Rolf Dahlgren

Rolf Dahlgren
Born 7 July 1932
Died 14 February 1987 (1987-02-15) (aged 54)
Residence Copenhagen
Nationality Danish
Fields Botany
Institutions University of Copenhagen
Alma mater George Washington University
Known for Dahlgren system
Author abbrev. (botany) R.Dahlgren
Spouse Gertrud Dahlgren

Rolf Martin Theodor Dahlgren (7 July 1932 – 14 February 1987) was a Swedish-Danish botanist, professor at the University of Copenhagen from 1973 to his death.


Dahlgren was born in Örebro on July 7, 1932 to apothecary Rudolf Dahlgren and wife Greta née Dahlstrand.[1] He took his MSc degree in Biology in (1955) and PhD degree in Botany in (1963) at Lund University.[2] He was killed in a car crash in Scania, Sweden on February 14, 1987).[3]


He continued working on South African plants during expeditions in 1956-57 and 1965–66, while affiliated with the Botanical Museum in Lund as docent. In 1973, he became professor of botany at the University of Copenhagen. Here, he developed his system of Angiosperm classification, based on many more characters simultaneously than previous systems, most notably many chemical plant traits (see also chemotaxonomy). Although the system was first presented in Danish,[4] it rapidly gained widespread acceptance, particularly due to the instructive diagrams, socalled Dahlgrenograms. His work on family circumscription in the Monocotyledons, published with H. T. Clifford and Peter Yeo, has had profound influence well into the molecular age.[5][6]

A Rolf Dahlgren Memorial Symposium was held in Berlin, Germany later in 1987. The couple had three children, Susanna, Helena and Fredrik.[7]

In 1986, he was elected member of Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The South African monotypic plant genus Dahlgrenodendron (J.H. Ross) J.J.M. van der Merwe & A.E. van Wyk was named to him honour in 1988[8]

Selected publications

See also


  1. Vem Är Vem - Skåne, Halland, Blekinge (ed. Åke Davidsson), 2nd edn. Bokförlaget Vem är vem, Stockholm, 1966; p. 167
  2. Dahlgren, Rolf (1963). Studies on Aspalathus and some related genera in South Africa (PhD thesis). Lund: Lund University.
  3. Strid 1987.
  4. Dahlgren, Rolf (1974–76). Angiospermernes taxonomi, vol. 1-4. Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag.
  5. Dahlgren & Clifford 1982.
  6. Dahlgren, Clifford & Yeo 1985.
  7. van Wyk 1987.
  8. van der Merwe, J. J. M.; van Wyk, A. E.; Kok, P. D. F. (1988). "Dahlgrenodendron, a remarkable new genus of Lauraceae from Natal and Pondoland". South African Journal of Botany. 54: 80–88.
  9. IPNI.  R.Dahlgren.


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