Dr. h.c. Josef Bogner

Deutsche Version

Josef Bogner, who died peacefully in the presence of his family, was born on 29th January 1939 in Gersthofen near Augsburg.

His formal training was as a floral and ornamental plant horticulturist. His exceptionally strong professional interest in this field soon led him abroad. From 1962 to 1963 he was a student gardener at the University Botanic Garden of Cambridge (UK). In 1966 he completed his studies at the State Research and Teaching Institute for Horticulture at Weihenstephan as a horticultural engineer.

Subsequently he worked at the famous "Les Cedres" botanic garden in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat (France) and it was there that he first began his close involvement with tropical Araceae. Between 1967 and 1969 he carried out two lengthy research trips to East Africa, Madagascar, the Comores, the Seychelles and the Mascarene Islands. The scientific results led to his first publications, among which his 1972 revision of the Madagascan endemic tribe Arophyteae (Araceae) is of particular importance.

From 1969 to 2002 he was employed at the Munich Botanical Garden, ultimately with the rank of Garden Inspector. For many years he was the director of the glasshouses of the Garden. His scientific interests soon widened to include all tropical Monocotyledons, but the most important group was always the Araceae. In 2004 he was awarded the very rare honour of a Doctor Honoris Causae of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. His numerous other awards and prizes will be detailed in a eulogy to be published in the journal Taxon.

Over the course of many years, Josef Bogner visited many tropical and subtropical regions, including India, Sri Lanka, South China, Vietnam, Sumatra, Borneo, Australia, several West African countries including Gabon and Cameroun, and Venezuela and Brazil in tropical America. His most recent trips were to Colombia (2017) and Brazil (2018). From most of these travels, he brought back living plants, seeds and herbarium specimens. almost always in close collaboration with his local colleagues, whom he supported unfailingly then and afterwards in his unpretentious and modest way.

Josef Bogner was one of the world's most outstanding authorities on the Monocotyledons and in particular he had a uniquely comprehensive and unmatched grasp of Araceae systematics. His deep knowledge of the specialist literature, including palaeobotanical research, enabled him to play a constructive role in stimulating discussions at international scientific meetings. His publications, many with scientists from all over the world, will be detailed in official obituaries yet to be published. Over and above this, Josef was exceptional in the way he shared material from his own collections and indeed went to enormous trouble to put them at the disposal of other scientists; his remarkable unselfishness contributed substantially to important advances in Araceae systematics made by others.

Text: Translation by Simon Mayo, 25 April 2020

One of Josef Bogner's major scientific achievements was the book "The Genera of Araceae" (1997), co-authored with S. Mayo and P. Boyce, which in 2000 was recognized by the highly regarded "Henry Gleason Award" of the New York Botanical Garden.

With Josef's passing, we have suffered the painful loss of an incomparable colleague and friend.

Members of the staff of the Botanical Garden, the State Botanical Collections and of the Botanical Institute of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.

Munich, 24 April 2020

Text and photo: Susanne S. Renner, Botanischer Garten München-Nymphenburg


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Lois Moxon-Holt & Martin Cheek (2021): Pseudohydrosme bogneri sp. nov. (Araceae), a spectacular Critically Endangered (possibly extinct) species from Gabon, long confused with Anchomanes nigritianus. Aroideana Vol. 44(1), 110-131, 2021. Article (PDF, 782 KB)