Eichler system

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A system of plant taxonomy, the Eichler system was the first phylogenetic (phyletic) or evolutionary system.[1][2] It was developed by August W. Eichler (1839–1887), initially in his Blüthendiagramme (1875–1878) and then in successive editions of his Syllabus (1876–1890).[3][4][5] After his death his colleague Adolf Engler (1844–1930) continued its development, and it became widely accepted.

The system was based on dividing the plant kingdom into those plants with concealed reproductive organs (non-floral), the (Cryptogamae, = hidden reproduction) and those with visible reproductive organs (floral), the (Phanerogamae, = visible reproduction).[6] Moreover, Eichler was the first taxonomist to separate the Phanerogamae into Angiosperms and Gymnosperms and the former into Monocotyledonae and Dicotyledonae.[7]

Syllabus (Fourth edition 1886)[edit]

The system (here taken from the 4th edition of the Syllabus, 1886) divides plants into divisions, classes and groups. Groups were further divided into orders.

  • Note: ranks translated into Latin
German Botanical Ranks
German Latin English
Abteilung divisio Division
Unterabteilung subdivisio Subdivision
Klasse classis Class
Reihe ordo Order
Unterreihe subordo Suborder
Fam. familia Family
Unterfam. subfamilia Subfamily
Gruppe tribus Tribe
Gattung genus Genus
Art species Species

Outline: p. 6.[8] Page numbers refer to text

Class Monocotyleae[edit]



Works by Eichler[edit]


Note: This is a selected list of the more influential systems. There are many other systems, for instance a review of earlier systems, published by Lindley in his 1853 edition, and Dahlgren (1982). Examples include the works of Scopoli, Batsch and Grisebach.