Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

Botanists and Plant Collectors

Project Tags

view all


  • Vladimir Leontjevich Komarov (1869 - 1945)
    Ботаник и географ, педагог и общественный деятель. Член-корреспондент Академии наук (1914), действительный член (1920), вице-президент (1930—1936) и президент (1936—1945) Академии наук СССР, организато...
  • Academician Maria Florianovna Makarevich (1906 - 1989)
    Википедия Мари́я Флориа́новна Макаре́вич (укр. Марія Флоріанівна Макаревич; 1906—1989) — украинская учёная — ботаник и лихенолог, доктор биологических наук (1964).
  • Prof. Martin Carl Heinrich von Lichtenstein (1780 - 1857)
    Martin Hinrich Carl Lichtenstein (10 January 1780 – 2 September 1857) was a German physician, explorer, botanist and zoologist.Born in Hamburg, Lichtenstein was the son of Anton August Heinrich Lichten...
  • Илья Васильевич Киреевский (deceased)
    1-я треть XIX в. исследователь флоры Ср.Азии Илья́ Васи́льевич Кире́евский — русский технолог. Им опубликованы: «Современное состояние заводских производств»: Том I: «Промышленность содовых со...
  • George Harrison Shull (1874 - 1954)
    George Harrison Shull was a botonist. Who's Who in the World, 1912Harrison Shull (April 15, 1874 – September 28, 1954) was an eminent American plant geneticist[1] and the younger brother of botanical...

Botanists and Plant Collectors

A project featuring Botanists, including those who researched and collected plants from around the world, linking to as many GENi profiles as possible.

Getting Involved

Free to follow, request to collaborate

To join the project use the request link under "actions" at the top right of the page.


Geni's Project Plaza
Working with Projects
Wicked Wiki
Geni Wikitext, Unicode and images which gives a great deal of assistance.
See the discussion Project Help: How to add Text to a Project - Starter Kit to get you going!

Ground breaking research by botanists and the collection of exotic plants from distant places over the past 200 years and more has made gardening what it is today. It is wonderful to find out more about these amazing people.

Profiles have been placed under 2 sub headings -



Botanists who were also Plant Hunters or Plant Collectors.

This 2nd category should probably be split into two - those who physically travelled the world to collect plants and those who didn't travel but collected plants and seeds using the Plant Hunters. An example would be the Loddiges family who were nurserymen but who used Plant Hunters to acquire their stock. The Loddiges are presently in the Head Gardeners project!

Which illustrates the complexity of categorising or pigeon holing these people!

Also listed are some Botanical Illustrators

Please link any people whose occupations fell into these categories to this project - whether of note or not. Those of note can be added to the lists below. This is a universal project.



  • Abu al-Abbas al-Nabati

Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Mufarraj bin Ani al-Khalil, better known as Abu al-Abbas al-Nabati, Ibn al-Rumiya or al-Ashshab,(1166 - 1239) was an Andalusian scientist, botanist, pharmacist and theologian. He is noted for developing the scientific method in the area of materia medica. His techniques such as separating verified and unverified reports led to the development of the field of pharmacology. He was a teacher of fellow Andalusian botanist Ibn al-Baitar. Nabati authored his famous work Botanical Journey, an early book on plant and herb species which he based on his observations around the world. Nabati wrote a commentary on the book of Pedanius Dioscorides which bore the title Materia Medica after the term.

  • James Adams (1839-1906) Irish-born school teacher and botanist who emigrated to New Zealand in 1870. He became friends with Thomas Frederick Cheeseman (1845-1923), who taught botany and zoology at Thames grammar school on the North Island, and during the next thirty years they made many botanical excursions together. Two notable plant finds were Celmisia adamsii from the crags of Table Mountain and Castle Rock and Elytranthe adamsii from the Hape Creek above the township of Thames. His eldest son, Ernest Adams, married the daughter of his friend, J. W. Hall, an early resident of the Thames after whom Podocarpus halli Kirk is named. Hall exchanged seeds of native trees with friends in Britain over many years including the Dorrien-Smith family of Tresco in Cornwall where many New Zealand plants flourish. See


