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BALFOUR, John Hutton FRSE FRS FRCSE FLS MWS (1808-1884) Botanist

Founder of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh, he published extensively including a large number of botanical textbooks. In 1845 be was appointed Professor of Botany at Edinburgh University and Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).

BRUCE, Robert and Charles Alexander (Founders Assam Tea Industry)

He and his brother Charles, both native born Scots, were responsible for the foundation of the Assam tea industry in India.

COOK, William Douglas (1884-1967) Botanist

Diaspora b. New Zealand to Scottish mother and father. Founder of  Eastwood Arboretum at Nagapata, named after the house where his mother grew up in Scotland, and now the national arboretum of New Zealand. Also co-founder of Pukeiti rhododendron garden near New Plymouth.

DOUGLAS, David (1798 – 1834)

Adventurous Botanist. Born in Scone (Perthshire). Discovered more than 200 new plant species in North America, including the Douglas Fir. Died from injuries received from wild bull having fallen into bull pit in Hawaii.


FORBES, David McHattie. (1863 – 1937)

Scottish botanist. Spent most of his working life in Hawaii.

FORREST, George (1873-1932) Botanist

Born Falkirk, Scotland. The foremost collector of plants from south-west China. Made seven trips to Yunnan and brought back around 31,000 plant specimens including numerous previously unknown plant species.

FORTUNE, Robert (Botanist)

Born Berwickshire, Scotland (1812-1880). He was a major plant hunter and introduced hundreds of new shrubs, trees and flower to Europe. Is famed for his illicit removal from China of their strains of tea plants and the subsequent foundation of  the Darjeeling tea industry in India.

FRASER, John, FLS, FRHS. (1750-1811) Botanist

He was a Scottish explorer and botanist who collected plant specimens for Csar Catherine of Russia in 1795, Paul I of Russia in 1798 and Dowager Empress Maria Feodoronova in 1806. He created an important herbarium which was eventually bought by the Linnean Society.

GIBSON, Alexander. (Botanist)

A Scottish surgeon and botanist, b. Kincardineshire (1800-1867), who became superintendent of the Dapuri botanical gardens in India. He was instrumental in publicising the effects of deforestation in that country. See also medicine.

JEFFREY, John (1826-1854) Botanist

Born Perthshire, Scotland. As an employee of Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden was appointed to a Scottish group the Oregon Association (Est 1849) to travel to North America. He spent over four years exploring Washington, Oregon, and California sending specimens back to Scotland. In 1854 he disappeared in the Colorado Desert and, despite efforts to find him, was never seen again.

John Veitch (Botanist)

Founder of the botanical Veitch dynasty.

LOUDON, John Claudius (1783-1843) Botanist

Born Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, Scotland, and studied chemistry, botany and agriculture at Edinburgh University. Described himself as a landscape planner and later as a city planner. He wrote extensively on gardening and agriculture, his most important work being “Arboretum et Fruiticetum Britannicum”, an exhaustive account of all trees and shrubs in Great Britain. He founded the Gardener’s Magazine, the first periodical devoted solely to horticulture, and the Magazine of Natural History. His design for the arboretum at Derby served as inspiration for the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.

MASSON, Francis (1741-1805) Botanist

Born Aberdeen, Scotland. Discovered in excess of 1,700 new species.

MENZIES, Archibald (1754-1842) Botanist

Among many new plant species found by him were the Brazil Pine (Monkey Puzzle Tree) in 1795  and the Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) in 1791. David Douglas, another Scottish botanist, sent seeds to Great Britain in 1827.

PATERSON, William FRS (1755-1810)

Born Montrose, Scotland. He was a soldier, explorer, administrator and botanist who collected plants in South Africa and Australia. He was appointed Lieutenant Governor General of Tasmania, and later appointed Governor of New South Wales.

RENNIE, James (1787-1867) Botanist and Entomologist

Born Ayrshire, Scotland. A graduate of Glasgow University who became professor of natural history at King’s College, Cambridge. His works include, The Architecture of Birds, The Natural History of Insects, Insect Architecture and Alphabet of Botany.

ROXBURGH, William FRSE, FRCPE (1751-1815) Father of Indian Botany.

Born Craigie, Ayrshire. Botanist, surgeon and meteorologist. In India his vast collection of meteor0logical data, taken over years ,allowed him to form opinions on climate change and widespread famine in the then empire. He is famed for his botanical studies in India and was regarded by his contemporaries as the greatest botanist since Linnaeus. He has been called the father of Indian botany.

Scottish Botanists

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH)

SNH is a Scottish Government agency with prime  responsibility for Scotland’s natural heritage in all its forms, apart from its seas, for which see Marine Scotland

Scottish Plant Hunters


A Scottish botanist, b. Paisley, Renfrewshire (1794-1861). Made important plant collections in the Cape of Good Hope, the Mediterranean Sea,  the South American coast, California, Mexico, Central America and Brazil. Further collections were made in Australia and the Bay of Islands. in 1844 he was appointed Colonial Secretary for New Zealand, and is credited with creating the first effective civil service in that country.

Scottish Achievement, Influence & Heritage is a work in progress