Porphyry Nikitich Krylov

Krylov Porphiriy Nikitich (14(1).08.1850, Sagayskaya village, Minusinskiy uyezd, Yenisei province – 12.27.1931, Tomsk) – pharmacist, botanist, professor, founder of the Herbarium, hereditary honorary citizen of Perm. Born into a family of an honorary citizen of Perm, Commerce councilor and Chevalier Anikita Kondratyevich Krylov.
He finished four grades of Permian High School (1868), was an apprentice in the Permian pharmacy Office of Public Assistance (1868). Passed the exam at the Imperial University of Kazan in the profile of the assistant pharmacist (1871). In 1873-1875 attended a two-year course for pharmacists at the Medical Faculty of Kazan University and received a degree of pharmacist. In 1884, passed the examination for the degree of Master of Pharmacy. Received the degree of Master of Pharmacy (1897). Approved the rank of assistant professor (1898). Honoris causa Doctor of Botany of the Imperial University of Kazan (1909) without defending a thesis.
He worked as a pharmacist in a Perm pharmacy (1871-1873) as a supernumerary laboratory assistant at dotsenture of Analytical Chemistry, University of Kazan (1876), a gardener of the Botanical Garden of the University of Kazan (1879). Since 1885? scientist gardener of Tomsk Imperial University (until 1908), since 1888? the Curator of the Botanical Museum and the Tomsk University cabinet. Since 1908 served as an assistant in the Department of Botany, in the 1899-1909 as an assistant professor had been giving a course in Pharmaceutical Botany, in 1909-1913 held an applied course in systematics of plants. In 1914, he moved to St. Petersburg (Petrograd) and until 1917, he had worked as a junior botanist of the Siberian sector of the Academy of Sciences Botanical Museum. In 1917, he returned to Tomsk, in 1918 was admitted as a supermuneary full professor in the Department of Botany (without payment) in the Tomsk University and was appointed the head of the Botanical Garden (1918-1927); in 1924 he was appointed the Curator of the herbarium. Corresponding Member of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences (1925), corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1929), the chairman of the Tomsk branch of the Russian Botanical Society (1924-1931), an honorary member of 9 scientific societies, a trustee of the Mariinsky orphanage.
P.N. Krylov is a founder of the first in the Urals Scientific Botanical Center – Herbarium of the Tomsk University. He creatively designed the structure of the Herbarium, improved a method of processing and storage of collections: set a uniform herbarium sheet format, a single-type of plants mounting and labeling. P.N. Krylov ordered to make special Siberian cedar wood cabinets for collections storage and boxes for up to 200-500 herbarium sheets, wide composite tables for collections analysis and purchased many years stock of high quality paper for plants mounting.
P.N. Krylov was a supporter of systematic study of flora and vegetation in Siberia, which resulted into his basic classical works “Flora of the Altai and Tomsk province. Guide to the determination of plants in Western Siberia” (1901-1914) and “Flora of Western Siberia” (1927-1949), and more than 100 scientific papers that considered contemporary issues of Botany. “Flora of the Altai and Tomsk province” was the first written in Russian systematic work for the territory of Siberia, which greatly expanded the range of its users. The “Flora of Altai” lists 1,787 species of plants, their growth conditions, geographical distribution, compiled convenient and detailed keys for definition of families, genera and species of plants. The Academy of Sciences awarded P.N. Krylov for this fundamental work the minor Baer award (1909). “Flora of Western Siberia” comprises 2838 species of plants that live in the vast area from the Urals to the Krasnoyarsk krai and from the Arctic Ocean to the North Kazakhstan. This work highlighted the variability of plants depending on the conditions, as reflected in the description of a large number of subspecies, varieties and forms.
P.N. Krylov described a large number of new species, varieties and forms of plants, discovered and described “Lime Island” – the section of relict vegetation in Mountain Shoria, studied the issue of endemism, developed complex problems of botanical geography and phytocenology; identified the presence of the forest and introduced the scientific term “steppe”, gave a classical description of the steppes of Tomsk province, developed a classification of the West Siberian steppes; based on extensive factual material, created the first version of the phytogeographical zonation of flora of Siberia recognizing zones, subzones, provinces and districts; studied the regularities of the vertical zonation of Altai vegetation; organized a collection of materials on lichens and mosses, and published the first summary about leafy mosses from Altai and Tomsk province. P.N. Krylov established the periodical “Systematic notes based on Tomsk State University herbarium material” to publish descriptions of new species (1927).
P.N. Krylov had been actively engaged in expeditions. Materials he collected during expeditions make up a large part of the collection of the Tomsk University Herbarium. Prior to joining the Imperial University of Kazan, he collected plants near Perm, Kungur and Cherdynsky (1868, 1970-1871), conducted botanical research in Perm (1874-1876), Kazan, Vyatka, Samara, Nizhny Novgorod and Vladimir provinces (1880-1883). After moving to Tomsk, he made excursions to collect plants in Tomsk uyezd (1886-1889), explored the relic lime “island” (1990); conducted floristic studies in Barnaul and Zmeinogorsk County (1891); traveled to Sayan, Uryankhay land (now the Republic of Tuva) and Northern Mongolia (1992); explored Altai from western foothills to Ukoka (1901); carried out floristic work in the Kuznetsk, Barnaul, Novokuznetsk Counties (1903) and Narymsky krai (1904); conducted soil-botanical research in the Barabinsk Steppe (1908).
