Biographical data


Bürger, Heinrich


(Source: Flora Malesiana ser. 1, 8: Cyclopaedia of collectors, Supplement II)


Born: 1804 or 1806, Hameln on the Weser, Hanover, Germany. Died: 1858, Indramaju, Java.



Of his education not much is known with certainty, but it seems that he was, from 1821, a student in mathematics at Göttingen University. He used the doctor’s title. In 1823 he went to Holland and sailed for Java to be appointed apprentice pharmacist in the hospital at Weltevreden. In 1825 he was, at his own request, put at the disposal of the surgeon-major Ph.F. von Siebold in Deshima, the Dutch settlement in Japan. In 1828 he took over part of von Siebold’s function and up to 1835 he sent large zoological1 and botanical collections from Japan to Leiden. He was commissioned to Java in 1832, and in 1833 joined an expedition of the ‘Natuurkundige Commissie’ to the Padang Uplands (see P.W. Korthals) as a mineralogist.2 He was pensioned in 1843, and returned to Java as a private citizen; there, his business interests lay in many fields. In 1854 J. Motley (see there) was his guest in Batavia.

Especially Miquel has named many Japanese plants in his honour.



Japanese plants in Herb. Leiden [L] and in several other herbaria. It seems probable that he is the ‘Burger’ (see Cycl. Fl. Mal. 1, 1, 1950, p. 91) who sent botanical material (presumably from Java) to Blume, as his name was often written in that way. Dr Leenhouts of the Rijksherbarium [L] remembers to have seen Sumatra specimens of the Blume herbarium with a ‘B’ at the left upper corner of the label, which by exclusion he inferred to be Burger specimens.



(1) Cf. L.B. Holthuis in ‘Early European Investigations on Japanese Carcinology (1640-1854)’ (Study of Mollusca no 3, 1967, p. 15-20) and L.B. Holthuis & T. Sakai: ‘Ph.F. von Siebold and Fauna Japonica. A history of early Japanese Zoology’ 1970, p. 37-42.

(2) H. Burger, Phil. Dr.: ‘Aanteekeningen op eene reize door een gedeelte der Noord-Westkust van Sumatra.... in het jaar 1833. Etc.’ (Verb. Bat. Gen. K. & W. 16, 1836, (159)-(226)).


biographical data:

Blumea 11, 1962, p. 495-505.