Otto Warburg (20 July 1859 – 10 January 1938), was a German botanist. He was also a notable industrial agriculture expert, as well as an active member of the Zionist Organization (ZO). From 1911–21, he served as the president of the ZO, which among other things, sought 'for the Jewish people a publicly and legally assured home in Palestine."
Early life and scientific career
Otto Warburg was born in Hamburg on 20 July 1859 to a family whose ancestors came to Germany in 1566, possibly from Bologna. He completed his studies at the Johanneum Gymnasium in Hamburg in 1879, and continued his education in the field of botany at the University of Bonn which he left after one semester to move to the University of Berlin, and later to University of Strasbourg, where he received his Ph.D in 1883. He went on to study chemistry in Munich and physiology in Tübingen with Wilhelm Pfeffer. In 1885 he embarked on a 4-year expedition to Southern and Southeastern Asia, ending in Australia in 1889.
In 1911 Warburg was elected president of the World Zionist Congress in Palestine, and he remained in the office until 1920. After 1920, the Congress moved to England. But Warburg stayed in Palestine and became founding director of the Agricultural Experimental Station in Tel Aviv. It later became the 'Institute of Agriculture and Natural History'. One of his students was Naomi Feinbrun-Dothan.
His findings were later (1913–1922) published in three volumes titled Die Pflanzenwelt. Upon his return to Berlin he co founded Der Tropen Pflanzer, a journal specializing in tropical agriculture which he edited for 24 years. Realizing that as a Jew he would not be appointed full professor, he diverted his attentions to applied botanics, and founded several companies of tropical industrial plantations in Germany's colonies.
Warburg was also one of the members of the El Arish expedition, appointed by Theodor Herzl as the agricultural member of the team led by Leopold Kessler
in 1931 he founded the National Botanic Garden of Israel in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem on Mount Scopus together with the botanist "Alexander Eig". After he retired from his position in Jerusalem, Warburg moved back to Berlin, and died in early 1938.
Taxa named include Dovyalis caffra, Virola peruviana, Cephalosphaera usambarensis, and the pitcher plant Nepenthes treubiana.