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JAKOB KLIER-AUSTRIAN HORTICULTURIST

By Wayne Handlos, Ph.D.

                   

Pelargonium klierianum  from Trattinnick, Pl. 132        Klier's book on Paeonia

 

This is the third in a series of articles to bring attention to individuals who have made great

contributions to the genus Pelargonium, but who, over the years, have been lost sight of.

Jakob Klier was born in Vienna on August 13, 1790 and died there on May 6, 1868. He was

educated in the Normal School and then entered government service where he served in different

positions, eventually becoming the assistant to the Austrian National Finance officer. From an early

age he was an active, practical botanist, particularly in floriculture where he was active in hybridization

primarily with Pelargonium and Paeonia. He is credited with making these plants important in

Austria. He was one of the first to use acid in the culture of plants.

From 1822 Klier worked in the garden of the apothecary/pharmacist Anton Rochleder creating

points of interest for pre-revolutionary Vienna. He demonstrated again and again that he was a

foresighted horticulturist, writer and lecturer. He was a founding member of the Royal [Austrian]

Horticultural Society, its general secretary from 1866/67, and administrative councilor from 1839-42

and again from 1856 to 1868. He was an honorary member of numerous Austrian and foreign horticultural

societies. (From the Österreichischer Biographisches Lexikon, 1868)

He was diligent in studying about plants, researching the background of any problem and

then following through methodically. He was especially important in the hybridization of Pelargonium.

He authored a book on the culture of Pelargonium in 1826. He was a friend of Leopold Trattinnick

and together they authored the New Kinds of Pelargoniums of German Origin with support

from their friend, the apothecary Anton Rochleder. Klier’s hybrids became important export plants

from Austria to the rest of the continent. He was considered the “creator of the Pelargonium breed.”

Late in his life he produced a treatise on the culture and propagation of Rosa reclinata and another on

the breeding and propagation of peonies.

He was well read and conversant with domestic and foreign agricultural literature and maintained

a lively written communication with many agiculturists, gardeners and flower lovers. He was

involved from the beginning with agricultural chemisty and conducted experiments in that field.

He was humble, a fervent patriot, rigorously honest, enthusiastic for all things noble and

beautiful, devoted to problem solving, foresighted, self challenging, with an agile spirit and quick

mind. He was an enthusiastic, hardworking member in the garden world of Vienna and served in any

capacity required. He believed whole heartedly in the importance of the improvement of horticulture

and the spreading of knowledge was required for national prosperity and as an aid to intellectual and

moral education. (From an obituary by Ed. Fenzel and reprinted in Neue allgemeine deutsche Garten–

und Blumenzeitung, Vol. 24, 1868, by Eduard Otto.)

In a later article I will consider more of his contributions and publications.

Some Publications by Jakob Klier

1. Anleitung zur Cultur der Pelargonien: Ein Beytrag zur Gewächshaus– und Zimmergartnerey, 1826, 101 pp.

2. Einige Andeutungen über das Versauern der Topfpflanzen …, 1835, Flora XVIII, pp. 273-288

3. Ueber die Wirkung des Ammoniaks auf Pflanzen, 1842, Annalen der Chemie, Vol. 43(2), pp. 239-240

4. Anleitung zur Cultur und Vermehrung der Rosa reclinata, 1843, 60 pp.

5. Die Cultur der Paeonien, ihre Vermehrung and Vervielfältigung durch Samenbau und Theilung ihrer Knollenwurzeln, 1845,

118 pp.