(1741–1805), English plant collector who trained at Kew and in 1772 was chosen as the first professional plant collector by Sir Joseph Banks. The destination was the Cape region of South Africa where for three years he travelled and botanized, accompanied on occasions by Carl Thunberg. Masson returned to Britain bringing with him among many other plants Amaryllis belladonna and Strelitzia reginae (the bird of paradise plant). For five years Masson travelled through the Atlantic islands and Iberia, but in 1786 he returned to South Africa, spending a decade in the Cape and its interior. Four hundred new species are credited to him including Cape heaths, Pelargonium, Kniphofia (red-hot poker), Mesembryanthemum, Agapanthus, Lobelia, Protea, and the glorious Zantedeschia aethiopica (arum lily). Unable to settle in England, Masson was invited to plant hunt in North America, visiting New York and Montréal, where during the winter of 1805 he died.
From The Oxford Companion to the Garden in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Lifestyle, Home, and Garden.