The Swedish botanist, Darwinist, socialist, and atheist Bengt Lidforss (1868–1913) passed away one hundred years ago, on September 23, 1913. His research was mainly focused on plant physiology, and the problem of speciation within the genus Rubus (blackberries) in particular came to follow him as a constant mystery. Besides his work as a teacher, researcher, and finally professor of botany at Lund University in 1911, he was a feared critic in the social democratic newspaper Arbetet in Malmö. He has been remembered as a radical and combative polemicist who mercilessly crushed his opponents with his blazing intelligence. Largely overlooked, however, is his work as field botanist and his aesthetic-ethical sense of nature. This melancholic mood contrasted with the fiery persona he displayed in his intellectual battles. The Kullen peninsula in northwestern Scania represents both the beginning and the end of his authorship. His first scientific article was the fruit of his botanical walks as a young boy in the area, and his last published article was a call for the protection of Kullen. The present article deals with Lidforss’s flora inventories in northwestern Scania, especially his investigation of the hybrid Juncus balticus x filiformis. Also discussed are his research on speciation, his Darwinian, plant-physiological conception of nature, and his critique of Linnaean systematics. His aesthetic view of nature and its relation to the nature poetry of the time is also treated, as well as the role of botanical walks and excursions for thinking. Finally, the article presents an account of Lidforss’s commitment to nature protection, especially his defense of Kullen.
|Title of host publication
|Svenska Linnésällskapets Årsskrift
|Gunnar Broberg, David Dunér
|Svenska Linnésällskapet, Uppsala
|Published - 2013
- Languages and Literature
- History of Ideas