The eighth volume of Flora Malesiana is dedicated to the memory of the Dutch botanist F. A. W. Miquel, who, even though he never visited the tropics, contributed greatly to the development of the knowledge of the Malesian flora. He did so not just through his well-known Flora Indiae Batavae, but certainly also through his role in re-activating the Rijksherbarium during and following the somewhat difficult aftermath of BLUME’S reign, and in rallying the support of Dutch and foreign botanists to study the many collections from the ‘East Indies’ which reached the Netherlands in the years between 1840 and 1870. Miquel also played an inconspicuous, but as it turned out, decisive part in the introduction of Cinchona in Java and last, but not least, left an important heritage in the person of his pupil Scheffer who became director of 's-Lands Plantentuin (Hortus bogoriensis) at Buitenzorg (Bogor), Java, in 1868 and who had a profound effect on the development of the gardens as well as on botanical and agricultural research in the former Netherlands East Indies. The Miquel period in Dutch systematic and tropical botany was characterized by an enthusiastic attempt to lay a foundation for a better knowledge of the Suriname and Indonesian floras; attempts which resulted in a preliminary, even though not always sufficiently critical, survey of what was known. A well organized home-basis for systematic studies was set up in the revitalized Rijksherbarium, and through Miquel’s own herbarium, sold to the University, a similar basis was established at Utrecht for the study of the Suriname flora. Miquel had good contacts with collectors in the field as well as with the gardens and herbarium at Buitenzorg (Bogor). At a time when the British colonial floras and the Flora Brasiliensis were written, he attempted to create at least a modest basis for similar Dutch activities for the study of the hitherto unsufficiently recognized and described dazzling tropical organic diversity. A brief biography is in order for this dedication as a late salute to a great botanist who could not even dream of the scope of the future Flora Malesiana, but who would have been one of its most enthusiastic supporters. For references to other literature and to sources I must refer to my more extensive biography and bibliography of Miquel published in 1966 and to the important collection of documents from which Miquel’s relations with his colleagues in Holland and abroad can best be seen, namely the collection of letters written to Miquel, now in the Utrecht University Library. Frequent correspondence was entertained with, for instance, Hasskarl, Horsfield, Junghuhn, Teysmann and Kurz, to mention only a few of Miquel’s more than 200 correspondents. These letters vividly illustrate the difficult conditions under which collectors and botanists worked, and often account for otherwise puzzling characteristics of the literature on the Malesian flora of the Miquel era.
|Journal||Flora Malesiana - Series 1, Spermatophyta|
|Rights||Released under the CC-BY 4.0 ("Attribution") License|
Stafleu, F.A. (1974). Dedication. Flora Malesiana - Series 1, Spermatophyta, 8(1), 6–19.