A Tribute to Professor Heinrich Schmutterer (1926 – 2022)
It was with deep sadness that we learned of the passing of Professor Dr Heinrich Schmutterer on December
21, 2022, at the age of 96. He was a distinguished entomologist and pioneer in Neem research, based
at Justus–Liebig University, Institute of Phytopathology & Zoology, Giessen, Germany.
Born on April 11, 1926, Professor Schmutterer devoted 65 years of his life to the study of Neem, after
discovering its remarkable insect repellent properties on a field trip to Sudan. His early research
subsequently inspired teams from around the world to produce a vast body of scientific work on the
Neem tree, which ultimately brought Neem and its products to the Western world.
Throughout his long and illustrious career, Professor Schmutterer published numerous scientific
papers and articles on Neem. He collaborated with other leading Neem scientists, including the
renowned Dr Ramesh Saxena from India. As a scientific editor, he worked with over fifty scientists to
produce the quintessential reference book on neem, ‘THE NEEM TREE‘, in 1995, which was followed
by a second, expanded edition in 2002 that is still widely used today.
He was often sought after for interviews and appeared in a TV interview with Dr. David Suzuki for the documentary, ‘What’s in a Neem?’
During my visit to Professor Schmutterer’s home in Wettenberg, Germany, I was struck by his deep
knowledge of Neem, his love for the Neem tree, and his unwavering dedication to the global Neem
community, including fellow scientists such as Dr Ramesh Saxena from India and the World Neem
Organization (WNO). It was evident why he was considered to be the ‘Father of Modern Neem.’ To
me, he was not only a top expert in his field but also a person with a generous spirit who encouraged
me and many others to continue advocating and writing about the miraculous Neem tree from India.
In recognition of his influence and guidance, I have included a chapter about the life and times of
Professor Dr Schmutterer in the third edition of my Neem book, ‘Neem: Nature’s Healing Gift to
Humanity,’ due out in July 2023.
Professor Dr Schmutterer will always be remembered as the ‘Father of Modern Neem,’ a friend, and
a mentor to many. His contributions to the field of entomology and Neem research will continue to
inspire generations to come. Klaus Ferlow