Kollmann, George Joseph August


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

(Source: Flora Malesiana ser. 1, 5: Cyclopaedia of collectors, Supplement I)


Born: 1796, Würzburg, Germany. Died: March 8, 1839, Padang, Sumatra.



Surgeon, joined the D.E.I. Army in 1821, sailing for Java in August 1822, stationed at Buitenzorg; 1835-36 on European leave; from 1837 onwards stationed in Sumatra West Coast.

Phyllanthus kollmannianus Müll.Arg. was probably named after him.



In Herb. Munich [M]: some hundreds of Java plants;1 in Herb. Martius (= Brussels [BR]): 60 Java plants; in Herb. Brit. Mus. [BM]: Java plants (with Herb. Shuttleworth in 1877);2 Herb. N.Y. Bot. Garden [NY] (with Herb. Columbia Univ.): Java plants 1838 (w. Herb. Meisner), with yellow labels, ex Wallich Herb. (according to Wittrock).

Many Java plants are cited in the monographies in Pflanzenreich; specimens cited from Herb. Vienna [W], Munich [M], Herb. Hal. ( ? Halle); Decand. and Boiss. (Geneva [G]). Warburg cites some plants s.n. from Borneo from a certain Kollmann.3 cf. also sub Kohmann, and M.H.J. Kollman.

Some old documents and letters in the archives of the Leiden Herbarium throw a peculiar light on this plant collector. In June 1836 (evidently when on leave) Kollmann offered for sale to the Dutch Government a large collection (about 4200 species in numerous specimens + Hepaticae, Musci, and lichens) of dried plants. As no decision came off, Blume had them sent from Amsterdam to Leiden at his own expense. A first inspection brought a great surprise as it seemed hardly without doubt that among the plants were numerous specimens collected by Blume himself and by Zipelius. Blume took care to open the other cases in the presence of two witnesses (one of which E.A. Forsten) on Febr. 10, 1837. It was verified that only a very small part (about one tenth) of the collection was collected by Kollmann himself in the vicinity of Buitenzorg and in the Botanic Garden, most of these species being common stuff. The bulk partly consisted of plants collected by Blume, evidently the duplicates left by the latter at Buitenzorg when leaving Java in 1826, and besides part of the tatter’s collection which had mysteriously disappeared before his departure. The other part were plants collected by Zipelius of which no set as yet was in the Leiden Herbarium, though a written catalogue of it was present there A complete set and numerous duplicates of these were included in the collection Kollmann offered for sale, mostly with Zipelius’s original labels. As evidence, several of the labels, written in Blume’s, Kent’s (Blume’s Curator) and Zipelius’s handwriting, are attached to the proces verbal made up by the witnesses.

As Blume rightly considered that part of the collection as defalcated government property, he held back all those specimens and sent the remaining tenth back to Germany, where some friends of Kollmann, after his return to the Indies in 1836, had offered their intermediary in case the Dutch Government was not willing to buy. As the first offer was made to Holland, and only about one tenth of the plants were returned to Germany, it is probable that the Kollmann plants found in other herbaria are those common plants collected by K. himself. It is still unknown how and when Blume’s plants etc. came into Kollmann’s possession.4

Mr Alston found a fern labelled ‘Java Kollmann’ in Herb. Paris [P]: the specimen had been sent by Kunze to Bory.



(1) cf. Anz. Munch. Gelehrt. 31, 1850, p. 726; Flora N.R. 9, 1851, p. 7; and Hook. Lord. Journ. Bot. & Kew Gard. Misc. 3, 1851, p. 71.

(2) cf. ‘History of the Collections of the British Museum’ 1, 1904, p. 105.

(3) cf. ‘Monographie der Myristicaceen’ (Nov. Act. Acad. Naturforsch. 68, 1897, p. 640).

(4) More detailed data in M.J. van Steenis -Kruseman: ‘Kollmann’s collection of Javan plants’ (MS. to be published in Bull. Bot. Gard. Buit. 3rd ser., vol. 18).