Julius Sachs (1832–1897)


Julius Sachs (1832–1897), ennobled in 1877 to ‘von Sachs’, was a German plant scientist. He was the first botanist to receive his academic habilitation in ‘plant physiology’ and is considered one of the founding fathers of this discipline. From 1868, Sachs was the Director of the Botanical Institute and the Botanical Garden at the University of Würzburg, Bavaria, which became an internationally renowned centre for teaching and research in plant physiology. Sachs is particularly noted for introducing physical instrumentation into the study of plants. He did pioneering work on a broad range of subjects, including plant germination, nutrition, growth and tropism; and he inspired many botanists of the younger generation to consider plant physiology as a subject to pursue.

Keywords: plant physiology; botany; chloroplast; plant nutrition; water culture; tropism


Goebel K (1897) Julius Sachs. Flora 84: 101–130 (Abbreviated and translated into English: Goebel K (1898) Julius Sachs. Science Progress 7: 150–173).

Further Reading

Bopp M (2008) Sachs, Julius von. In: Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Encyclopedia.com. http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2‐2830903811.html (accessed 21 Sep 2015).

De Chadarevian S (1996) Laboratory science versus country‐house experiments. The controversy between Julius Sachs and Charles Darwin. British Journal for the History of Science 29: 17–41.

Gerabek WE (2005) Julius von Sachs. Neue Deutsche Biographie 22: 333–334 http://www.deutsche‐biographie.de/ppn118604600.html (accessed 21 Sep 2015).

Noll F (1897) Julius von Sachs. Naturwissenschaftliche Rundschau 12 (460‐464): 472–496 (Abbreviated and translated into English as: Noll F (1898) Julius von Sachs. A biographical sketch (with portrait). Botanical Gazette 25: 1–12.).

Pringsheim EJ (1932) Julius Sachs. Der Begründer der neueren Pflanzenphysiologie, 1832–1897. Jena: Gustav Fischer.

Sachs J (1865) Handbuch der Experimentalphysiologie des Pflanzen. Leipzig: Engelmann (French edition, 1868).

Sachs J (1868) Lehrbuch der Botanik. Leipzig: Engelmann (4th edition in German 1874; English editions in 1875, 1882).

Sachs J (1875) Die Geschichte der Botanik vom 16. Jahrhundert bis 1860. Munich: Oldenbourg (English translation 1890).

Sachs J (1871–1988) Arbeiten des botanischen Instituts in Würzburg. Leipzig: Engelmann, 3 Vols.

Vines SH and Scott DH (1925) Reminiscences of German botanical laboratories in the ‘Seventies’ and ‘Eighties’ of the last century. New Phytologist 24: 1–16.

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Nickelsen, Kärin(Jan 2016) Julius Sachs (1832–1897). In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0025055]