Pioneer Botanist of Tennesee
On this day in 1908, The Tennessean newspaper reported that the botanist Thomas G. Harbison was in Nashville to collect a specimen of the clematis gattingeri for Harvard.
The gattingeri clematis was regarded as a scarce plant that had been discovered by Augustin Gattinger.
Gattinger was known as the "Pioneer Botanist of Tennesee."
He had been born in Munich, Germany in 1825, but had immigrated to the united states in his twenties after being kicked out of the University of Munich for seeking more liberty for Germans and for celebrating George Washington's birthday.
Gattinger served in the Union Army during the civil war, and he became a country doctor. He also started studying botany, and Gattinger counted many prominent botanists as friends. Gattinger is remembered for his published works, which include The Flora of Tennessee andMedicinal Plants of Tennessee.
Gattinger's entire 50,000 specimen herbarium was donated to the University of Tennessee in 1890. Sadly, in 1934, the collection was destroyed in a fire. In the preface to his Flora of Tennessee, Gattinger wrote:
"While the pursuit of botany never brought me any financial advantages, I acknowledge that it was a mighty protector in keeping me out of the way of social corruption, and it gave me many hours of the purest enjoyment of life and brought me into friendly relations with many excellent men and women."