Theodor von Heldreich

Theodor Heinrich Hermann von Heldreich (3 March 1822 – 7 September 1902 ) was a German botanist born in Dresden.

Theodor von Heldreich


Scion of an old aristocratic family, he was the son of Conrad Friedrich Robert Heldreich and Amalia Charlotte Humbold. He initially studied philosophy. A love of botany, however, took him to Montpellier in 1837 to study under Professor Michel Félix Dunal. He later completed his botanical education in Geneva (1838–1842). His first botanical expedition was to Sicily, after which he published his first work “Tre nuove specie di piante scoverte nella Sicilia”. From 1843 to 1848 he travelled extensively throughout Italy, Greece, Asia Minor and Crete. During 1849 and 1850 he lived in England, and then for a year in Paris where he served as curator of P. Barker Webb’s herbarium. In 1851 he settled permanently in Greece, where he carried out rigorous botanical investigations, publishing thirteen volumes of the “Herbarium Graecum Normale” between 1856 and 1896. In Greece he served as director of the court garden for over 50 years, as well as director of the natural history museum, where in addition to the department of botany he helped create departments of zoology and paleontology. Between 1880 and 1883 he taught natural history to the children of the royal family.

Heldreich discovered seven new genera and 700 new species of plants, 70 of which bear his name.

In 1855 Theodor von Heldreich married Sofia, daughter of I. Katakouzinos and granddaughter of Greek scholar and patriot, Konstantinos Koumas. With Sofia he had two daughters, Karolina, who married Gangolf von Kieseritzky, Curator of Antiquities at the Imperial Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, and Ioanna, who married Mark Mindler, attorney and head of the stenographer’s office of the Greek Parliament. Theodor von Heldreich was a good friend of Charles Darwin.

He died in Athens on 7 September 1902.

Published worksEdit

In addition to a great number of monographs published in reputable journals in Greece and abroad, he also published scholarly works in Greek, Latin, German, Italian and French, including:

♦ “Ueber Griechische Arbutus Arten” (1844)
♦ “Catalogus Plantarum Hispanicarum in Provincia Giennensi” (1850)
♦ “Ueber die neue arkadische Tanne” (1860)
♦ “Descriptio specierum novarum” (1860)
♦ “Zur Kenntniss der griechischen Tannen” (1861)
♦ “Ueber Pflanzen der griechischen, insbesondere der Attischen Flora, die als Zierpflanzen empfehlenswerthsind” (1861)
♦ “Tulipa Orphanidea Boiss und die Tulpen Griechenlands” (1862)
♦ “Die Nutzpflanzen Griechenlands” with particular reference to modern Greek and Pelasgic common names (Athens 1862)
♦ “Sertulum plantarum novarum vel. minus cognitarum Florae Hellenicae” (Florence 1876)
♦ “Zwei neue Pflanzenarten der Jonischen Inseln” (Vienna, 1877)
♦ “Ueber die Liliaceen-Gattung Leopoldia und ihre Arten” (Moscow 1878)
♦ “La Faune de la Grèce” (Athens 1878)
♦ “Der Asphodelos, ein griechisches Pflanzenbild” (Berlin 1881)
♦ “Flore de l’ile de Céphalonie” (Lausanne 1883)
♦ “On a Botanical Excursion in Attica” (Athens 1883)
♦ “Bericht über die botanischen Ergebaisse einer Bereisung Thessaliens” (Berlin 1883)
♦ “On the Hyoscyamus” (Athens 1884)
♦ “On the Hop (Humulus lupulus) and its cultivation in Greece” (Athens 1885)
♦ “Note sur une nouvelle espèce de Centaurea de l’ile de Crète” (Paris 1890)
♦ “The Flora of Mt. Parnassus” (Athens 1890)
♦ “Homeric Flora” (Athens 1896)
♦ “Study on the Pellitory (Parietaria), a Medicinal Herb of the Ancients” (Athens 1899)
♦ “The Flora of Aegina” (Athens, 1898)
♦ “On the Strychnos of the Ancients” (Athens, 1899)
♦ “The Flora of Thera” (Athens 1899)
♦ “On the Plants Providing Greek Tea” (Athens 1900)
♦ “Botany in Relation to Mathematics” (Athens 1901)
♦ “Contributions to the Compilation of a Flora of the Cyclades” (Athens 1901)
♦ “Fungi in the Economy of Nature” (Athens 1901).

In 1880 he published a romance entitled “Mussinitza”, in 1887 “A Sketch on the Death of Professor of Botany and Poet Theodoros G. Orphanides”, in 1887 “The Flower, from a Historical, Natural and Aesthetic Viewpoint”, and in 1889 “The Lily, Examined from a Fictional and Historical Perspective”.


The plant genus Heldreichia (endemic to Turkey with 3 species) the plant taxa Acer heldreichii, Allium heldreichii, Carum heldreichii, Chaerophyllum heldreichii, Centaurea heldreichii, Cirsium heldreichii, Crepis heldreichiana, Helichrysum heldreichii, Hieracium heldreichii, Alyssum heldreichii, Jasione heldreichii, Trifolium heldreichianum, Jankaea heldreichii, Muscari heldreichii, Juncus heldreichianus, Gagea heldreichii, Alcea heldreichii, Goniolimon heldreichii, Myosurus heldreichii, Crataegus heldreichii, Galium heldreichii, Viola heldreichiana, Pinus heldreichii, Isoetes heldreichii, the praying mantis Ameles heldreichi and the grasshopper Glyphotmethis heldreichi are some species named after him.


  1. ^ IPNI.  Heldr.