  • John Hutton Balfour (1808-1884) Scottish Botanist. Dr. of Medicine; Professor of Botany; head of the Royal Botanical Garden and Queen's botanist for Scotland
  • William Bartram (1739-1823) American Botanist, ornithologist - son of the botanist John Bartram (above)
  • David J. Bellamy OBE (born 18 January 1933) British author, broadcaster, environmental campaigner and botanist.
  • Richard Bradley (died 5 November 1732) English botanist; the author of the first illustrated book on succulent plants, Historia plantarum succulentarum (1716–1727), and editor of the first British horticultural journal
  • Robert Braithwaite (1824-1917) Field botanist - Bryologist; Medical general practitioner.
  • Luther Burbank American botanist, horticulturist and a pioneer in agricultural science. He developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants over his 55-year career. Burbank's varied creations included fruits, flowers, grains, grasses, and vegetables. He developed a spineless cactus (useful for cattle-feed) and the plumcot.



  • Al-Dinawari - Ä€bu ḤanÄ«fah Āḥmad ibn DawÅ«d DÄ«nawarÄ« (828– 24 July 896) was a Muslim polymath excelling as much in astronomy, agriculture, botany and metallurgy and as he did in geography, mathematics and history. His most renowned contribution is Book of Plants, for which he is considered the founder of Arabic botany.Å«_ḤanÄ«fa_DÄ«nawarÄ«
  • Pedanius Dioscorides ( circa 40—90 AD) was a Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist, the author of De Materia Medica—a 5-volume encyclopedia about herbal medicine and related medicinal substances (a pharmacopeia), that was widely read for more than 1,500 years.
  • James Drummond (1786/7-1863) Scottish botanist and naturalist who was an early settler in Western Australia.
  • Thomas Drummond (1795-1835)
  • Jonas Carlsson Dryander (5 March 1748 – 19 October 1810) Swedish botanist was born in Gothenburg. He studied at the Uppsala University under Carolus Linneaus. 1n 1777 he went to London. After the death of Solander he became librarian/botanist to Joseph Banks. He also became librarian of the Royal Society and vice-president of the Linnean Society. He died in London. The plant genus Dryandra is named in his honour.

Dryander References and links:


  • Daniel Cady Eaton (1834-1895) American Botanist; Curator of the Yale Herbarium for 31 years



  • Asa Gray (1810-1888) American Botanist instrumental in unifying the taxonomic knowledge of the plants of North America.
  • Jan Frederik Gronovius (1686 - 1762) (also Johann Frederik and Johannes Fredericus) Dutch botanist notable as a patron of Linnaeus (see note 1).

Family History and Biographical Notes

John Clayton (see above), a plant collector in Virginia sent him many specimens, as well as manuscript descriptions, in the 1730s. Without Clayton's knowledge, Gronovius used the material in his Flora Virginica (1739-1743, 2nd ed. 1762). In 1737 Gronovius described the Transvaal daisy, naming it Gerbera. He was the son of Jakob Gronovius and grandson of Johann Friedrich Gronovius, both classical scholars. In 1719, he married Margaretha Christina Trigland, who died in 1726, and Johanna Susanna Alensoon in 1729. His son Laurens Theodoor Gronovius (1730-1777) (see below)was also a botanist.

  • Laurentius Theodorus Gronovius (1730-1777) Dutch naturalist who collected many zoological and botanical specimens. He is especially known for his work in ichthyology and credited with developing a technique for preservation of fish skins. Together with his son he collected over 500 fish skins, 187 of these are kept in the Natural History Museum in London.


