Maurice William Holtze

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Maurice William Holtze, ISO (8 July 1840 – 12 October 1923) born in Hanover, Germany, was a botanist who established Darwin's Botanical Gardens in Fannie Bay, Darwin in 1878. When he left to take charge of Adelaide's Botanic Garden in 1891, his son Nicholas was appointed curator of the Darwin Botanical Gardens in his place.[1]

Holtze studied at Hildesheim and Osnabrück before serving an apprenticeship in Hanover, where he subsequently worked for four years in the Royal Gardens. He spent two years in the Imperial Gardens of St. Petersburg before emigrating in 1872 to Melbourne, then to Darwin, Northern Territory.[1]

While in Darwin (then called Palmerston, later Port Darwin) he made trial plantings of a large number of tropical plants of potential economic importance: rubber, rice, peanuts, tobacco, sugar, coffee, indigo and maize.[1] He supplied the sugarcane tubers for the Cox's (later Cox) Peninsula sugarcane venture in which B. C. DeLissa and W. H. and G. T. Bean had a large interest.

Holtze sent a large number of botanic specimens from the Darwin area and nearby islands, many of which had not been previously described, to Sir Ferdinand Mueller.

In Adelaide, succeeding the great Dr Schomburgk as curator, he did much to make the Botanic Gardens an attractive place for the general public to visit, a novel policy at the time. He established lakes populated with water-lilies and lotuses, which became quite famous.[2]

He retired in 1917 and died at Kangaroo Island, South Australia in the home of his daughter.[3] He is buried in Penneshaw Cemetery, Kangaroo Island, South Australia along with his wife, Evlampia (née Mizinzoff), who died 5 July 1937.[4] A son, Alexis L. Holtze, was Horticultural correspondent for the Mount Barker Courier, and editor of the Garden and Field.[5]


  • Clerodendron holtzei (now Clerodendrum holtzei), Sida holtzei, Habenaria holtzei and Polyalthia holtzeana were named for him.[1]
  • Probably also Northern Territory natives Uvaria holtzei, Aristolochia holtzei, Polycarpaea holtzei (incorrectly Polycarpaea holtzii), Trichosanthes holtzei, Goodenia holtzeana, Utricularia holtzei, Calochilus holtzei, Habenaria holtzei (since renamed Habenaria rumphii), Sterculia holtzei,[6] Eulophia holtzei, Piper holtzei, Hibbertia holtzei and Calogyne holtzeana.[7] of which all but two were described by Ferdinand Mueller.
  • He was awarded the I.S.O. in 1913.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Kraehenbuehl, D. K. "Holtze, Maurice William (1840–1923)" Australian Dictionary of Biography Online, accessed 20 March 2011
  2. ^ a b Dr Holtze I.S.O. The Register 4 June 1913 p.13 accessed 20 March 2011
  3. ^ "A NOTED BOTANIST.". The Register (Adelaide). LXXXVIII, (25,834). South Australia. 15 October 1923. p. 9. Retrieved 2 March 2016 – via National Library of Australia. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Personal.". The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser. SA: National Library of Australia. 9 February 1906. p. 3. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  6. ^ TENPS Checklist of NT Vascular Plant Species accessed 20 August 2011
  7. ^ Checklist of Northern Territory Plants accessed 20 August 2011