Jacob Fredric Brenckle

(14 November 1875– 26 June 1958)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) has cataloged 153 fungi and 1 lichen collected by Jacob Frederick Brenckle, who usually signed his collections as “J. F. Brenckle.”  Many specimens belong to “Fungi Dakotenses,” an exsiccati which contains about 675 specimens; it is unclear whether NCU owns a complete set.  A favorite collecting location of Dr. Brenckle’s was Kulm, North Dakota.

It is unclear whether NCU curates any vascular plants collected by Dr. Brenckle, as the Dakotas are outside our geographic focus for current cataloging efforts.

An example of a specimen label from Fungi Dakotenses
collected by Dr. Jacob F. Brenckle curated by NCU

All NCU fungi, including those collected by J. F. Brenckle, can be found at mycoportal.org  .

Dr. Brenckle’s papers are curated by the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD.  “The Jacob F. Brenckle papers consists of correspondence, notes, and pamphlets, collected from 1906-1930.   All of the correspondence was received by Brenckle; most at Kulm, North Dakota, but some at Camp Pike, Arkansas. Brenckle corresponded with academic and   amateur scientists from all over the United States, as well as Germany, Italy, France, and the Netherlands. While topics focus on mycological collection and identification of Great Plains species, there are a few manuscripts on raising bees. The collection also offers valuable insight into the lives and work of academics in the early 1900’s, and contemporary thoughts on World War I.”2


“Upon completion of high school in Milwaukee [Wisconsin], Jacob Brenckle entered Milwaukee Medical College and later transferred to Northwestern Medical College where he was graduated in 1898.  In 1901 he married Amalie Boll [1875-1944] in Milwaukee.  They were the parents of three children, Arthur (at the time in Greeley, [Colorado], Dakotah (Mrs. Guy Le Fevre), and Mrs. Beatrice Davis [b. 1909], both from Northville [South Dakota].

Dr. Brenckle began his medical career in Webster, South Dakota, where he practiced one winter, then moved to Kulm, North Dakota.  During World War I, he enlisted in the Army, spending one year at [the War Prison Hospital3,4 ] Fort Douglas, Utah, and the remainder at Camp Pike, Arkansas, returning to Kulm after the war.  In 1923 he moved to Northville [South Dakota], where he stayed until the early 1930’s, then moved his practice to Mellette [South Dakota].

In botany Dr. Brenckle was recognized throughout the world as one of the leaders in that field, being credited with the discovery of two new flora species in South Dakota.

As a widower he married a widow, Perle Jane (Elsom) Knickrehm [1893-1993], December 14, 1945, in Spink County [South Dakota].

A banquet was given in his honor and a medal presented to him by the South Dakota Medical Association in recognition of his 50 years in the profession…  Other interests and accomplishments of Dr. Brenckle over the years were:  building a home and office of stone in Kulm, North Dakota, developing a formula which he used to combat diphtheria, trapping and banding birds for the U.S. Biological Survey [sic; U.S. Geological Survey], and raising honey bees.  A box of comb honey which he entered in a national contest won first prize and was presented to the Coolidge’s while they were in the White House.” 1


Of the five taxa of Polygonum that Brenckle named (P. autumnale, P. interius, P. monteryense, P. oneillii, P. stevensii and P. utahense), only Polygonum utahense Brenckle & Cottam is still in use.

Thus far I have found only one taxon of fungus that Jacob Brenckle named — Hendersonia crataegi Brenckle (see Mycologia 10(4):  217.  1918.).

Many taxa were named in Jacob Brenckle’s honor, including the fungal genus Brencklea named by Austrian mycologist Dr. Franz Petrak (1886-1973).  Sadly, this genus has been subsumed into Scolecosporiella.

Species (or varieties) named in Jacob F. Brenckle’s honor include:

Septoria astragali var. brencklei Sacc. (Pubished as ‘brinklei in Atti Memorie Accad. Patavina 33: 171. 1917.)  Some scientists currently recognize the variety; others do not and subsume it into the parent taxon.

Bertiella brenckleana Rehm (Published in Annales Mycologici 9(4):  364.  1911.)  In 2016 recognized as Rosenscheldia brenckleana (Rehm) Theiss. & Syd.  (Published in Annales Mycologici 13(3-4):  649.  1915.)