  • William Henry Harvey FRS (1811-1866) An Irish botanist who Specialised in Algae. He was a Quaker and Colonial Treasurer at the Cape. Author of A Manual of the British Algae (1841), Phycologia Britannica (4 vols., 1846–51), Nereis Boreali-Americana. (3 parts 1852–85) and Phycologia Australica (5 vol., 1858–63).[2] He spent several years in South Africa, and was the author, with Otto Wilhelm Sonder, of the Flora Capensis (7 vol. in 11, 1859–1933). Harvey's main algal herbarium is located at Trinity College, Dublin.
  • Joseph Hooker (1753-1845) Botanist - who like his son, William Jackson Hooker, began his botanical career by studying mosses.
  • William Jackson Hooker (1785-1865) Botanist - bryologist; father of Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911) and son of Joseph Hooker (1753-1845)


  • Ibn al-Baytar Ibn al-Bayṭār al-MālaqÄ«, Ḍiyāʾ Al-DÄ«n AbÅ« Muḥammad Ê¿Abdllāh Ibn Aḥmad (or just Ibn al-Baytar) (1197–1248) was a Muslim scientist, botanist, pharmacist and physician who worked during the Islamic Golden Age and Arab Agricultural Revolution. He learned botany from the Málagan botanist Abu al-Abbas al-Nabati with whom he started collecting plants in and around Spain. Ibn al-Baitar travelled from the northern coast of Africa as far as Anatolia. The major stations he visited include Bugia, Constantinople, Tunis, Tripoli, Barqa and Adalia. After 1224, he entered the service of al-Kamil, an Ayyubid Sultan, and was appointed chief herbalist. In 1227 al-Kamil extended his domination to Damascus, and Ibn al-Baitar accompanied him there which provided him an opportunity to collect plants in Syria. His researches on plants extended over a vast area including Arabia and Palestine.
  • Dr. M.O. Iyengar




  • Charles de l’Escluse; seigneur de Watènes Flemish doctor and pioneering botanist; most responsible for introducing the tulip to the Netherlands.
  • Carl Linnaeus (Carl von Linné or Carl Nilsson Linnaeus - 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778) Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist and the father of taxonomy.
  • Rev. John Lightfoot (9 Dec 1735 Newent, Gloucestershire - 20 Feb 1788 ) English Botanist, conchologist. Rector of Shalden from 1765 until 1777. Librarian of Margaret Harley Cavendish Bentick, Duchess of Portland. Author of Flora Scotica (2 vols 1777) and An Account of Some Minute British Shells, Either not Duly Observed, or Totally Unnoticed by Authors (1786).
  • Matthias de l'Obel, Matthias de Lobel or Matthaeus Lobelius (1838-1616) Born in Lille, France, physician to William the Silent, Prince of Orange, before moving to England and becoming James I's physician and botanist.
  • Jeremiah Long (1780-1834) 1820 Settler to South Africa








  • William Sherard (27 February 1659 – 11 August 1728) English botanist. Next to John Ray, he was considered to be one of the outstanding English botanists of his day.
  • Su Song (simplified Chinese: 苏颂; traditional Chinese: 蘇頌; pinyin: SÅ« Sòng; style name: Zirong 子容)[1] (1020–1101 AD) was a renowned Chinese polymath who specialized himself as a statesman, astronomer, cartographer, horologist, pharmacologist, mineralogist, zoologist, botanist, mechanical and architectural engineer, poet, antiquarian, and ambassador of the Song Dynasty (960–1279). In 1070, Su Song and a team of scholars compiled and edited the Bencao Tujing ('Illustrated Pharmacopoeia', original source material from 1058–1061), which was a groundbreaking treatise on pharmaceutical botany, zoology, and mineralogy.


  • Theophrast (Greek: Θεόφραστος; c. 371 – c. 287 BC) Student of Aristotle and often described as "the father of botany, his two surviving botanical works, Enquiry into Plants and On the Causes of Plants, were an important influence on medieval science.
  • Carl Peter Thunberg (November 11, 1743 – August 8, 1828) Swedish naturalist and an apostle of Carl Linnaeus.He has been called "the father of South African botany" and the "Japanese Linnaeus".

Thunberg was born at Jönköping, and became a pupil of Carolus Linnaeus at Uppsala University. There he studied natural philosophy and medicine, and took his degree in 1767. In 1770, he left Sweden for Paris, to continue his studies in medicine and natural history. He spent three years in South Africa, engaged by the Dutch, botanising/collecting specimens for Dutch botanical gardens, but also learning Dutch, in preparation for sailing on to Japan, which, at the time, would only permit Protestant Dutch merchants. The best-known plants to us, today, named after Thunberg, would be Berberis thunbergii or Thunbergia (Clock Vine, or Black-eyed Susan). Thunberg was also a well-known entomologist and described a number of scarab beetles.


