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Wilhelm Olbers Focke

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Dr Wilhelm Olbers Focke (1834-1922)



Dr.med. Wilhelm Olbers Focke.
Born 5th April 1834 in Bremen.
Died 29th September 1922 in Bremen.
Son of Dr.jur. Wilhelm & Johanna Pauline Focke.
Olbers was his paternal grandmother's maiden name.
Married Margarethe Elisabeth Lily Schütte (1847 - 1924) 7th June 1866 in Bremen.
1 son 8 daughters.

Wilhelm Olbers Focke was a medical doctor and botanist who in 1881 published a significant work on plant breeding entitled Die Pflanzen-Mischlinge, Ein Beitrag zur Biologie der Gewächse (The plant hybrids, a contribution to the biology of plants) which briefly mentioned Gregor Mendel's discoveries on hybridization. Although Charles Darwin had a copy of Focke's book he passed it along to a colleague apparently without reading this particular section. The rediscovery of Mendel's work is generally considered to have taken place in the first years of the 20th century, however in Die Pflanzen-Mischlinge, Mendel is mentioned about 18 times - although Focke did not apparently take Mendel's work all that seriously. Along with hybridization, Focke analyzed the non-Mendelian phenomena of graft hybrids, pseudogamy, and xenia. In 1889 Focke conducted an inquiry into the former occurrence of malaria in Northern Germany. He also did much of the work throughout his life on the taxonomy of Rubus (Rosaceae) and published several studies (1877-1914). He wrote a number of section monographs for Engler, A. & Prantl, K, eds. Die natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien in the family Rosaceae, notably regarding fruit-bearing plants of that family. Much of his other output was published in the Bremen periodical: Abhandlungen: Naturwissenschaftlicher Verein zu Bremen, a complete list of the published papers in this periodical is available in Wikipedia.

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