Matthias Jakob Schleiden

Matthias Jakob Schleiden (5 April 1804 – 23 June 1881) was a German botanist and co-founder of cell theory, along with Theodor Schwann and Rudolf Virchow.

Born in Hamburg, Schleiden was educated at the University of Jena, then practiced law in Heidelberg, but soon developed his love for botany into a full-time pursuit. Schleiden preferred to study plant structure under the microscope. While a professor of botany at the University of Jena, he wrote Contributions to our Knowledge of Phytogenesis (1838), in which he stated that all parts of the plant organism are composed of cells. Thus, Schleiden and Schwann became the first to formulate what was then an informal belief as a principle of biology equal in importance to the atomic theory of chemistry. He also recognized the importance of the cell nucleus, discovered in 1831 by the Scottish botanist Robert Brown,[1] and sensed its connection with cell division.

Die Entwickelung der Meduse ("The Development of the Medusæ"), in Schleiden's Das Meer

Schleiden was one of the first German biologists to accept Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. He has been described as a leading proponent of Darwinism in Germany.[2]

He became professor of botany at the University of Dorpat in 1863. He concluded that all plant parts are made of cells and that an embryonic plant organism arises from the one cell. He died in Frankfurt am Main on 23 June 1881.[3]

Matthias Jakob Schleiden
PSM V22 D156 Matthias Jacob Schleiden
Born 5 April 1804
Hamburg, Germany
Died 23 June 1881 (aged 77)
Frankfurt am Main, German Empire
Nationality German
Alma mater Heidelberg
Known for The cell theory
Scientific career
Institutions University of Jena, University of Dorpat
Author abbrev. (botany) Schleid.


  1. ^ Trisha Creekmore. "The Science Channel :: 100 Greatest Discoveries: Biology". Discovery Communications. Archived from the original on 2006-10-24. Retrieved 2006-10-17.
  2. ^ Glick, Thomas F. (1988). The Comparative Reception of Darwinism. University of Chicago Press. p. 83. ISBN 0-226-29977-5
  3. ^ Mathias Jacob Schleiden, Encyclopædia Britannica
  4. ^ IPNI.  Schleid.

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