Mohl, Hugo von


Hugo von Mohl (1805–1872) – German botanist and microscopist – was one of the central figures in the emerging fields of plant anatomy and physiology. His most famous contributions concerned the plant cell, in particular the cell wall and cell division, and the origin of plant vessels from cells. These studies paved the way for cell theory. Moreover, he greatly engaged in the transformation of botany into an inductive science and promoted its institutional autonomy from medicine as well as from philosophy, co‐founding in Tübingen Germany's first faculty of natural sciences.

Keywords: history of botany; cytology; cell wall; cytokinesis; microscopy; osmosis

Figure 1. Hugo von Mohl. Reproduced with permission of Universitätsbibliothek Tübingen.
Figure 2. Mohl's observation of cell division in the algae Conferva glomerata. The cell first grows out of the main stem (1a), lengthens (1b) and finally separates through the formation of a septum (1c). The process of division starts with a slight circular tightening of the membrane (3a). The constriction proceeds (4a, 12a, 14a, 15a, 9c–d) until the complete separation into two cells (5d, 10d). From: von Mohl () pl. XIII. Reproduced with permission of Universitätsbibliothek Tübingen.


von Mohl H (1835) Ueber die Vermehrung der Pflanzenzellen durch Theilung. Eine Inaugural‐Dissertation. Tübingen: L. F. Fues.

von Mohl H (1845) Vermischte Schriften botanischen Inhalts. Tübingen: L. F. Fues.

von Mohl H (1846) Mikrographie, oder Anleitung zur Kenntniss und zum Gebrauche des Mikroskops. Tübingen: L. F. Fues.

von Mohl H (1851) Grundzüge der Anatomie und Physiologie der vegetabilischen Zelle. Braunschweig: Friedrich Vieweg und Sohn.

von Mohl H (1852) Principles of the Anatomy and Physiology of the Vegetable Cell. London: John van Voorst.

Further Reading

De Bary A (1872) Hugo von Mohl. Botanische Zeitung 30: 561–579.

Klein M (1972) Hugo von Mohl. In: Gillespie CC, (ed). Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Vol. 9, pp. 441–442. New York: Scribner.

Pelz W (1987) Zellenlehre. Der Einfluss Hugo von Mohls auf die Entwicklung der Zellenlehre. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

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Dröscher, Ariane(Apr 2015) Mohl, Hugo von. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0002942]