Nylander, Fredrik

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(b. Uleåborg [now Oulu], Russia [now Finland], 9 September 1820; d Contrexéville, Vosges, France, 2 October 1880), botany, medicine.

Nylander was the son of Anders Nylander, a merchant, and the former Margareta Magdalena Fahlander, and the great-grandson of John Nylander, bishop of Bora (now Porvoo) and of Åbo (now Turku). In 1853 he married Ida Babette Hummel, of Frankfurt.

Nylander received his secondary education at the Gymnasium in Abo and graduated in 1836. He matriculated at the University of Helsinki in the same year and was awarded a master’s degree in 1840; he remained at the university to specialize in botany and medicine, taking his examination and receiving his candidate’s degree in medicine in 1843. He was lecturer in botany at the University of Helsinki from 1843 to 1853. In 1844 he received his doctorate in botany. He spent 1843–1846 at the St. Petersburg Botanic Garden, during which time he became fluent in Russian. On his return he studied for several months the M.D. from the University of Helsinki and was then appointed assistant to the municipal physician of Uleåborg. He became the municipal physician there in 1865, holding that post until his death.

Nylander was the first to study the flora of Finland critically. He made many botanical expeditions and published five important papers on the Finnish Russian flora. He pioneered in the botanical exploration of the then almost unknown Kola Peninsula. With Johan Angstrom (1813–1879) he explored eastern Finland, Russian Karelia to the White Sea, and Russian Lapland in the summer of 1843. The following they explored Russian and Norwegian Lapland.

Nylander later abandoned botanical pursuits to concentrate on medicine. In addition to administering health services in Uleåborg, he was active in the political life of Finland, being elected by the Socialist party to the House of Burghers of Uleåborg and representing the party in the Diet convened in 1872. Throughout his later life Nylander was a staunch promoter of the Finnish language for all official use and a strong partisan of Finnish autonomy. Reports of his appointment as professor by the city of Uleåborg in 1877 are unclear; the little must have been honorary, since the University of Oulu was not founded until 1959.


Biographical notices include A. Oswald Kairamo, “Frdik Nylander,”; in Kansallinen Elamakerrasto,IV (Porvoo, 1927), 251; Sextus Otto Lindberg, “Fredrik Nylander, 1820–1880;”; in Meddelanden of Societas profauna et flora fennica,6 (1881), 260; N. J .S[cheutz], “Fredrik Nylander,”; in Botaniska notiser(1880), no.6,199; and Theodor Saelan, “Nylander, Fredrik,“; in Acta Sociates pro fauna et flora fennica43 (1928), 354–355, which contains a bibliography.

George H. M. Lawrence