Eichler system

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A. W. Eichler A. W. Eichler.jpg
A. W. Eichler

A system of plant taxonomy, the Eichler system was the first phylogenetic (phyletic) or evolutionary system. [1] [2] It was developed by August W. Eichler (1839–1887), initially in his Blüthendiagramme (1875–1878) and then in successive editions of his Syllabus (1876–1890). [3] [4] [5] After his death his colleague Adolf Engler (1844–1930) continued its development, and it became widely accepted.


The system was based on dividing the plant kingdom into those plants with concealed reproductive organs (non-floral), the (Cryptogamae, = hidden reproduction) and those with visible reproductive organs (floral), the (Phanerogamae, = visible reproduction). [6] Moreover, Eichler was the first taxonomist to separate the Phanerogamae into Angiosperms and Gymnosperms and the former into Monocotyledonae and Dicotyledonae. [7] His primary ranks were Divisions (Abtheilung), followed by orders (Reihe).

Blüthendiagramme (1875–1878)

Volume I (1875)

Contents pp. VI–VIII

Volume II (1878)

Contents pp. V–VIII

Syllabus (Fourth edition 1886)

The system (here taken from the 4th edition of the Syllabus, 1886) divides plants into divisions, classes and groups. Groups were further divided into orders.

Adolf Engler Engler in NYPL.jpg
Adolf Engler
German Botanical Ranks
Abteilung divisio Division
Unterabteilung subdivisio Subdivision
Klasse classis Class
Reihe ordo Order
Fam. familia Family
Unterfam. subfamilia Subfamily
Gruppe tribus Tribe
Gattung genus Genus
Art species Species

Outline: p. 6. [8] Page numbers refer to text

Class Monocotyleae

See also

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  1. Stuessy 2009, Artificial classification p. 43.
  2. Sharma 2009, p. 27.
  3. Eichler 1883.
  4. Oudemans 1896.
  5. Engler 1903, p. XXIII.
  6. Goldberg 1986.
  7. Lawrence 1951.
  8. Eichler 1886, p. 6.


Works by Eichler

  • Eichler, August W. (1875). Blüthendiagramme: construirt und erläutert. 2 vols [Floral diagrams]. Leipzig: W. Engelmann. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  • Syllabus der Vorlesungen über Phanerogamenkunde Lipsius und Tischer, Kiel 1876.