Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Kunth, Charles Sigismund

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KUNTH, Charles Sigismund (koont). German botanist, b. in Leipsic, 18 June, 1788; d. there, 22 March, 1850. He became a merchant's clerk in Berlin in 1806, but made the acquaintance of Alexander von Humboldt, who furnished him with means to attend lectures at the university, and afterward took him to Paris in 1813. From 1813 till 1819 Kunth devoted his time to classifying the plants that had been collected by Humboldt and Bonpland during their journey through America. Returning to Berlin in 1820, he became professor of botany at the university, and vice-president of the botanical garden, and in 1829 was elected member of the Academy of sciences of Berlin. In the same year he sailed for South America and visited, during a sojourn of three years, Chili, Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, Central America, and the West Indies. His collections were bought after his death by the Prussian government, and form a part of the royal herbarium in Berlin. Among his works are “Nova genera et species plantarum quas in peregrinatione ad plagam aequinoctialem orbis novi collegerunt Bonpland et Humboldt” (7 vols., Paris, 1815-'25); “Les mimosées et autres plantes légumineuses du nouveau continent” (1819); “Synopsis plantarum quas in itinere ad plagam æquinoctialem orbis novi collegerunt Humboldt et Bonpland” (1822-'3); “ Les graminées de l'Amérique du Sud” (2 vols., 1825-'33). These four works form parts iii. and iv. of Humboldt and Bonpland's “Voyage dans l'interieur de l'Amérique.” He was the author also of “Handbuch der Botanik” (Berlin, 1831); “Enumeratio plantarum omnium hucusque cognitarum, secundum familias naturales disposita, adjectis characteribus, differentiis, et synonymis” (Stuttgart, 1833-'50); “Lehrbuch der Botanik” (1847); and “Les melastomées et autres plantes légumineuses de l'Amerique du Sud,” being a continuation of Bonpland's work (3 vols., Paris. 1847-'52).