A plant collector in Anatolia at the end of the XIXth century: Paul Sintenis (1847-1907)
Paul Ernst Emil Sintenis (1847-1907) is a German pharmacist educated at Görlitz and later at Breslau. After practising his profession at Bolkenhain and later at Brandenburg a.H., he decided to become a plant collector. His passion for collecting led him to Cyprus in 1880; to Istria, Dalmatia and North Italy in 1881; to Puerto Rico in 1884-1887; to Macedonia, Thessalia and Thasos in 1891, to Greece in 1896; to Iran in 1900-1901. He made six expeditions to Anatolia between 1883 and 1894.
In 1883 he visited Çanakkale, Troas, mount Ida and Assos. He collected not less than 1350 specimens.
In 1888 he came to S.Anatolia. He landed at Mersin at the end of February, travelled eastwards up to Mardin, collecting through the provinces of İçel, Hatay, Gaziantep, Urfa, Adıyaman, Diyarbakır and Siirt, returned and left the country from İskenderun or Mersin on Mid-August, with a collection of at least 1464 specimens (Cullen 1963).
In 1889, he made a third expedition to Anatolia. He arrived at Trabzon at the beginning of April, collected within the provinces of Trabzon, Gümüşhane, Erzincan, Malatya and Elazığ, and returned from Trabzon at about mid-August. His collection comprises at least 1726 specimens (Cullen 1963).
In 1890, he again came to Trabzon in April, visited Gümüşhane, Erzincan and Elazığ, but concentrated his gatherings in Erzincan, mainly in the vicinity of Kemaliye. He returned to Trabzon at the end of August. His specimen numbers run from ca.2069 to ca.3492 (Cullen 1963).
In 1892, he landed at İnebolu (N.Anatolia) in April, went up to Tosya via Küre and Kastamonu, and returned to İnebolu with a collection numbering from 3660 to 5349 (Cullen 1963).
In 1894, he made his sixth and final expedition to N.E.Anatolia. He landed at Trabzon, came to Gümüşhane from where he returned with a rich collection of nearly 2300 specimens (Cullen 1963).
In all, the Anatolian collection of Sintenis may be estimated to ca. 10.000 specimens.
The presence in Flora of Turkey of 4 specimens collected from Istanbul proves that Sintenis arrived to and departed from Istanbul, during his travels of 1889 to 1894. The citation of a fifth specimen from Istanbul (vol. 11:19) is doubtful and needs revision.
A specimen from İzmir, which is erroneously dated in the Flora as 1800, reveals that Sintenis has been in İzmir on his way to Cyprus in 1880, or to Mersin in 1888.
Sintenis did not describe plants. He put his material at the disposal of German botanists who identified, named and published them. These botanists were mainly J.F.Freyn (1845-1903), J.F.N. Bornmüller (1862-1948), H.K.Haussknecht (1838-1903) and P.F.A.Ascherson (1834-1913). Among them, Freyn often added Sintenis's name after his, when naming a new species.
Sintenis collected a great number and a great diversity of plants. His sets are widely distributed to a large number of public herbaria. According to Vegter (1986) and Holmgren et al.(1990), 78 herbaria located in 27 countries on four continents hold his collections. Turkish specimens are to be found in 37 herbaria of 19 countries (Vegter 1986). The Herbarium of the Faculty of Sciences of Ankara University is among them (Vegter 1986). It holds 30 Anatolian specimens of Sintenis. His original collection is in Lund and contains about 100.000 specimens (Vegter 1986).
The number of Sintenis's Anatolian specimens cited in P.H.Davis's Flora of Turkey is 2900, from which 240 are type specimens. With the rich material he gathered from Anatolia, he has been much helpful, as a keen plant collector, in the advancement of our knowledge of the Turkish flora and the flora of S.W. Asia.
Anadolu bitkileri, botanik geziler, botanik tarihi, gezginler, seyyahlar, Sintenis, Türkiye florası
Anatolian plants, botanical expeditions, flora of Turkey, history of botany, Sintenis, travelers