Clypeoporthella brencklei Petr. (Published in Annales Mycologici 22(1/2):  149. 1924) In 1954 this was recognized as Diaporthopsis brencklei (Petr.) Arx & E. Mull.  (Published in Beitr. Kryptfl. Schweiz. 11(1):  372. 1954.)

Macrophoma brenckleana Sacc., Syd. & P. Syd. (Published in Annales Mycologici 11(3):  316. 1913) was revised to Discula brenckleana (Sacc., Syd. & P. Syd.) Petr. (Published in Annales Mycologici 22(1/2):  139. 1924.) Again revised to Chondroplea brenckleana (Sacc., Syd. & P. Syd.) Petr. (in 1956).  Currently it is recognized as Discula brenckleana (Sacc., Syd. & P. Syd.) Petr.

Diaporthe brenckleana Sacc. (Published in Mycologia 12(4):  202.  1920.)

Herpotrichia brenckleana Petr. (Published in Annales Mycologici 21(1/2):  16.  1923.)

Nectria brenckleana Petr. (Published in Annales Mycologici 23(1/2):  118. 1925.)

Patinella brenckleana Sacc. (Published in Mycologia 12(4):  203. 1920.) Currently recognized as Dermea brenckleana (Sacc.) Seaver (Published in Mycologia 25(2):  142. 1933.

Pezicula brenckleana Seaver (Published in North American Cup-fungi, (Inoperculates).  (New York) (3):  341.  1951)

Phaeotrype brencklei Sacc. (Published in Mycologia 12(4):  200. 1920.)

Solenia brenckleana Sacc. (Published in Riv. Accad. Di Padova 33:  163. 1917) was revised to Phaesolenia brenckleana (Sacc.) W. B. Cooke (Published in Beih. Sydowia 4:  122. 1961.)

Lophiostoma brenckleanum Sacc. (Published in Riv. Accad. di Padova 33: 166. 1917.)

Phomopsis brencklei Petr. (Published in Annales Mycologici 22(1/2):  151.  1924.)

Septoria brencklei Sacc. (Published in Annales Mycologici 11(6):  553.  1913.)

Sphaerophoma brencklei Petr. (Published in Annales Mycologici 22(1/2):  76.  1924.)

Trimmatostroma brencklei Sacc (Published in Annales Mycologici 12(2):  124.  1915.)

Jacob Brenckle’s daughter, Beatrice May (Brenckle) Davis (b. 1909) was a scientist in her own right, and wrote “A study of the microflora of Fargo Clay Soil,” to earn a Master of Science degree at North Dakota Agricultural College (now North Dakota State University) in 1932.


PUBLICATIONS (possibly incomplete list):
Brenckle, J. F. 1916.  Notes and Brief Articles.  Mycologia 8(6):  312-318.
Brenckle, J. F. 1917.  North Dakota Fungi.  Mycologia 9(5):  275-293.
Brenckle, J. F. 1918.  North Dakota Fungi II.  Mycologia 10(4):  199-221.
Brenckle, J. F. 1936. The Migration of the Western Burrowing Owl (Speotyto Cunicularia Hypogœa). Bird-Banding, 7(4), 166–168. https://doi.org/10.2307/4509415
Brenckle, J. F. and Walter P. Cottam. 1940.  A new Polygonum from Garfield County, Utah.  Bulletin of the University of Utah 30(15): 3-7.
Brenckle, J. F. 1941.  Notes on Polygonum (Avicularia).  Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 68(7):  491-495.

1.  Find A Grave Memorial #155776664 accessed on 10 March 2016.

2.  Jacob F. Brenckle papers, Identifier MS-025, Archives & Special Collections, I.D. Weeks Library, University of South Dakota.  https://archives.usd.edu/repositories/2/resources/17  accessed on 22 Jan 2023.

3.  Notes & Brief Articles.  1918.  Mycologia 10 (1): 46.

4.  “During World War I, the fort was used as an internment camp for German citizens who lived in the United States, and it was also a POW camp for Imperial German Navy prisoners. One of the crews kept there was from the SMS Cormoran, which had left the German colony of Tsingtao, China, at the beginning of the war and stopped at Guam in December 1914 to refuel and take on provisions. Denied the coal needed for their boilers, the German captain reluctantly submitted to detention. When the United States entered the war on the Allied side in 1917, the crew were made prisoners of war and were sent to Fort Douglas.”  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Douglas#Sources  accessed on 22 Jan 2023