Collecting localities



Biographical data


Kämpfer, Engelbert


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

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


Born: 1651, Lemgo, N of Detmold, Germany. Died: 1716, Lemgo, Germany.



Secretary of the Swedish Embassy to Russia and Persia.1 Subsequently (since 1685) for 8 years surgeon in the employ of the Dutch E.I.C.; on his extensive travels he performed important investigations. He was back in Europe in Oct. 1693, took his degree in the University of Leiden (1694) and when back in Germany was later appointed physician of the Count of Lippe.

Author of a book on the geography and natural history of Japan.2

He is commemorated in the genus Kaempferia L.


Collecting localities:

After taking leave of the Embassy, he arrived at Bender-Abassi (Persia) towards the end of 1685; after a serious illness he embarked (June 1688) on the Dutch fleet and sailed via Brit. India, Ceylon, and Bengal, to Sumatra (1688).-W. Java: Batavia (mid-Sept. 1689-May 6, 1690), intent upon the study of the flora, e.g. on P. Edam.3 -Embarking (May 7, 1690) for Japan (and Siam); on the way thither touching at P. Tioman (E of the Malay Peninsula).4-Sailing from Decima (Oct. 31, 1692) to Java again: Batavia (staying 2 months); returning (Febr. 1693) via the Cape to Europe, arriving at Amsterdam in October.



Herb. Brit. Mus. [BM] (with Herb. Sloane);5 also MSS.



(1) This period resulted in his ‘Amoenitates Exoticae’ (1712); the 6th and last part, containing the description and figuration of 500 plants, was lost before publication.

(2) ‘Beschrijving van Japan’ (1729). In this book he possibly made use of the notes of ex-Governor-General J. Camphuis (cf. O. van Haren: ‘Leven van den g.g. Joannes Camphuis’ 1772, p. 63).

(3) His ‘Plantae in insula Edam repertae’ in the Brit. Mus., Sloane MS. 2910, p. 215-245.

(4) cf. Gard. Bull. Str. Settlem. 5, 1930, p. 84-85.

(5) cf. Seem. Journ. Bot. 5, 1867, p. 250.


biographical data:

Haller, Bibl. Bot. 2, 1772, p. 23-24; Séguier, Bibl. Bot., 1760, p. 95; Tijdschr. Neêl. Ind. 22, 1839, p. 22-24; Lasègue, Mus. Bot. Deless., 1845, p. 408-409; L. de Rosney: ‘Engelbert Kaempfer, sa vie, ses écrits, ses voyages’ (in Variétés Orientales 1865; 3rd ed. 1872, p. 98-122); Seem. Journ. Bot. 5, 1867, p. 250 (monument); Die Natur 20, 1871, p. 111-112, 118-120, 137-140; Sirks, Ind. Nat. Onderz., Amsterdam 1915, p. 13-14; L.S.A.M. von Römer, Historische schetsen, Batavia 1921, p. 90-95, pl. 53, 59; Backer, Verkl. Woordenb., 1936; Ned. Kruidk. Arch. 51, 1941, p. 356; l.c. 53, 1943, p. 243; Cl. Nissen: ‘Die botanische Buchillustration’ 1951, p. 89-91; K. Meier-Lemgo: ‘Die Briefe Engelbert Kaempfers (1651-1716)’ (Abh. math.-naturw. Kl. Akad. Wiss. Mainz no 6, 1965, p. 265-314).