Journal of the Botanical Section
of the Hungarian Biological Society
Botanikai Közlemények 103(1): 1–5 (2016)
József Szikura (1932-2015)
Dávid Ferenc u. 9, Budapest, H–1113;
Accepted: 25 February 2016
József Szikura, the outstanding botanist suddenly passed away on 11 December 2015 at the age of 83. He was born on 7 December 1932 in Munkács (Mukacheve, then belonging to Czechoslovakia, today part of Ukraine). After graduating at the Faculty of Biology, National University at Ungvár (Uzhorod), he joined the staff of the Central Botanic Garden of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in Kiev, where he became a renowned expert of the flora of Central Asia and Kazakhstan. He led more than 150 scientific expedition altogether in various regions of the Earth greatly contributing to the enrichment of live plant and herbarium collections. He was an excellent taxonomist with unparalleled expertise in plant morphology. Szikura authored over 200 scientific publications including monographs of the genera Eremurus and Juno. He also had an invaluable contribution to the in situ and ex situ conservation of rare plant species, and established gene banks, including a seed bank now counting more than 5000 taxa. He was already over seventy when he returned to his homeland where he became staff member, head of department and then Rector of the Ferenc Rákóczi II. Transcarpathian Hungarian Institute (formerly Transcarpathian Hungarian Teacher Training College) in Beregszász (Berehovo, Ukraine). In 2001 Szikura was elected the external member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. In recognition of his successful academic, research and educational work, and promotion of the Transcarpathian Hungarian higher education he was awarded the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary by the President of the Republic of Hungary in 2012.