Nathaniel Wallich

(1785—1854) botanist

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Joseph Banks (1743—1820) naturalist and patron of science


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(1786–1854), Danish botanist and physician born in Copenhagen. Wallich was an Anglophile and spent time in England, coming to the notice of Sir Joseph Banks. In 1807 he joined the Danish East India Company as surgeon at Serampore. Six years later it was transferred to the British, and Wallich, on Banks's recommendation, was appointed superintendent of the East India Company's Calcutta Botanic Garden, a post he held for 26 years. Wallich botanized in the East Indies, the Himalayas, Nepal, and Burma, often using native collectors, sending vast numbers of specimens to Sir Joseph Banks in appreciation of his early patronage. Among Wallich's publications was Plantae Asiaticae Rariories (1830–32), hailed as a ‘new glory to the British nation’. Wallich retired to England, where he was a Fellow of both the Linnean Society (1818) and the Royal Society (1829). The genus Wallichia consisting of three Himalayan palms was named in his honour.

From The Oxford Companion to the Garden in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Lifestyle, Home, and Garden.

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