Collecting localities



Biographical data


Seemann, Bert(h)old Carl


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

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


Born: 1825, Hanover, Germany. Died: 1871, Javali, Nicaragua, Centr. America.



Came to Kew in 1844, full of desire to travel in foreign countries, with the object of fitting himself for the work of botanical collector. He was appointed successor of Thomas Edmonston who died during the expedition of the ‘Herald’ (see below), and joined that expedition in America.1 In 1853 Ph.Dr at Göttingen University. In 1860 he joined an expedition to the Fiji Islands;2 later he made some voyages to America with a commercial purpose, which resulted in his being appointed Managing Director of a gold-mine at Javali, Nicaragua.

He was founder, and for many years editor, of the serials Bonplandia (1853→) and Seemann Journal of Botany (1863-.).

Seemannia REGEL and Adianthum seemanni W.J. Hook. were named after him.


Collecting localities:

Voyage in the ‘Herald’, 1845-51.1 The ship sailed from Plymouth on June 26, 1845; Seemann left England in Aug. 1846, reached Panama on Sept. 22, and joined the expedition on Jan. 17, 1847. He explored the whole W. coast of America and a great part of S. America; homewards from Honolulu (Oct. 30, 1850) via Hongkong (Dec. 1-22), P. Aor (29), and Singapore (Dec. 30, 1850-Jan. 8, 1851); passing the Straits of Sunda, a party effecting a landing in S. Sumatra (Jan. 15); Keeling Islands; via the Cape and St Helena, reaching England, Spithead (June 6, 1851).



Herb. Brit. Mus. [BM]: 2000 plants forming the type collection of the ‘Herald’ (purch. 1862) and 450 plants from the South Sea Islands etc. coll. during the Voyage of the ‘Herald’ (pres. 1852); Herb. Kew [K]: 152 nos of the ‘Herald’ (acq. 1867), possibly identical with the Malayan and Chinese plants collected by Seemann and acquired with Herb. Hook. Also duplicates in Herb. Berlin [B], Vienna [W], and Herb. Decand. (Geneva [G]), possibly not from the ‘Herald’ expedition.

The collection of the ‘Herald’ was studied, eliminating the plants from Singapore and Sumatra.4



(1) B.C. Seemann: ‘Narrative of the voyage of H.M.S. Herald during the years 1845-1851, under the command of Capt. Henry Kellett; being a circumnavigation of the Globe, and three cruises to the arctic regions in search of Sir John Franklin’ (London 1853, 2 vols); transl. into German: ‘Reise um die Welt in 1845-1851’ (Hannover 1853, 2 vols).

For the period covering May 1848-Febr. 1850 cf. Journ. Bot. & Kew Gard. Misc. 1, 1849, p. 144-149, 185-188; and l.c. 2, 1850, p. 151-158, 179-182, 361-369. For the period Oct. 1850-June 1851 cf. in l.c. 4, 1852, p. 18-26.

For the itinerary in Alaska see Bot. Not. 1940, p. 300-301.

(2) Resulting in his ‘Flora Vitiensis’ (1865-73).

For dates of publication, see W.T. Stearn in J. Soc. Bibliogr. Nat. Hist. 4, 1963, p. 151-152.

(3) J. Britten: ‘Dr. Seemann’s study set’ (Journ. Bot. 27, 1889, p. 102-105).

(4) B.C. Seemann: ‘The botany of the voyage of H.M.S. Herald during the years 1845-51’ (London 1852-57, 10 pts preceded by a short summary of the voyage, 100 pl.; on the dates of issue cf. Journ. Bot. 59, 1921, p. 22-23, and the list of collaborators in l.c. p. 23-24).

For details on the drawings see Cl. Nissen, ‘Die botanische Buchillustration’ 1951, vol. 2, p. 169.


biographical data

Gard. Chron. 1871, p. 1678, w. portr.; Proc. Linn. Soc. 1871-72, p. i-xxiv; Trimen Journ. Bot. N.S. 1, 1872, p. 1-7, w. portr.; in Seemann, Flora Vitiensis, London 1865-73, p. xxxi-xxxiii + portr.; Bot. Zest. 30, 1872, p. 503-509; Pritzel, Thes. Lit. Bot., 1872; In Hemsley & Hooker, Biol. Centr.-Amer. 4, 1887, App. p. 132; Biogr. Index Britten & Boulger in Journ. Bot. 28, 1890, p. 280, and 2nd ed. by Rendle, 1931; Backer, Verkl. Woordenb., 1936.