The Wehl family of South Australia and their botanical connections with “Dear Uncle” Baron Ferdinand von Mueller

Dowe, John, May, Tom W., Maroske, Sara, and Smith, Lucy T. (2020) The Wehl family of South Australia and their botanical connections with “Dear Uncle” Baron Ferdinand von Mueller. Swainsona, 34. pp. 1-79.

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Abstract

Dr Eduard Wehl and Clara Wehl (née Mueller) and their children hold a unique position in the history of South Australian botany because of their association with Clara’s brother and the children’s uncle, Baron Ferdinand von Mueller, Australia’s most significant botanist of the nineteenth century. Both Wehl parents and six of their twelve surviving children collected botanical specimens for Mueller and about 1200 herbarium specimens have been located with most being held in the National Herbarium of Victoria. The majority of specimens were collected in the vicinity of Mount Gambier and Lake Bonney, South Australia. As well as collecting botanical specimens, two daughters, Marie Magdalene Wehl and Henrietta Jane Wehl, illustrated plants and fungi. About 300 illustrations have survived. Of these, about 240 are of flowering plants and contained in three sketchbooks, two of which are at the National Herbarium of Victoria and one at the State Herbarium of South Australia. Marie made a speciality of illustrating fungi, and 36 illustrations are included in an album in the Natural History Museum, London, and 25 others are held as either loose illustrations or associated with herbarium specimens in the National Herbarium of Victoria. Specimens collected by the Wehls have been used in the typification of at least 23 species names. The family is commemorated in three taxa: Clara Wehl in the marine alga Gigartina wehliae Sond.; Eduard and Clara Wehl jointly in the plant genus Wehlia F.Muell. [= Homalocalyx F.Muell.]; and Marie Wehl in the fungus Agaricus wehlianus F.Muell. ex Cooke [=Pluteus wehlianus (F.Muell. ex Cooke) Sacc.]. In this paper we provide a brief history of the Wehl family in South Australia. We assess the herbarium specimens collected by them, examine their illustrations and determine the connections between them and their current importance for typification. Underlying this, we consider the contribution made by the Wehl family toward the botanical work of Baron Ferdinand von Mueller.

Item ID: 66257
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2206-1657
Keywords: Wehl, Clara, Eduard, Henrietta, Louise, Marie, Baron Ferdinand von Mueller, plant collectors, plant illustrators, South Australia, fungi, algae, Lake Bonney, Mount Gambier
Copyright Information: © 2020 Board of the Botanic Gardens & State Herbarium (Adelaide, South Australia). This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms and conditions of a CC-BY licence.
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2021 06:23
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310411 Plant and fungus systematics and taxonomy @ 50%
43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4303 Historical studies > 430302 Australian history @ 50%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 50%
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280113 Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology @ 50%
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