Christian Gottfried Daniel Nees Von Esenbeck, a German botanist, born near Erbach in the Odehwald, Feb. 14,1776, died in Breslau, March 16, 1858. He was educated at the gymnasium of Darmstadt and the university of Jena, and after practising for a time as a physician was appointed in 1818 professor of botany at Er-langen, and subsequently was elected president of the Leopoldine academy of naturalists. In the same year he was appointed professor of botany in Bonn, where, with the help of his brother and of Sinning, the gardener of the botanic garden, he was the means of founding a new institution for the science. In 1830 he went to Breslau as professor of botany and director of the botanic garden. Shortly before the political commotions of 1848 he became an active member of the newly formed Breslau religious association called ChristlcathoWken, whose aim was to utilize the working power of the congregation by organizing among themselves associations for various benevolent purposes. In 1848 he went to Berlin, where he was active in the cause of democracy, and on his return founded at Breslau a society called the fraternity of laborers for the promotion of their education, domestic comfort, and business relations. The government ordered him to resign its presidency.

He was soon afterward prosecuted for living with a woman without having been divorced from his third wife, and in 1851 he was suspended and in the following year deposed from his professorship. His prosecution was generally considered to be merely a pretext in order to interfere with his reformatory labors. He was also a believer in spiritualism, and some of his children were reported to be clairvoyants. For the support of his numerous family, he was obliged to sell his valuable library, and his herbarium, consisting of 80,000 specimens. One of the most distinguished of German botanists, he was lionored with numerous dignities, and was elected a member of 77 learned societies. Goethe, in his "'Metamorphosis of Plants," had advanced the theory that the various parts of the flower are all modifications of one common type, the leaf; and this theory Nees von Esenbeck demonstrated to be scientifically true in his Hand-buch, der Botanik(2 vols., Nuremberg, 1820-'21). Among his other botanical works are: Die Al-qen des siissen Wassers (Bamberg, 1814); Das System der Pilze und Schwamme (Wurzburg, 1816): Die Pflanzensubstanz, written in conjunction with Bischof and Rothe (Erlangen, 1819); Bryologia Gennanica, with 43 colored plates, in conjunction with Hornschuh and Sturm (2 vols., Nuremberg, 1823-'31); Agrosto-logia Brasilu nsis, forming the first part of Martiu's Flora Brasilicnsis (Stuttgart, 1829), to which He appended a poem of 16 pages, entitled De Snccharo Opificio Carmen; Enumera-tio Plantarum Cryptogamicarum Java' et Insu-larum adjacentium (Breslau, 1830); Genera et Species Asterearum (Nuremberg, 1833); Syste-ma Laurinarum (Berlin, 1836); Flora Africa Australioris Illustrationes Monographioe (Glo-gau, 1841): and Systema Hepaticarum, in conjunction with Gottsche and Lindenberg (Hamburg, 1844-7). In 1852 he published the first volume of a projected illustrated manual of universal natural history, entitled Die allge-e Formenlehre der Natur (2d ed., Breslau, 1861). He early applied himself to the study of cryptogamous plants, in regard to which his researches were minute and extensive.

His great work in this department is the Natur-geschichte der europäischen Leoermoose, also known under the title of Erinnerungen aus dem Riesengbirge (4 vols., Berlin and Breslau, 1833-"8). In the sphere of speculative thought he published Die Naturphilosophie (1841), which he intended as the first part of a "System of Speculative Philosophy".