Wilibald Swibert Joseph Gottlieb von Besser

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Portrait of Besser. Oil on canvas, 70×583 (1830s).

Wilibald Swibert Joseph Gottlieb von Besser (7 July 1784 – 11 October 1842) was an Austrian-born botanist who worked most of his life within the territory of western Ukraine.

Born in Innsbruck, he lost both of his parents when he was 13, afterwards being raised by a relative, S.B. Schivereck, who was a professor of botany at the University of Lemberg. Besser received his education at Lemberg, and in 1807 graduated from the University of Krakow. In 1808 he taught classes at a school in Volhynia, relocating as an instructor to Kremenets during the following year, where he was the director at the botanical garden there. In 1822, von Besser was elected member of the German Academy Leopoldina.[1] In 1834 he was appointed professor of botany at the University of Kiev. However, he resigned his position at Kiev three years later, returning to Kremenets, from where he conducted botanical and entomological studies for the remainder of his life.

Besser was a specialist involving botanical species of what was then the western part of the Russian Empire. He was a leading authority of the genus Artemisia.

The genus Bessera was named after him by Julius Hermann Schultes (1804-1840). The species Aconitum besserianum is also named after him.

Selected writings[edit]

  • Primitiae florae Galiciae Austriacae utriusque, (1809)
  • Enumeratio Plantarum Hucusque in Volhynia, Podloa, Gub. Kiovensis etc. (1822)
  • Ueber die Flora des Baikals, (1834)


  1. ^ http://www.leopoldina.org/en/members/list-of-members/member/1987/
  2. ^ IPNI.  Besser.