Botanists/Plant Collectors, inc. Plant Hunters

  • Sir Joseph Banks 1st Baronet, GCB, PRS (1743 – 1820) English naturalist, botanist, plant collector and patron of the natural sciences.
  • John Bartram (1699−1777) American botanist, explorer, and plant collector who founded Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia, Independent City, Pennsylvania.
  • George Bentham (1800-1884) Botanist - Plant Collector. Born near Plymouth in 1800, George Bentham spent his childhood in Russia and France. His father was the naval architect Sir Samuel Bentham, and his uncle the political economist Jeremy Bentham. His early plant collecting in the south of France formed the basis of his herbarium.

In 1829 he became Secretary to the Horticultural Society (later the Royal Horticultural Society) In 1854 Bentham presented his herbarium of more that 100,000 specimens to Kew. He spent most of his retirement working at Kew.
He produced the Handbook of the British Flora (1858), which promoted botany as a pastime for amateurs and became a classic.
In 1883 the Genera Plantarum was completed, the fruit of a 21-year collaboration with Sir Joseph Hooker. This monumental work outlined what became known as the Bentham-Hooker classification system for flowering plant, which was then adopted as the system used in the Herbarium at Kew.

  • Mary Capell, Duchess of Beaufort (1630-1714) Titled woman Botanist, Collector, cataloguer and cultivator of exotic plants at Beaufort House and Badminton.
  • Margaret Harley Cavendish Bentick, Duchess of Portland (1715-1785) A titled woman gripped by a passion for plant collecting - botanist, gardener and plant collector
  • John Clayton (1694–1773) Colonial plant collector in Virginia. Born in England, and moved to Virginia with his father in 1715, where he lived in Gloucester County, exploring the region botanically.

Clayton sent many specimens, as well as manuscript descriptions, to Dutch botanist Jan Frederik Gronovius in the 1730s. Without Clayton's knowledge, Gronovius (see below) used the material in his Flora Virginica (1739–1743, 2nd ed. 1762). Many of Clayton’s specimens were also studied by the European botanists Carl Linnaeus (see note 1) and George Clifford. In Clayton’s honor, Linnaeus named the spring beauty, a common eastern American wildflower, Claytonia virginica.

  • George Clifford III (1685 - 1760) Private Plant Collector; Botanical gardener; former director of the Dutch East India Company, employed Linnaeus in 1736 and 1737 to catalog his collection

Clifford was born in 1685 into a wealthy Amsterdam banking family established by his grandfather, George Clifford I, who had settled there from Lincolnshire, England, in the 1640s. In 1709 George's father, George Clifford II (1657-1727), bought the Hartekamp, a large estate with a mansion, formal garden and conservatory, in the coastal area near the university town of Haarlem; this garden was to become his son's passion and the source of specimens for the herbarium described here.

  • Hugh Cumming (1791-1865) English collector who was interested in natural history, particularly in conchology and botany.
  • Allan Cunningham (3 July 1791 – 27 June 1839) English botanist and explorer, primarily known for his travels in New South Wales to collect plants. Plant collector at Kew - sent to Australia by Joseph Banks
  • Richard Cunningham (12 February 1793 – April 1835) English Botanist.

  • David Douglas (1799-1834) Scottish botanist and plant Collector. He worked as a gardener, and explored the Scottish Highlands, North America, and Hawaii, where he died.
  • David Grandison Fairchild (1869 - 1954) American botanist and plant explorer - Responsible for the introduction of more than 200 00 exotic plants and established crops into the United States, including soybeans, pistachios, mangos, nectarines, dates, bamboos and flowering cherries
  • George Forrest (1873-1932) Scottish botanist; plant collector and explorer. One of the first explorers of China's then remote southwestern province of Yunnan.
  • Robert Fortune (1812-1880) Scottish Botanist and Plant hunter/traveller

His most famous accomplishment was the successful transportation of tea from China to India in 1848 on behalf of the British East India Company.

