In the Memory of an Outstanding Iranian Botanist: Late Prof. Musa Iranshahr (1923-2020)


Dr. Musa Iranshahr was born on 7 December 1923 in Tabriz (Iran). He completed his primary and secondary education in his hometown, and after graduating from the Faculty of Agriculture (University of Tehran), he received his doctorate from the University of Vienna in 1977. Dr. Iranshahr was employed in the Ministry of Agriculture (Tehran, Iran) in 1946, but afterward in 1966 he entered the Iranian Research Institute of Plant Protection in the Department of Botany where began his research on plants. Apart from his personal interest in botany, the presence of enthusiastic people and some learned colleagues such as Engr. E. Behboudi and Prof. E. Esfandiari, caused a lot of motivation in him, resulting to form a team interested in the knowledge of botany as one of the unique botanical group in the country. He later, took over as Head of the Department as well as the Curator of "IRAN" herbarium (1975–1979). Iranshahr never stopped his efforts to progress botany of the country and the development of above-mentioned herbarium, even after retirement. In this regard, he made more than 60,000 kilometers excursion in cities, villages, deserts, mountains and plains of Iran accompanied by scientists such as Rechinger, Alava, Riedl, Renz, Lamond, Ershad, Termeh, Mousavi, etc. He also took a step towards his most significant efforts, registering his name as the first Iranian botanist in the famous "Flora Iranica" (K.H. Rechinger), which is a unique reference in the world of botany. He devoted his life in collecting (ca. 12,800 specimens) and identifying (ca. 4,000 species) plants of the country and brought precious specimens from many parts of Iran in order to enrich the aforesaid herbarium. Many species were named and described in his honor and he was the author of 37 plant taxa and new combinations in the plant sciences. During his research life, he published 36 scientific works in the field of botany and continued to collaborate with some international herbaria until end of his life. Due to his keen interest in plant research, he had less opportunity to hold administrative positions and never hesitated to train and guide botanists. Colleagues and students who were at his companion are the best witnesses of Dr. Iranshahr's moral and scientific humility. He passed away on 17 July 2020 in Vienna, Austria. Peace be upon him.


S.M. Moussavi