JAKOB KLIER-AUSTRIAN HORTICULTURIST
By Wayne Handlos, Ph.D.
Pelargonium klierianumfrom 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 genusPelargonium, 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 withPelargonium 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 theÖsterreichischer 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 ofPelargonium.
He authored a book on the culture ofPelargonium in 1826. He was a friend of Leopold Trattinnick
and together they authored theNew 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 ofRosa 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 inNeue 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,