S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Beil, Mr Ludwig Heinrich (plant collection)

Born: January 1794, Wurtemberg, Germany.
Died: 25 June 1852, Kromboomsrivier, Cape Flats, South Africa.

Ludwig H. Beil was a German musician and organist in the kingdom of Wurtemberg before coming to South Africa. He was at the Cape by 1826, for in October of that year he collected plants with C.F.H. Ludwig* (later Baron von Ludwig) at Voormansbosch near Swellendam.

Beil was choir master in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cape Town from 1830 and later accepted also an appointement as organist in the same church. In addition he provided tuition in singing in Cape Town schools, in which he followed the latest European methods. During the eighteen-thirties his choir was the best available locally and participated on many ecclesiastical and secular occasions. He therefore made an important contribution to the development of the musical life of Cape Town.

Owing to ill health Beil temporarily withdrew to his small farm, Blumenthal, near Wynberg. However, in November 1838 he and Ludwig seem to have accompanied C.F.F. Krauss* some distance on his journey to Natal, for in December 1838 they collected plants at Houwhoek (just north-west of Botrivier) and in January 1839 at Caledon. Thereafter Beil continued his musical career in Cape Town. He is also known to have collected with Ludwig on the Cape Flats and at Somerset East, Worcester, Tulbagh, Karsrivier, and Potberg (Bredasdorp district). The genus Beilia (later included in Watsonia) was named in his honour by C.F. Ecklon*. He was also commemorated in the species names Muraltia beiliana and Lichtensteinia beiliana. Poor health forced him to retire in 1847 and after selling his farm he settled in Kromboomsrivier. During the last years of his life he was organist in the Dutch Reformed Church in Somerset West.

List of sources:
Bradlow, F. Baron von Ludwig and the Ludwig's-burg garden. Cape Town: Balkema, 1965.

Dictionary of South African biography, Vol. 2, 1972.

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

Compiled by: C. Plug