Hugo von Mohl

Greatest Botanist of His Day

Today is the birthday of the German botanist Hugo von Mohl.

The greatest "botanist of his day," it said in one newspaper.
A German botanist, he was the first to propose that new cells are formed by cell division. Mitosis was discovered by Hugo von Mohl.
And, in 1837, he discovered chloroplasts - something von Mohl called Chlorophyllkörnen, which translates to "a grain a chlorophyll."
Forty-seven years later, the Polish-German botanist Eduard Strasburger shortened the term Chlorophyllkörnen to Chloroplast.
Von Mohl described chloroplasts as discrete bodies within the green plant cell. Today we know that chloroplasts are the food producers of the cell. Chloroplasts are only found in plant cells, and they convert light energy from the sun into sugar; so without chloroplasts, there would be no photosynthesis.
In 1846, von Mohl described the sap in plant cells as "the living substance of the cell," and he also created the word "protoplasm."
1927  Today is the 93rd birthday of English-born Australian horticulturist, conservationist, author, broadcaster, and television personality Peter Cundall.

A Tasmanian gardener, Peter was the friendly host of the long-running TV show Gardening Australia - one of the first shows committed to 100% organic practices and practical advice. Peter inspired both young and old to the garden. In his epic "lemon tree episode," Peter got a little carried away and essentially finished pruning when the tree was little more than a stump. Thereafter, Cundallisation was synonymous with over-pruning.
Peter learned to garden as a little boy. His first garden was a vegetable patch on top of an air raid shelter in Manchester, England. His family was impoverished. His father was an abusive alcoholic. Two of his siblings died of malnutrition. Through it all, the garden brought stability, nourishment, and reprieve. Of that time, Peter's recalls,

"Lying in bed in the morning waiting for it to be light, so I could go out and get going in my garden. I used to think there was some gas given out by the soil that produced happiness."

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Hugo von Mohl
Hugo von Mohl

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