S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Boos, Mr Franz (plant collection, vertebrate collection)

Born: 23 December 1753, Frauenalp, Baden-WŘrttemberg, Germany.
Died: 9 February 1832, Vienna, Austria.

Franz Boos, an Austrian gardener-botanist, was trained as a gardener under his father, who was head gardener at Rastatt in Baden-Württemberg. He began his career in 1771 as gardener to Prince Leopold of Dietrichstein. From 1774 to 1775 he worked at the famous gardens of Prince Johann 1 of Lichtenstein and in 1776 became assistant gardener at the Imperial Garden of Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna. When Emperor Josef II asked the botanist N.J. von Jacquin to recommend naturalists to undertake an expedition to America, Boos was selected as one of the party. He left Austria in April 1783 and after some time in the United States collected plants in the Bahama Islands for eight months, returning to Austria in September 1785.

By this time Boos was a man of some education, spoke several European languages, and was a botanist as well a gardener. Soon after his return he was sent on a second expedition, to collect plants and other natural history specimens at the Cape and Mauritius, assisted by the gardener Georg Scholl*. They arrived at the Cape on 1 June 1786 and during the next nine months accumulated a large collection of live and dried plants, bulbs, seeds, birds, insects and other animals. Boos was accompanied by Francis Masson* on a collecting trip to the Swartland and Karoo. He left for Mauritius, and Reunion in February 1787, leaving Scholl behind, and returned in January 1888 with 280 boxes of tropical plants. He proceeded to Vienna on 5 February 1788 with this collection, as well as 10 chests of dried plants, seeds, bulbs, stuffed birds, and animal skins from the Cape, two live zebras, 11 monkeys and 250 birds. Scholl remained at the Cape.

Boos was made keeper of the Schonbrunn botanic garden and menagerie by Emperor Josef II and promoted to director by Emperor Franz II in 1810. Together with his son Joseph Boos he compiled a catalogue of the cultivated and wild plants grown at Schonbrunn (Schonbrunn's flora), which was published in 1816. He retired in 1827.

List of sources:
Dictionary of South African biography (G. Scholl), Vol. 4, 1981.

Garside, S. Baron Jacquin and the Sch├Ânbrunn Gardens. Journal of South African Botany, 1942, Vol. 8, pp. 201-224.

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

Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. https://en.wikipedia.org

Compiled by: C. Plug