I have just been informed by a good friend from Spain that today is the 109th birth anniversary of Father Santapau. My friend Miguel’s uncle, also a Jesuit and serious plant aficionado, knew him very well and both of them shared the same birthplace in north-east Spain.
In addition to his diverse publications in English, Father Santapau also wrote about Indian flora in his native Spanish and these papers were published in journals of the Madrid Botanical Garden, the Antonio José Cavanilles Institute of Botany et al. I have been reading some of his Spanish writings on the flora of Bombay, Saurashtra, Khandala, Mahabaleshwar etc. – an absorbing mix of monograph, travelogue and anecdotes punctuated with his own line drawings of maps and plant parts.
The affectionate kinship and the deep sense of belonging with which he introduced the plants and the forests of India to the native readers of his motherland suggest that the flora of India had naturalized him long before he became a formal Indian citizen. Concurrently, his love for the country of his birth and youth prompted him to liken the red-yellow-red flowers of Gloriosa superba as the most vivid manifestation of the Spanish national flag in nature!
Have attached an article on Father Santapau by Prof. PV Bole. Miguel had sent me some Spanish newspaper clippings of Father Santapau’s interviews from the 1950s and one of these is also attached.

Yes it is good occasion to remember Father Santapau, who in addition to contributions to Flora of Western Ghats, had a major role in updating recent accepted names for Indian plants through his numerous publications.

Thanks a lot for sharing this.

Even in Orchid world he is well known as his was one of the first comprehensive orchid treatise from India on Orchids of Bombay.
Many orchids were first described by him from western Ghats most of which hopefully still lies at the BLATTER herbarium.

Staff and Students at Blatter Herbarium, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai where Fr. Santapau spent the most of his time teaching and researching plants..remember and pay tribute to this great Botanist! ..We salute you Father!

I salute Father Santapau

I am having ‘The Orchids Of Bomaby’ book written by him , which made me love orchids more

Thanks a lot for sharing such nice memory of Fr.Santapau…As a Student from Blatter Herbarium we are very lucky to worked at place where such a eminent scientist of India has worked. My great tribute & Salute to Fr.Santapau.

Am sure that not too many people are aware that the dense forest in the ravines below Duke’s Nose in Khandala is popularly known as the Fr.Santapau Sanctuary.
Sending a few photographs,

I have an interesting story to tell about Father Santapau who was my Guru [Dr.MRAlmeida]’s Guru

Dr Almeida discovered 4 new grass species as a student while doing his theisis.. ofcourse no one believed him.. when Father Santpau came to know this, he immediately send the specimens to Botanical Survey of India.. got it confirmed that Sir [Almeida] was right and threw a big party for all students saying after many years we have discovered new species and that to by a student!
I wonder what Dr Almeida would have been.. had he not met Father Santapau.

I salute this great teacher Father Santapau. and my Guru Dr Almeida

I had heard about Father Santapau as a legendary botanist but I had no idea whatsoever about his Spanish / European background. Thank you so much … for this extremely interesting and well-written email
at the right time.

Forgive my ignorance but I did not know anything about Father Santapau until I read … post. Now I feel it’s like going for birdwatching and not knowing about great Salim Ali!! Thanks … for the beautiful Khandala photos … and thanks a lot … for your excellent email.

Thanks … for sharing information about Fr.Santapau Sanctuary in Khandala region. I had visited Duke’s Nose on many occasion from Khandala Railway station but never knew that the forest in this region around Duke’s Nose is known as Fr.Santapau Sanctuary. Thanks for the info.

IN MEMORY OF FR SANTAPAU: I came to know that yesterday was the 109th birth day of Fr Santapau. I read an introduction by him for Burkill’s CHAPTERS ON THE HISTORY OF BOTANY IN INDIA, that was in 1964. What a great botanist he was ! And a great friend of India. I salute him.