Bryology and Bryophytes at the Rijksherbarium
Blumea: Biodiversity, Evolution and Biogeography of Plants , Volume 25 - Issue 1 p. 93- 102
The main task of the first directors of the Rijksherbarium consisted of the preparation of a catalogue of its Dutch East Indian and Japanese collections (cf. van Steenis-Kruseman’s paper in this volume). Among those who contributed to this catalogue was J. H. Molkenboer, a young physician who had graduated on a botanical thesis in 1840. From that year until 1846 he worked on vascular plant collections of the Rijksherbarium and got permission from its director (C. L. Blume) to devote part of his time to bryophytes. He sorted and arranged the Asian collections and started their identification together with his friend and colleague F. Dozy. In 1844 their first precursory paper appeared (‘Muscorum frondosorum novae species ex archipelago indico et Japonia’). They then trained a draughtsman and made a first attempt to prepare an illustrated survey of the moss flora of the Dutch East Indies and Japan. During the daytime they looked after their patients and during the evening and part of the night they worked on mosses. After the first instalment had appeared of their ‘Musci frondosi inediti archipelagici indici, etc.’ (1845— 1854) the university of Leiden awarded Molkenboer a honorary doctorate. They started a much more elaborate survey of the Dutch East Indian moss flora of which the results were to be published in their ‘Bryologia Javanica, etc.’ (1854— 1870). They intended to distribute specimens of species described in this work together with it. Unfortunately, Molkenboer died in 1854 after the prospectus and the first instalment had been distributed. Dozy continued the work but when he died in 1856 only ten instalments had been printed. Though Molkenboer and Dozy are best known by these publications they also published several smaller papers on Malesian mosses and liverworts, on Dutch bryophytes (culminating in their treatment of the Musci in the first edition of ‘Prodromus florae Batavae’), and they published a ‘Prodromus florae bryologicae Surinamensis’ (1854). The latter was largely based on F. L. Splitgerber’s collection in the herbarium of the university of Leiden. This serves as an example that they did not restrict themselves to the collections of the Rijksherbarium. Nowadays all collections concerned are found in that institute.
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Touw, A. (1979). Bryology and Bryophytes at the Rijksherbarium. Blumea: Biodiversity, Evolution and Biogeography of Plants, 25(1), 93–102.