Johan Ernst Adhemar Wirzén – the last demonstrator in botany at Alexander University


  • Henry Väre Finnish Museum of Natural History (Botany), University of Helsinki


Wirzén was the last Demonstrator in Botany (1839–1852) at Alexander University, Helsinki, Finland. His main duty was to instruct medical students on the subject of medicinal plants. He gave also lectures on officinal plants and plant taxonomy, and private lessons on plant physiology. He supervised six theses. In his own dissertation were given several erroneous records concerning vascular plants distributions in Finland. However, it was the first attemp to define the borders of biogeographical Finland. In 1833–1835 he studied Russian flora at Kazan University, on the Volga River. Based on field excursions there, he supervised a thesis In geographica plantarum per partem provinciae Casanensis distributione illustranda periculum. Two species new to science were described, viz. Echinospermum casanense and Stellaria mollis, and seven new varieties. Corresponding specimens have not been found in the Finnish Museum of Natural History, Botanical Museum (H). Wirzen’s new names have been completely overlooked by Russian and other taxonomists. Wirzén was considered to be a relatively weak botanist, but as a doctor of medicine he fared better.





Väre, H. (2013). Johan Ernst Adhemar Wirzén – the last demonstrator in botany at Alexander University. Memoranda Societatis pro Fauna et Flora Fennica, 890. Noudettu osoitteesta