Rudolf Schlechter

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Rudolf Schlechter
Rudolf Schlechter
Friedrich Richard Rudolf Schlechter

(1872-10-16)16 October 1872
Died16 November 1925(1925-11-16) (aged 53)
Scientific career
Author abbrev. (zoology)Schltr.

Friedrich Richard Rudolf Schlechter (16 October 1872 – 16 November 1925) was a German taxonomist, botanist, and author of several works on orchids.

He went on botanical expeditions in Africa, Indonesia, New Guinea, South and Central America and Australia.[1]

His vast herbarium was destroyed during the bombing of Berlin in 1945.

Early life[edit]

Rudolf Schlechter was born on 16 October 1872 in Berlin, the third of six children. His father Hugo Schlechter was a lithographer. After finishing school at the Friedrich Wilhelm Gymnasium he started a horticulture education, first at a gardening market, later at the University of Berlin garden. There he worked as an assistant till the autumn of 1891. His brother was Max Schlechter (1874–1960), was a German trader and collector of natural history specimens.[2]


Schlechter began his career of botanical fieldwork by leaving Europe in 1891 to journey to Africa and subsequently across Indonesia and Australia. Throughout his career he has focused on expanding his research collection of orchids. He was a leader of expeditions in German Africa, investigating the Caoutchouc industry, but continually collecting plant specimens. He also lived extensively in German New Guinea in the first decade of the new century. Before World War I he settled in Berlin, marrying his wife Alexandra Schlechter and becoming curator of Berlin's botanical garden in Dahlem. He is estimated to have proposed one thousand new species in the family Orchidaceae alone.[3]


  • Die Orchideen von Deutsch-Neu-Guinea, 1914
  • Die Orchideen, ihre Beschreibung, Kultur und Züchtung, 1915
  • Orchideologiae sino-japonicae prodromus, 1919
  • Orchidaceae Powellianae Panamenses, 1922
  • Die Orchideenflora der südamerikanischen Kordillerenstaaten (written with Rudolf Mansfeld), 1919–1929
  • Monographie und Iconographie der Orchideen Europas und des Mittelmeergebietes (written with G. Keller), 1925–1943
  • Blütenanalysen neuer Orchideen (published by R. Mansfeld), 1930–1934


Several genera of plants have been named in his honour,[5] Schlechterella (in the Apocynaceae family),[6]Schlechterina (in the Passifloraceae family),[7] and also Rudolfiella Hoehne, (in the Orchidaceae family).[8]


  1. ^ "SchlechterFRR".
  2. ^ "Max Schlechter". Retrieved 8 December 2021.
  3. ^ "".
  4. ^ International Plant Names Index.  Schltr.
  5. ^ Burkhardt, Lotte (2022). Eine Enzyklopädie zu eponymischen Pflanzennamen [Encyclopedia of eponymic plant names] (pdf) (in German). Berlin: Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum, Freie Universität Berlin. doi:10.3372/epolist2022. ISBN 978-3-946292-41-8. S2CID 246307410. Retrieved 27 January 2022.
  6. ^ "Search for Schlechterella", World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 14 October 2018
  7. ^ "Schlechterina Harms | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science". Plants of the World Online. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  8. ^ "Rudolfiella Hoehne | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science". Plants of the World Online. Retrieved 19 October 2022.