Kyd – Roxburgh – Indian Botanic Garden – BSI:

Tuesday, the 17th July 2012, i was on a time machine and travelled to the days of Colonel Robert Kyd, the founder of “Indian Botanic Garden”,

…and to the days of William Roxburgh, “The Father of Indian Botany” who authored “PLANTS of The COAST of COROMANDEL” in the year 1795.

Well, i won’t take much of your time, please go through the following links for very useful and interesting readings –

  1. http://apps.kew.org/floraindica/htm/biography_kyd.htm
  2. http://apps.kew.org/floraindica/htm/legacy.htm
  3. http://www.kew.org/collections/ecbot/pages/wp-content/media/papers/hastings1986howrah.pdf
  4. http://164.100.52.111/briefhistory.shtm
  5. http://164.100.52.111/cnh/Aboutus.shtm
  6. http://www.banglapedia.org/httpdocs/HT/C_0011.HTM
  7. http://joyacharyya.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/botanical-garden-howrah/

This was the second time i ever visited the garden, that came under the supervision of BSI since the 1st January, 1963. The garden is about 40 km South-East to my home and i knew nothing about it even when i visited it, for the first time, on the 25th December, 2010.

We were taught a line or two on ‘Linnean Taxonomy’ in schools and colleges, we found the names of taxonomists in our text books and we skipped the chapters because it was not in our syllabus! We memorized a few lines from our text books in order to regurgitate the same on exam papers and to be completely forgotten those as soon as the exam was over! No link to our history, no link to our civilization, no link to our social responsibilities, just get a degree to grab a job that pays fat salary so that you forget everything!

Raju Sir, Thank you very much… now i feel that i may become human again, not merely a money earning robot.


Thanks a lot for sharing. With a condition like this I imagine how long this building where legends worked, will last. Roxburgh was indeed Father of Indian Botany, but many times I find many of his illustrations very uneasy to digest. His artists actually tried to make the illustrations look good (which is wrong. The effort of the botanical illustrator should be to make the illustration accurate, now matter how bad it looks), and this habit had created doubts about many plants later on. One such example is Dendrobium aphyllum, which was change to Dendrobium cucullatum and then back to aphyllum. Another example is of Aerides multiflora which has an erect floral stalk and that too branched !!!

He was then succeeded by another big time legend N. Wallich and his contributions have been enormous and his story is different. He had habit of collecting multiple copies of each voucher. The best thing he did was, before dying, he distributed one voucher each to different herbaria of the world and this is how more and more people came to know about Indian plants. I call him voracious collector. Many of the new species in subsequent years after him have been described from his collections till date.
Best regards and thanks for the short teerth of a buddign botanist like me 🙂
Bhagwan aapka bhala kare 🙂


I should refrain myself from making any comment for lack of my knowledge over the entire content. However, i copy here a few words from the document available at http://www.kew.org/collections/ecbot/pages/wp-content/media/papers/hastings1986howrah.pdf , “…. The most notable superintendent at Calcutta soon after Roxburgh was Dr Nathaniel Wallich, who served from 1817 to 1846. Dr Wallich was a most able and energetic botanist, who organised collecting expeditions over a large part of the Indian Empire. He was extremely generous in distributing herbarium specimens so that his successor, Dr W. Griffith, was forced to bemoan the absence from Calcutta of much that have been collected in the first fifty years of the Garden’s existence…”
And why i should ring Bhagwan when you are there with us :))


 

 

 

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