ASUMAN BAYTOP FESTSCHRIFT
The present issue of the Osmanlı Bilimi Araştırmaları (Studies in Ottoman Science) is dedicated to Professor Dr.sc.nat., Dr.h.c. Asuman Baytop in recognition of her oeuvre in history of botany, on the occasion of her 90th birthday.
Born in 1920 in Istanbul, Asuman Baytop graduated from the Istanbul University, Faculty of Science, School of Pharmacy, in 1943. The same year, she joined the staff of the Chair of Pharmacobotany and Genetics of the Faculty of Science, and worked there until 1946 as assistant to Professor Dr. Alfred Heilbronn. She started to work on her doctoral thesis with Professor Dr. Hans Flück in 1947 in the Pharmaceutical Institute of the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (Zürich). After receiving her degree, she returned to Turkey and pursued her academic career in Istanbul University. In 1964, she was appointed director to the newly founded Department of Pharmaceutical Botany in the Faculty of Pharmacy. As professor emerita since 1987, she has pursued her researches in the history of botany, and continued to contribute to the recognition of the flora of Turkey, actively writing and publishing.
A.Baytop's early researches are on pharmacognosy. She prepared an anatomical atlas to help identifying herbal drugs. During her Anatolian excursions, she collected specimens of Turkish medicinal and useful plants, and others. The specimens she identified, constituted the very basis of the herbarium she created at the Faculty of Pharmacy of Istanbul University. She collected heavily from European Turkey and added new species to its flora. Some of these species were also new for Turkey. Her work on the flora of European Turkey was rewarded with a medal of honor in 1978 at the IInd International Symposium on the Problems of Balkan Flora and Vegetation.
Her collecting in Anatolia, allowed her to discover some species new for Turkey and for science. Her research mostly focused families having medicinal and useful properties such as Solanaceae, Apocynaceae, Papaveraceae and Gramineae. She contributed as an author to P. H. Davis' Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands. The VIIIth volume of the Flora of Turkey was dedicated to Asuman Baytop and Turhan Baytop in recognition of their extensive studies on Turkish flora over many years. Her floristic work and her services in founding and enriching the herbarium of the Faculty of Pharmacy were rewarded with Service Award of TÜBİTAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) in 1999.
Her original collection is housed in the Herbarium of the Faculty of Pharmacy of Istanbul University (ISTE) and counts 23.300 specimens. The Flora of Turkey (1965-2000) cites 1876 specimens collected by herself. She is the collector of 13 type specimens, two of which are from Turkey-in-Europe. An equally important aim of her travels was the recording of plants' vernacular names.
Besides her own floristic researches, she taught pharmaceutical botany in the Faculty of Pharmacy in Istanbul, conducted doctoral thesis on Turkish flora, published textbooks, laboratory manuals, the catalogue of the Herbarium and research articles. Between 1965-1989, she acted first as a member, then head of the editorial board of the Journal of the Faculty of Pharmacy of Istanbul University.
A. Baytop became particularly interested in the history of botany after her retirement in 1987. During the last 20 years, she published more than 50 research articles on the history of botany in Turkey. Collectors who contributed to the Turkish flora, books that were compiled for the teaching of botany in Turkey, botanical researches at Istanbul University starting from 1933, were her major topics. For this purpose, she examined the travel books of Europeans who visited the Ottoman Empire from the 16th century on, the collections and publications of many collectors. She wrote the biographies of relevant collectors, as well as the 1964-98 history of the Department of Pharmaceutical Botany (Istanbul University, Faculty of Pharmacy), which she had administered between the years 1964 to 1987.
Most of her research articles on the history of botany were published in the Osmanlı Bilimi Araştırmaları (Studies in Ottoman Science), the journal she diligently contributed as a member of the referees' board. Her collected articles were published in 2003 in a volume entitled Türkiye'de Botanik Tarihi Araştırmaları (Studies on the History of Botany in Turkey). A second enlarged edition came out in 2004.
Asuman Baytop's profound knowledge in botany, her researches on Turkish flora over many years, and her interest in the history of botany shed new light to the history of floristic researches and the individual collectors, as well as to the history of botany education in Turkey. On the occasion of her 90th birthday, we all wish many happy returns and express her, our warm and sincere regards.
Prof. Dr. Feza Günergun
Editor, Studies in Ottoman Science