1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Müller, Ferdinand von, Baron
|←Mullah||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 18
Müller, Ferdinand von, Baron
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MÜLLER, FERDINAND VON, Baron (1825-1896), German botanist and explorer, was born at Rostock on the 30th of June 1825, and was educated, after the early death of his parents, in Schleswig. He studied the flora of Schleswig and Holstein from 1840 to 1847, when he emigrated to South Australia and travelled through the colony from 1848 to 1852, discovering and describing a large number of plants previously unknown. In 1852 he was appointed government botanist for Victoria, and examined its flora, and especially the Alpine vegetation of Australia, which was previously unknown. Then, as phytographic naturalist, he joined the expedition sent out under Augustus Gregory by the duke of Newcastle, secretary of state for the colonies. He explored the river Victoria and other portions of North Australia, was one of the four who reached Termination Lake in 1856, and accompanied Gregory's expedition overland to Moreton Bay. From 1857 to 1873 he was director of the Botanical Gardens, Melbourne, and not only introduced many plants into Victoria, but made the excellent qualities of the blue gum tree (Eucalyptus globulus) known all over the world, and succeeded in introducing it into the south of Europe, North and South Africa, California, and the extratropical portions of South America. For these services he was decorated by many foreign countries, including France, Spain, Denmark and Portugal; was created K.C.M.G. in 1879, baron of the kingdom of Würtemberg in 1871, and F.R.S. in 1861. He published eleven volumes of Fragmenta phytographica Australiae (1862-1881), two volumes of the Plants of Victoria (1860-1865), and other books on the Eucalyptus, Myoporaceae, Acacias, and Salsolaceae, all profusely illustrated. He also co-operated in the production of G. Bentham's Flora Australiensis. He took a leading part in promoting Australian exploration, especially the Burke and Wills expedition, which was the first to cross the continent, and in the various attempts to unravel the mystery which attended the fate of his fellow-countryman Ludwig Leichhardt (1813-1848). He died at Melbourne on the 9th of October 1896.