  • Lady Henrietta Antonia Herbert (1758-1830) Plant Collector, wife of Edward Clive, son of Major General Robert Clive, 1st Baron (Clive of India), daughter of the Earl of Powis.
  • Joseph Dalton Hooker OM, GCSI, CB, MD, FRS (1817-1911) Botanist and Explorer/traveller; biogeographer
  • John Hutchinson (7 April 1884 Blindburn - 2 September 1972 London) Botanist, taxonomist and Author

While employed as a garden boy at Kew (1904-) John Hutchinson took evening classes in botany, drawing and watercolour painting. The skills he developed were noticed when he came to work in Kew’s Arboretum. He was offered a place in the Herbarium, where he spent 30 years pursuing his particular interest in the plants of Africa. He travelled on expeditions in 1928-9 and 1930.
He made two extended collecting trips to South Africa, which were recounted in great detail in A Botanist in Southern Africa. His first visit was from August 1928 to April 1929, and the second from June 1930 to September 1930 on which occasion the expedition travelled north as far as Lake Tanganyika.

  • Jean Jules Linden (1817-1898) Belgian botanist and explorer, horticulturist and businessman, specialising in orchids, on which subject he wrote a number of books.
  • Francis Masson (1741-1805) Botanist & Gardner / Plant Collector

Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, moved to London c1760± where he worked as under Gardener to William Aiton at Kew. He became a plant collector - specifically appointed as such at Kew. He sailed with Cook on the HMS Resolution in 1772 as far as the Cape of Good Hope where he made botanical explorations inland between 1772 and 1774 with Swedish naturalist Carl Peter Thunberg (1743-1828)
Francis Masson returned to England in 1775 and subsequently wrote an account of his three journeys into inland South Africa. This was published in 1776 as a paper in the “Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London”. From May 1776 until 1781, Masson travelled to Madeira, the Canary Islands, the Azores, and the West Indies.
He wrote “An Account of the island of St Miguel” (largest island in the Azores), which was published in 1778 in the “Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London”.
From 1783 to 1785 he travelled to Portugal, Spain and Tangier in Morocco, returning home via Madeira and Portugal.
In late 1785 he returned to the Cape of Good Hope staying there for 10 years.
In 1796, Masson’s only book was published, titled “Stapeliae novae: or, a collection of several new species of that genus. discovered in the interior parts of Africa”. In the same year, he was elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London. [see note 2 below]
In 1797 Masson undertook a collecting expedition to Upper Canada. He died in Montreal on 23rd December, 1805, and was buried on 25th at the Scotch Presbyterian Church

Dr Richard Spruce collected extensively for Kew in the Amazon and in the Andes. Of the thousands of plants that he collected, the most important were undoubtedly from the genus Cinchona from which quinine bark was harvested.

  • John Tradescant the Elder (c 1570-1638) English naturalist, gardener, collector and traveller - father of John Tradescant the Younger below.
  • John Tradescant the Younger (1608 – 1662), Botanist and gardener and plant collector - son of John Tradescant the elder above.
  • Jósef Ritter von Rawicz Warszewicz (1812 - 1866) Born in Lithuania of Polish descent. Orchid hunter who sent enormous quantities of tropical plants, including orchids, directly to Germany.

1840-1844 he was employed as an assistant in the Botanical Garden at Berlin In 1846 Warszewicz established himself in Guatemala as an independent collector, gathering seeds, living plants and dried specimens which he sent to Europe.

  • Ernest Henry Wilson (1876 - 1930) English botanist and plant collector who introduced a large range of about 2000 of Asian plant species to the West; some sixty bear his name.

Botanical Illustrators

  • Nancy Adams (1926-2007) New Zealand born, great-granddaughter of the botanist James Adams.

  • Georg Dionysius Ehret (1708-1770) German born botanist and entomologist, and is best known for his botanical illustrations.
  • Marianne North (1830-1890) Botanical Artist
  • Anna Maria Truter (17 August 1777 Cape Town - 15 December 1857 England) was a Cape Colony botanical artist.

Recommended Reading

Musgrave, Toby; Gardner, Chris; Musgrave, Will - The Plant Hunters published 1999 by the Orion Publishing Group ISBN 1 84188 001 9

// this project is in History Link