International Carnivorous Plant Society

Ferdinand Jacob Heinrich von Mueller

Ferdinand Jacob Heinrich von Mueller (1825–1896)

Ferdinand Jacob Heinrich von Mueller was a German-Australian physician, geographer, explorer and most notably, a botanist. Apprenticed to a chemist at 15, he passed the pharmaceutical examinations and studied botany under Professor Ernst Ferdinand Nolte (1791–1875) at Kiel University. He received his Doctor of Philosophy in 1847 from Kiel for a thesis on the plants of the southern regions of Schleswig. In 1847, he and his two sisters sailed from Bremen bound for Australia. He arrived at Adelaide on 18 December 1847 and found employment as a chemist with Moritz Heuzenroeder in Rundle Street. In 1851, he thought he would open a chemist’s shop in the gold diggings, so he moved to Melbourne, the capital of the new colony of Victoria, to be closer to the gold rush. He was well known in botanical circles as he had contributed a few papers on botanical subjects to German periodicals.

Mueller was appointed Government Botanist for Victoria by Governor Charles La Trobe in 1853 and in the same year, Mueller established the National Herbarium of Victoria (MEL). From 1857 to 1873, he was director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. He described many new plant species sent by botanists from other parts of Australia, notably from Maurice William Holtze in the Northern Territory. Holtze was the director of the Botanic Garden at Port Darwin and with the assistance of his son, Nicholas, collected many new and undescribed species from the Darwin and Arnhem Land area. Of specific interest to Mueller were the tropical Utricularia found in this region. Mueller described 10 species of tropical Utricularia from the Darwin area and U. muelleri is named in honour.


For more information on the life of Ferdinand Jacob Heinrich von Mueller please see Wikipedia.

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Utricularia muelleri

Utricularia muelleri. Photo © Richard Nunn.




Ferdinand Jacob Heinrich von Mueller

Ferdinand Jacob Heinrich von Mueller.