Hofmeister, Wilhelm, 1824-1877. Vergleichende Untersuchungen der Keimung, Entfaltung und Fruchtblidung höherer Kryptogamen. (Moose, Farrn, Equisetaceen, Rhizocarpeen und Lycopodiaceen) und der Samenbildung der Coniferen.
Leipzig, Verlag von Friedrich Hofmeister, 1851.viii,179pp. 33 lithogr. plts.; 4to., 27cm.; mod. hfcl.; marbl. boards; text foxing due to quality of the paper. Plates with some foxing.
Heralds of Science no. 34. : "Entirely self-taught, Hofmeister attained full professorship and rank among the foremost botanists of the 1800s. He revealed the process of fertilization in non-flowering plants (cryptogams) as a regular alternation of sexual and asexual generations in the mosses, ferns horsetails and liverworts. The asexuel generation propagated by means of spores, alternating with one in which spermatozoids unite with ova. (First English ed. 1862 Sic!)." Norman no.1083: "Suminski's discovery 1848 that the fern plant was generated from male and female reproductive organs in the fern prothallus, coupled with Hofmeister's own exhaustive microscopical researches, led Hofmeister to the revolutionary conclusion that all green land plants undergo a regular alternation of dissimilar generations in their complete life stories. "The demonstration of a basic unitary pattern of life cycle in the plant kingdom was ... a great advance towards an all=embracing natural classification of plants. It showed the genetic relationship which underlies the diversity of plants, and destroyed such traditional divisions as cryptogams and phanerogams, now seen to be purely artifical and mere labels for lack of knowledge. At the same time, it pointed to new natural groupings of plants, based upon characters of development and structure. This extension of natural classification to higher taxonomic groupings could not fail to foster the growth of phylogenetic and evolutionary ideas". D.S.B. VI p. 465. "On the basis of his reputation, the Univ. of Rostock in January 1851 awarded the 26 Hofmeister an honorary doctorate of philosophy and master of liberal arts degree. This unevent preceded the publication of 'vergleichende Untersuchungen'... the work for which he is now remembered. ..... WITH THIS SINGLE PUBLICATION,THE CORE OF BOTANY PASSED FROM ITS MIDDLE AGES TO THE MODERN PERIOD. The books was obviously so important that the two main German botanical journals carried very laudatory reviews by their editors. ...As issued, Vergleichende Untersuchungen tended to collapse with heavy reference or textbook use. THIS EXPLAINS IST RARITY. OF THE APPROXIMATELY 100 EXTANT COPIES only five have been traded the last twenty years." Although Proskauer stated that there are 5 copies in trade, we couldn't trace one on what auction sale so ever. Nor in Hauswedell 1950 - 1994. Not in B.A.R. and not in in the Americ. Book Price Current. One of the most influential 19th century botanical books and one of the most scarcest ones. Dibner nr. 34. on the English ed.
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