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In 1868 he taught at the University of Warsaw. In 1869 Strasburger was appointed professor of botany at the University of Jena. After 1881 he was head of the Botanisches Institut at the University of Bonn.
Strasburger was a founder of the famous Lehrbuch der Botanik für Hochschulen (Textbook of Botany), which first appeared in 1894. He was the first to provide an accurate description of the embryonic sac in gymnosperms (such as conifers) and angiosperms (flowering plants), along with demonstrating double-fertilization in angiosperms. He came up with one of the modern laws of plant cytology: "New cell nuclei can only arise from the division of other nuclei", and originated the terms cytoplasm and nucleoplasm.
At about the same time as Walther Flemming, and Edouard van Beneden, he worked out chromosome movement during mitosis in plant cells. His work on the upward movement of tree sap proved that the process was physical and not physiological.
He was awarded the Linnean Society's prestigious Darwin-Wallace Medal in 1908.
- "On Cell Formation and Cell Division", 1876 – a book in which he set forth the basic principles of mitosis
- 1894 textbook Textbook of Botany (written with colleagues)