(c.1650–1692), American missionary plant collector. Born in Gloucester, he received his BA Oxford in 1671, and three years later Bishop Compton sent him as Anglican minister to the West Indies and later to Virginia. He was a competent botanist and developed into an enthusiastic plant collector. By 1680 Banister had completed the first study of American plants, the catalogue of which appeared in Revd John Ray's (1627–1705) three-volume Historia Plantarum (1686–1704). Banister collected material also for the newly opened Chelsea Physic Garden and Oxford Botanic Garden. He proved to have a good eye for potential garden plants, discovering and introducing to cultivation the first magnolia Magnolia virginiana (Sweet bay), Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman's breeches), the Scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea), and the beautiful Liquidambar styraciflua. Banister died in May 1692 while collecting plants on the banks of the Roanoke river in Virginia.
From The Oxford Companion to the Garden in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Lifestyle, Home, and Garden.