Matthias Jakob Schleiden

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Related to Matthias Jakob Schleiden: Rudolf Virchow, cell theory, Theodor Schwann

Schleiden, Matthias Jakob


Born Apr. 5,1804, in Hamburg; died June 23, 1881, in Frankfurt. German botanist and public figure.

Schleiden graduated from the University of Heidelberg in 1827. He was a professor of botany at the University of Jena between 1839 and 1862, and the director of the botanical gardens there from 1850. In 1863–64 he was a professor of anthropology at the University of Dorpat (present-day Tartu).

Schleiden, a reformer of contemporary botany, used the inductive method to criticize the philosophy of natural science and narrowly systematic methods in The Fundamentals of Scientific Botany (1842–43). His main works deal with plant anatomy and embryology. Schleiden substantiated the ontogenetic approach to the study of plant morphology and played an important role in the development of cell theory. He was one of the predecessors and advocates of Darwinism. In individual experiments he made a number of errors, such as his conception of the neogenesis of cells from structureless substances or of the development of the embryo from the pollen tube. Schleiden was the author of popular science books, which have been translated into Russian, and of collections of poetry.


Grundzüge der wissenschaftlichen Botanik, 4th ed. Leipzig, 1861.


Ritter, G. “Matthias Jakob Schleiden (1804–1881).” Estestvoznanie i geografiia, 1905, no. 2.