Together with the student L.I. Utkin (later professor, an expert on traditional medicine and medicinal plants) conducted floristic studies in Barabinsk, Kulundinsk and Belle-Agach steppes (1910); together with student B.K. Shishkin (later director of the Botanical Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Leningrad) studied the flora of the Altai between Katun river and Teletskoye Lake. In 1912 he worked under instructions of the Resettlement Management of Kainsk County (1912); together with his students V. Reverdatto (later professor, founder of the Department of Geobotany at Tomsk State University and the organizing director of the Biomedical Institute of the West Siberian Branch of the USSR), L. Pokrovskaya, L. Utkin and K. Onisimov worked in Barnaul, Slavgorod and Zmeinogorsk counties (1913); with V. Reverdatto and L. Pokrovskaya – in the Kuznetsk and Biisk steppes and in the north-east Altai up to Teletskoye Lake. (1915). Working in the Botanical Museum of the Academy of Sciences (Petrograd), together with his assistant E. Steinberg conducted phytogeographic studies in the Central Caucasus and Transcaucasia (1916). Since 1926, conducted floristic studies with junior curator of the Herbarium L.P. Sergiyevskaya in Petropavlovsk, Kokchetav, Kurgan and Chelyabinsk districts (1926), in the southern part of Omsk and Tobolsk (Tyumen, Turin uyezd) provinces (1927), in Eastern Kazakhstan (Bukhtarminsky and Zaisan districts) (1928), in Semipalatinsk and Zaisan districts (1929), in the Baikal region, Daura, Amur and Primorsk regions (1930) and in the Transbaikalia region (1931).
P.N. Krylov is rightly considered the founder of the Tomsk scientific school of botany. His first disciples were medical students at Tomsk Imperial University and the Institute of Technology, and later students of Siberian Higher Women Courses; they became outstanding botanists and scientific facilitators: a graduate of the University of Tomsk B.K. Shishkin in 1925-1930 had been the head of the Department of Botany at Tomsk University, then worked as a senior botanist at the Botanical Museum of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, and in 1938 became the head of the Botanical Institute and for many years had been the editor of the fundamental “Flora of the USSR”; V.V. Reverdatto, being a graduate of the Institute of Technology, established third in the country geobotany department at Tomsk State University (1925), was an organizing director of Biomedical Institute of the West Siberian Branch of the USSR (now the Russian Academy of Sciences) in Novosibirsk (1945); L.P. Sergiyevskaya continued the work of P.N. Krylov on preservation and development of Tomsk State University Herbarium.
Having wide interests, P.N. Krylov performed work that was not directly related to his research interests. In the early years of the Tomsk University, he was a trustee of the Mariinsky orphanage, for which “the Empress Maria Feodorovna according to the report … for hard and useful work on the establishment of educational greenhouses and a garden at the Mariinsky orphanage, as well as teaching charity girls gardening, graciously rewarded for useful labor a precious ring as a gift from Her Augustus Imperial Majesty’s name. “Krylov did a great job planting Tomsk: he established University Grove, City and Pushkin gardens, a park near the asylum, he conducted experiments on the cultivation of mulberry for silkworm breeding, introduced some apple breeds from the European part of Russia, giving them prostrate form, initiated the first gardening exhibition in Tomsk, after which they were held regularly, established three orchards for growing species for snow protection planting in Tomsk, Sudzhenka and Isil-Kul. From the very beginning and until the end of his life, having pharmaceutical education, he paid great attention to the study of medicinal plants: was a consultant in Sibtsentrosoyuz on harvesting and cultivation of medicinal plants in Siberia, participated in the organization of industrial pharmaceutical activity in Siberia, participated in the Pharmacopoeia commission.
In person, P.N. Krylov was a very humble man, and was content with little. He and his wife Pelagea Vassilyevna (died in 1921) had a small apartment in a wooden house in the Botanical Garden. He had his aunt and niece in care, whom he cared about until the end of life. In 1922, the house burned down, and he moved to another one in the Botanical Garden. Later, this apartment in the house was given to him for a life tenure. According to the L.P. Sergiyevskaya’s memoirs (1951), Porphyry Nikitich had an exceptional ability to work, and even in the closing stages of his life, despite the disease, he worked every day for at least 12 hours. In everyday life, he stuck to a strict schedule, in which most of the time he worked in the Herbarium. He used to begin his day with physical exercises, and then from 9 am to 5 pm he worked at the Herbarium. He allowed himself a little rest after the lunch, and then usually worked from 8 to 11 pm. He was a big fan of radio, went to concerts, and from time to time visited the theater. In the last years of his life, he enjoyed cinema and organized collective botanical cinema visits
P.N. died on December 27, 1931 and was buried at the Preobrazhenskoye Cemetery Joanna-Predtechensk convent next to his mother and wife. In 1950, at the request of the University of Tomsk his ashes were moved to the territory of the Botanical Garden created by him, and soon the cemetery, where were buried many of the first professors of Tomsk University and the Institute of Technology, was demolished and a campus of Tomsk Polytechnic Institute was built in its place.
P.N. Krylov was awarded Baer award for the creation of “Flora of the Altai and Tomsk province” (1914), with precious ring of Empress Maria Fedorovna for the establishment of educational greenhouses and a garden at the Mariinsky orphanage, the order of St. Vladimir of 4th degree (1917), St. Anne’s of 2nd degree (1908), St. Anne 3rd degree (1896), St. Stanislaus 3rd (1888), a medal to commemorate the reign of Emperor Alexander III.
In the first years of service at the Tomsk University, since 1891, P.N. Krylov had been consistently promoted to the rank of Collegiate Secretary (1891), the Titular counselor (1892) and the Collegiate assessor (1892); by 1896 he was already a Court counselor, in 1914, the Academy of Sciences had the intention to promote the Court counselor P.N. Krylov to the rank of a Collegiate adviser.
One genus (Krylovia Schischk.) and more than 50 species of plants were named as a tribute to P.N. Krylov. In 1933, Tomsk State University Herbarium he created was named after him.

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© I.I. Gureyeva