Karl von Poellnitz

written on Nov 21, 2020

Karl Joseph Leopold Arndt von Poellnitz (1896-1945) was born in Oberlödla, Germany. He was severely impacted by illness at his early time, resulting in limp and disturbances to his sight, hearing, and speech. Despite these difficulties, he had a keen interest in nature. After inheriting the family estate, when there was a lull in farming activities, he worked on botany with a major focus on Haworthia. As World War II proceeded, his work became more difficult, and he abandoned it in 1944 with plans to start again when the war ended. However, in 1945, he was killed along with his family during one of the last bombing raids of the war. Von Poellnitz was remembered in the genus Poellnitzia, which was merged into Astroloba in the 2010s.

Von Poellnitz published exceptionally prolifically. Since 1929, he published over 200 Haworthia names as species, varieties or forms, of which at least 80 were new species. Many of the most distinctive Haworthias recognized today were named by him. In the century between Haworth and von Poellnitz, the genus Haworthia increased in size only slightly. In the two decades in which he was active, the number of species more than doubled. It can be said that Von Poellnitz is a name that is synonymous with Haworthia.