The Selected Western Collectors and Researchers on Chinese Plants

by, 2000

Bretschneider, Emil (1833-1901), Historian of botanical exploration in China, stayed at Peking (Beijing) from 1866-1883 as physician to the Russian Legation, collected plant specimens around Beijing for Europe Institutes, published his famous book: History of European Botanical Discoveries in China (2 vols., 1898); and his biography by anonymus: Dr. Emil Bretschneider. Kew Bull. Misc. Info., 201-202, 1901.

Cox, Euan Hillhouse Methven (1893-1977), Scottish plant collector and horticulturist, collected in Burma and it's border with China from 1919-1920; published his book: Plant Hunting in China: A History of Botanical Exploration in China and the Tibetan Marches. (1945); and paper: The Hon'ble East India Company and China. Proc. Linn. Soc. London 156: 5-8, 1944.

Forrest, George (1873-1932), Scottish plant collector, from 1904 to 1932 made seven times to west Yunnan, China, trained local people collecting specimens, seeds and seedlings for Europe as well as the States, and his specimens are mainly in Edinburgh. There is no book from himself, but others. Scottish Rock Garden Club 1935: George Forrest; Cown, J. M. (ed) 1952: The Journeys and Plant Introduction of George Forrest.

Fortune, Robert (1812-1880), Scottish plant collector, from 1843 to 1861 made four times to collect the seeds and seedlings in the East Coast of China for Royal Horticultural Society and East India Company, especially for the Tea, including to investigate tea cultivation and processing; and he is reputed to be largely responsible for the tea industry as it is in India today. Possibly the first person to be sent to China specifically to introduce useful and ornamental plants; published several books: Three Years Wanderings in the Northern Provinces in China (1847), A Journey to the Tea Districts of China (1852), A Residence among the Chinese: Inland, On the Coast and at Sea (1857); more info see E. H. M. Cox; Robert Fortune. Journ. Roy. Hort. Soc. 68:161-171, 1943; R. Gardener, Robert Fortune and the cultivation of tea in the United States. Arnoldia 31:1-18, 1971.

Henry, Augustine (1857-1930), Irish physician and plant collector, from 1880 - 1900 employed as Maritime Customs Service for twenty years in China. He collected many plants specimens as well as seeds in Yichang (Hubei) and Szemao (Yunnan) as well as Taiwan and sent them to Kew, and many of them were introduced later by E. H. Wilosn and others. More info see Morley, B. D. 1979: Augustine Henry: His botanical activities in China, 1882-1890. Glasra 3: 21-81; Nelson E. C. 1983: Augustine Henry and the exploration of the Chinese Flora. Arnoldia 43(1): 21-38; 1984: The Garden History of Augustine Henry's Plants. In S. Pim, The Wood and the Tree. pp. 217-236. 2nd ed.

Kingdon Ward, Frank (1885-1958), English plant collector, from 1909-1956 extensively collected seeds and specimens in Southwest of China, Burma, India, as well as the Eastern Himalayas with many books and papers about his travels and collections - The Land of the Blue Poppy (1913), The Mystery Rivers of Tibet (1923), Plant Hunting on the Edge of the World (1930).

Lancaster, Roy (?-), English Botanist, toured/expedited and/or accompanied several expeditions to China from 1979 - 1986 at least for six times; and published many related reports, especially later published his both professional and amateur book: Roy Lancaster Travels in China - A Plantsman's Paradise (1990).

Lauener, Lucien Andre (1918-1991), worked at the Herbarium of Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh from 1937 to retired in 1983 and concentrated his work on the Chinese plants, visited China for three times (1980, 1985 and 1986). After retired wrote - The Introduction of Chinese Plants into Europe. Unfortunately, it left in unpublished status after dead. Dr. David K. Ferguson, Professor of Palaeobotany, with a strong interest in Chinese plants, and visited China several times since 1980's, as Editor made this book available to readers (1996).

Rock, Joseph Francis Charles (1884-1962), American National Geography explorer, writer, photographer, linguist, and plant collector of Austrian birth, from 1922-1949 spent longtime in Southwest and west of China, collected many plants, especially on Azaleas; his papers includ: The Glories of Minya Koonka, National Geographical Magazine (10/1930); more info see S. B. Sutton 1974: In China's Border Provinces; The Turbulent Career of Joseph Rock, Botanist - Explorer; M. Edwards 1997: Our Man in China - Joseph Rock. National Geography 1: 62-81.

Wilson, Ernest Henry (1876-1930), famous English plant collector for English Nursery Firm of Veitch and then for Arnold Arboretum, made his trips to China for five times on collections from 1899-1918, wrote several books: A Naturalist in Western China; with Vasculum, Camera and Gun (2 vols, 1913), Plant Hunting (2 vols. 1927); China - Motherland of Gardens (1929); If I were to make a Garden (1931); more info see Briggs, R. W. 1993: 'Chinese' Wilson - A life of Ernest Henry Wilson 1876-1930; Foley, D. J. 1969: The Flowering World of "Chinese" Wilson; Farrington, E. I. 1931: Ernest H. Wilson, Plant Hunter; his biography by A. Rehder 1930: Earnest Henry Wilson. Journ. Arn. Arb. 11: 181-192.

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