S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Meyer, Dr Heinrich Bernhard Wilhelm (plant collection, reptile collection)

Born: Date not known, Peterska, Hannover, Germany.
Died: Date not known, Place not known.

Heinrich Bernhard Wilhelm Meyer qualified as Doctor of Medicine (MD) at the University of Wuerzburg, Germany, in 1862. He immediately emigrated to the Cape of Good Hope, where he was licensed to practice on 9 August 1862, and that same year settled as district surgeon at Calvinia. He was still listed as practicing in Calvinia in the Cape Town directory for 1865. In 1867 he served as medical officer to the Boer commando against the Korana and in 1870 became district surgeon at Clanwilliam.

Meyer collected plants in the Hantam area, north of Calvinia, and sent them to Berlin. His specimens were written up by Dr F.L. Diels* (Scrophulariaceae, 1897), Dr F.W. Klatt* (Compositae, 1878/9) and R. Knuth (Geraniaceae, 1912), and included a number of new species. The succulent Mesembryanthemum meyeri was named after him by Dr H.G. Engler*.

In addition to plants Meyer also collected some zoological specimens in the Hantam district. He sent the types of the gecko Chondrodactylus angulifer and the lizard Acontias lineatus to W.C.H. Peters*, who described them in 1870 and 1879 respectively.

By 1884 Meyer had settled in Plumstead, now a residential suburb of Cape Town, and remained there to at least 1897. His wife, Lorenza Meyer, died in Cape Town on 1 January 1886. By 1895 he was a member of the Cape of Good Hope branch of the British Medical Association. Towards the end of 1897 he was a member also of the (second) South African Medical Association. That year he applied for naturalization as a British subject. He still resided in the Cape Colony in 1900.

List of sources:

Bauer, A.M. Early German herpetological observations and explorations in southern Africa, with special reference to the Zoological Museum of Berlin. Bonner zoologische Beitraege, 2003, Vol. 52, pp. 193-214.

Cape of Good Hope Government Gazette, 16 September 1862, and 9 January 1885: List of medical practitioners in the Cape Colony.

Cape Town directory... [Cape almanac], 1865, pp. 90-92: Medical practitioners in the Cape Colony.

Gunn, M. & Codd, L.E. Botanical exploration of southern Africa. Cape Town: Balkema, 1981.

Medical and pharmacy register for the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope, 1893.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to Meyer, Heinrich Bernhard Wilhelm / Meyer, Dr Heinrich / Meyer, Dr H.

South African medical directory for 1897. Cape Town: Cape Times, 1897.

South African Medical Journal, December 1895, Vol. 3, p. 235, List of members (of the Cape of Good Hope branch of the BMA); January 1898, Vol. 5, pp. 240-242, South African Medical Association (list of members).

Compiled by: C. Plug