The Coproduction of Station Morphology and Agricultural Management in the Tropics: Transformations in Botany at the Botanical Garden at Buitenzorg, Java 1880–1904

  • Robert-Jan WilleEmail author
Part of the Archimedes book series (ARIM, volume 40)


This chapter examines biological practice in relation to agricultural management at the Dutch botanical garden at Buitenzorg, Java. Melchior Treub, Buitenzorg’s director from 1880 to 1909, fundamentally transformed the garden by expanding and developing its facilities, partly in response to the need to control diseases of both plants and humans. The Garden attracted foreign scientists from around the world and became a model for biological stations elsewhere. Garden scientists also led in the disciplinary transformation of morphological science around 1900. In response to problems of tropical biology and agriculture, evolutionary morphology developed into a new kind of science that embraced an ecological approach involving both field and laboratory research. This new conception of morphology departed dramatically from the understanding of morphology as the speculative construction of evolutionary trees, the predominant view in the European university. The Garden provides an exceptionally good location to assess the transformations occurring in biological science around 1900. Instead of the idea that there was a “revolt” from morphology at this time, we can see that there was instead a transformation and reinvention of the morphological orientation, one that depended on a cooperative relationship between more academic and corporate approaches to science, parallel to the study of cooperation processes in the environment itself.


Dutch Botanical Garden (Java) Ecology Ernst Haeckel Melchior Treub Morphology Netherlands Indies Parasitism Tropical agriculture 



Apart from the editors, I would like to thank Cristine Webb for her extensive comments on this paper.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Scholar in ResidenceDeutsches MuseumMunichGermany

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