Richard Maack

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Richard Maack
Richard Karlovic Maak.jpg
Born(1825-09-04)September 4, 1825
DiedNovember 25, 1886(1886-11-25) (aged 61)
OccupationNaturalist, geographer, botanist, and educator

Richard Otto Maack (also Richard Karlovic Maak, Russian: Ричард Карлович Маак; 4 September 1825 – 25 November 1886) was a 19th-century Russian naturalist, geographer, and anthropologist. He is most known for his exploration of the Russian Far East and Siberia,[1] particularly the Ussuri and Amur River valleys.[2] He wrote some of the first scientific descriptions of the natural history of remote Siberia and collected many biological specimens, many of which were original type specimens of previously unknown species.[2]

Ethnically Maack was a Baltic German from Estonia;[3] however, the Russian Empire controlled this country during his lifetime. He was a member of the Siberian branch of the Russian Geographical Society.[4]


"Interior of a Mangun House", drawing by R. Maack

He studied natural sciences at the University of St. Petersburg. In 1852 he became a professor of natural sciences at the Gymnasium in Irkutsk and later director of the school. From 1868 to 1879, he was the superintendent of all schools of northern Siberia.

During the 1850s he undertook a number of expeditions in Siberia including those to the Amur River valley (1855–1856) and the Ussuri River (1859). He also participated in the Russian Geographical Society's first expedition (1853–55) to describe the orography, geology and population of the Vilyuy and Chona River basins.[5]

He is credited with discovering Syringa reticulata var. amurensis simultaneously and independently of Carl Maximowicz.[6]

Plants named after him[edit]

Maack is most famous for collecting previously unknown species and sending specimens back for scientific descriptions and naming. A number of those he found on his Amur River expedition bear his name.[7]

Animals named after him[edit]

Plants named by him[edit]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Puteshestvie na Amur/Путешествие на Амур (Travels on the Amur). 1859. St. Petersburg.
  • Puteshestvie po doline ryeki Ussuri/Путешествие в долину реки Уссури (Journey through the Ussuri river valley). 1861 St. Petersburg.
  • Вилюйский округ Якутской области (Vilyuysky District Yakut area) (1877–86)
  • Очерк флоры Уссурийской страны (Essay flora Ussuri country) 1862.
  • Енисейская губерния (Yenisei province) in the "List of settlements Russian Empire".


  1. ^ The Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture by Liberty Hyde Bailey, 1916, pg. 124.
  2. ^ a b "Antiquarian Books". Archived from the original on February 16, 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-16. Maak, R.K. Atlas to «Travel on the Amur river made by order of the Siberian department of the Emperor’s Russian Geographical Society in 1855». Saint-Petersburg, S.F. Soloviev, 1859.
  3. ^ CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names 2000, By Umberto Quattrocchi. p. 1573.
  4. ^ Literature of Travel and Exploration 2002. By Jennifer Speake. Taylor & Francis. p. 1040.
  5. ^ Great Soviet Encyclopedia Richard Maak. Materials provided by the project Rubrikon.
  6. ^ Lilacs By John L. Fiala, 2002 p. 45. Timber Press.
  7. ^ Coombes, Allen J. (2012). The A to Z of Plant Names: A Quick Reference Guide to 4000 Garden Plants, p. 196, at Google Books
  8. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Maack", p. 164).
  9. ^ IPNI.  Maack.