Robert Knuds Friedrich Pilger was a German botanist who specialised in the study of conifers collected plants in the Mato Grosso of Brazil. His publications numbered around 200, including Das system der bluetenpflanzen (1908), and
his contributions as one of the editors (with A. Engler and others) of Die natuerlichen Pflanzenfamilien.
Several of his publications dealt with a single plant family, including the
Taxaceae (1903), Santalaceae (1925), Cycadaceae (1926), Coniferae (1926),
Cupressaceae (1926), Santalaceae (1935), Plantaginaceae (1937) and Gramineae
(grasses, in several parts). He seems to have been associated with the
Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum at Berlin-Dahlem for most of his career. In
1943, during World War II (1939-1945), he reported on the institution and from
1945 to 1950 served as its director. The genera Pilgerodendron and Pilgerochloa
were named after him.
Several of Pilger's publications dealt with plants from
German South West Africa (now Namibia), though it is not clear whether he
visited the territory: 'Algen aus Suedwestafrika' (Algae from South West
Africa, Hedwigia, 1908); 'Suedwestafrikanische
Futtergraeser' (South West African fodder grasses, Notizblatt der Botanische Garten zu Berlin, 1910); 'Die Gattung
Wellstedia in Suedwest-Afrika' (The genus Wellstedia in South West Africa, Botanische Jahrbuch, 1912), and 'Die
grasvegetation der Farm Okainapuro in Deutsch-Suedwest-Afrika' (The grass
vegetation of the farm Okainapuro in German South West Africa, Notizblatt der
Botanische Garten zu Berlin, 1913).