Although Bonpland initially named the genus Kunthia in his honor (now considered synonymous with Chamaedorea).[2] Additionally, Gaudichaud named a Hawaiian fern species, Doodia kunthiana (family Blechnaceae), after him. Another floral tribute is the Nilgiri flower Strobilanthes kunthiana, which bears his name.[3]

  • Note: Kunth = C.S. Kunth; H.B.K. = Humboldt, Bonpland & Kunth

Selected publications[edit]

  • Bonpland, Aimé; Humboldt, Alexander von; Kunth, Karl Sigismund (1815–1825). Nova genera et species plantarum :quas in peregrinatione ad plagam aequinoctialem orbis novi collegerunt /descripserunt, partim adumbraverunt Amat. Bonpland et Alex. de Humboldt; ex schedis autographis Amati Bonplandi in ordinem digessit Carol. Sigismund. Kunth ... 7 vols. Antwerp: Christophori Plantini., (also on Botanicus)
  • Les mimosees et autres plantes legumineuses du nouveau continent (1819)
  • Synopsis plantarum quas in itinere ad plagain aequinoctialem orbis novi collegerunt Humboldt et Bonpland (1822–3)
  • Les graminees de l'Amerique du Sud (2 vols., 1825–1833)
  • Handbuch der Botanik (Berlin, 1831)
  • Enumeratio Plantarum Omnium Hucusque Cognitarum, Secundum Familias Naturales Disposita, Adjects Characteribus, Differentiis et Synonymis. Stutgardiae et Tubingae: Sumtibus J. G. Cottae. 1843.
  • Lehrbuch der Botanik (1847)
  • Les melastomees et autres plantes legumineuses de l'Amerique du Sud (1847–1852)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Daum, Andreas (2019). Alexander von Humboldt. Munich: C.H. Beck. p. 78. ISBN 978-3-406-73436-6.
  2. ^ "Kunthia Bonpl. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science". Plants of the World Online. Retrieved 2023-06-08.
  3. ^ Bera, Soumen; Das, Sibsankar; Kalindi, Dharmadas (2020). "Botany, pharmacology and conservation status of wonder flower: Neelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana (Nees) T. Anderson ex Benth)". Bulletin of the National Research Centre. 44 (1). doi:10.1186/s42269-020-00379-9. ISSN 2522-8307. S2CID 257115386.
  4. ^ International Plant Names Index.  Kunth.