Rudolf Schlechter

Intro German taxonomist, botanist and orchidologist
A.K.A. Schltr., Friedrich Richard Rudolf Schlechter
Was Curator Scientist Botanist
From Germany
Type Arts Science
Gender male
Birth 16 October 1872, Berlin, Margraviate of Brandenburg
Death 16 November 1925, Berlin, Margraviate of Brandenburg (aged 53 years)
Star sign Libra
Residence Germany, Germany

Friedrich Richard Rudolf Schlechter (16 October 1872 – 16 November 1925) was a German taxonomist, botanist, and author of several works on orchids. He went on botanical expeditions in Africa, Indonesia, New Guinea, South and Central America and Australia. His vast herbarium was destroyed during the bombing of Berlin in 1945.

Early life

Rudolf Schlechter was born on 16 October 1872 in Berlin, the third of six children. His father Hugo Schlechter was a lithographer. After finishing school at the Friedrich Wilhelm Gymnasium he started a horticulture education, first at the gardening market of Mrs. Bluth and then at the University of Berlin garden. There he worked as an assistant till the autumn of 1891.


Rudolf Schlechter began his career of botanical fieldwork by leaving Europe in 1891 to journey to Africa and subsequently across Indonesia and Australia. Throughout his career he has focused on expanding his research collection of orchids. He was a leader of expeditions in German Africa, investigating the Caoutchouc industry, but continually collecting plant specimens. He also lived extensively in German New Guinea in the first decade of the new century. Before World War I he settled in Berlin, marrying his wife Alexandra Schlechter and becoming curator of Berlin's botanical garden in Dahlem. He is estimated to have proposed one thousand new species in the family Orchidaceae alone.


Die Orchideen von Deutsch-Neu-Guinea, 1914 Die Orchideen, ihre Beschreibung, Kultur und Züchtung, 1915 Orchideologiae sino-japonicae prodromus, 1919 Orchidaceae Powellianae Panamenses, 1922 Die Orchideenflora der südamerikanischen Kordillerenstaaten (written with Rudolf Mansfeld), 1919–1929 Monographie und Iconographie der Orchideen Europas und des Mittelmeergebietes (written with G. Keller), 1925–1943 Blütenanalysen neuer Orchideen (published by R. Mansfeld), 1930–1934 The standard author abbreviation Schltr. is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name.

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