Christian Friedrich Ecklon

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Christian Friedrich Ecklon (1795 in Åbenrå – 1868 in Cape Town) was a Danish botanical collector and apothecary.

Ecklon collected extensively in South Africa. His first visit was in 1823, as first an apothecary's apprentice and then pharmacist, looking for plants with medicinal value. Lack of funding and a deteriorating health forced him to live in poor circumstances, selling bulbs or preparing herbal remedies. Nevertheless, when he returned to Europe in 1828, he had collected an extensive herbarium. During his stay in Hamburg, from 1833 to 1838, he worked on revising this collection. This herbarium would become the basis for the Flora Capensis (1860–1865) by his friend, the Hamburg pharmacist Otto Wilhelm Sonder (1812–1881) in collaboration with the Irish botanist William Henry Harvey (1811–1866). The herbarium was later sold to Unio Itineraria, a Württemberg Botanical Society.

Ecklon was the author, with Karl Ludwig Philipp Zeyher who had travelled with him from 1829, of Enumeratio Plantarum Africae Australis Extratropicae (1835-7), a descriptive catalogue of South African plants. Ecklon later returned to South Africa, where he died in 1868.

The herbaria of Lehmann and Sonder in the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm gives special reference to the collection of Ecklon and Zeyher.

One of his pupils was Friedrich Heinrich Theodor Freese (c. 1795 – 1876), a German physician–botanist, who also studied South African plants.

According to IPNI, Ecklon named a total of 1974 different genera or species.

Like many botanists he was an entomologist making collections of plant associated insects.

The genus Ecklonia, including Ecklon's kelp (Ecklonia biruncinata or E. radiata), as well as Ecklon's Purple Iceplant (Delosperma ecklonis 'Bright Eyes') and Ecklon's Everlasting (Helichrysum ecklonis) were named in his honour. This botanist is denoted by the author abbreviation Eckl. when citing a botanical name.[1]


  1. ^ Brummitt, R. K.; C. E. Powell (1992). Authors of Plant Names. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 1-84246-085-4.


  • William H. Harvey, Otto Wilhelm Sonder, Sir William Turner Thiselton-Dyer (Editor). Flora Capensis: Being a Systematic Description of the Plants of the Cape Colony, Caffraria, & Port Natal (and Neighbouring Territories) (January 1900); ISBN 3-7682-0637-8