Collecting localities



Biographical data


Cuming, Hugh


(Source: Flora Malesiana ser. 1, 1: Cyclopaedia of collectors)

(Source: Flora Malesiana ser. 1, 5: Cyclopaedia of collectors, Supplement I)

(Source: Flora Malesiana ser. 1, 8: Cyclopaedia of collectors, Supplement II)


Born: 1791, West Alvington, Devon, England. Died: 1865, London, England.



Traveller and naturalist, started collecting (since 1819) in S. America and the Pacific Islands.1 In the course of time he brought together extensive botanical, zoological and conchological collections (the latter, one of the largest of the world), principally in the Philippines.

Many plants were named after him.


Collecting localities:2

Leaving England (Febr. 26, 1836). Expecting to sail for Batavia (Java), Singapore and Manila (Luzon, P.I.); Philippines: arrival at Manila, Luzon (July 24, 1836); the rainy season had set in and therefore he could not make any excursions in the country until the end of Sept.; then he left Manila for the Hacienda of Calaguan (Calauan) in the centre of Luzon, remaining until Dec. 15;3 borders of the great lake (Laguna); in 1837 visiting the islands in the south (this trip occupying 10 months): Panay, Guimaras, Negros, Siquijor, Zebu (= Cebu), Bohol, Camiguing (Camiguin de Misamis) and Mindanao; Southern Islands, viz Samar, Leyte, Masbate, Ticao, Burias, Mindoro and the SE. provinces of Luzon: Albay, Camarines, Tayabas and Batangas; in Nov. 1838 at Manila, preparing for a trip to the northern part of Luzon; Nov. 1839 leaving Manila, proceeding to Singapore, Malay Peninsula (Malacca, visiting Mt Ophir in Johore in 1840) and Sumatra; via St Helena; back in London (June 5, 1840).



He collected 130.000 herb. specimens, and sent living orchids both to the Calcutta Gardens and to the firm of Loddiges (see there).

In Herb. Kew [K] (ex Herb. Bentham and Hooker) nos 401-2464, 2 practically complete sets; Herb. Brit. Mus. [BM]: 2433 nos (purch. 1841) and 113 orchids in alcohol (purch. 1843) and acq. with Herb. Shuttleworth in 1877; Herb. Oxford [OXF]: c. 2500 species (ex Herb. Fielding); Herb. Cambridge [CGE]; Herb. Berl. [B]: extensive coll.; Gray Herb. (Cambr., Mass.) [GH]; Herb. Paris [P]: 1870 specim., and ferns with Herb. Bonaparte; Herb. Caen [CN]; Herb. Bot. Garden St Petersb. (= Leningrad) (2000); Herb. Imp. A cad. St Petersb. (= Leningrad) (1962) [LE]; Herb. Moscow [MW] (many types of Turczaninow); Herb. Deless., Boiss. and Decand. (1150 spec.), at Geneva [G]; Herb. Göttingen (1200) [GOET]; Herb. Card. de Haynald (= Budapest) [BP]; Herb. Univ. Kiel [KIEL]; Herb. Senckenb. Ges. (= Univ.) Frankfurt [FR]: 600 specim. from the P.I.; Herb. Munich (with Herb. Zuccarini) [M]; Nat. Hist. Mus. Vienna [W]: 2073 Philip. plants, also with Herb. Reichenbach: Orch. Philip. and from Singapore; Univers. Leipsic [LZ]; Herb. Cesati (= Rome) [RO]; Herb. Florence [FI]; Manila [PNH]:4 880 dupl. Philip. pl. by exchange with Brit. Mus. (the former material of Cuming was destroyed by fire in Sept. 1897), 104 dupl. P.I. (pres. Kew 1907/08), 156 Philip. ferns (dupl. Brit. Mus., pres. 1908/09); Herb. v. Heurck ( = Antwerp) [AWH]: 800 Philip. plants; Herb. Leiden [L]; Herb. Sing. (dupl. pres. by Brit. Mus.) [SING]; Herb. Calcutta [CAL]; Herb. Manchester [MANCH]; Columbia Univers. Herb. (on deposit at the Herb. N.Y. Bot. Gard. [NY]);5 N.Y. Bot. Gard. (200 + coll. Columbia Univers. Herb.) [NY]; Herb. Miss. Bot. Gard. St Louis (splendid series) [MO]; Herb. Turczaninow (= Kharkov) [now LE?]; Herb. Lindemann (U.S.S.R.) (105 nos) [LECB]; Herb. Linn. Soc. Lond. [LINN]: from the Philippines, Malacca, etc.; Herb. Utrecht [U]. Herb. Copenh. [C]: 303 nos. Also dupl. in Herb. Edinb. [E].

Ferns of his were sold at the sale of the herbarium of Wm Gourlie of Glasgow, in 1858.

Most of the specimens from 1-2153 were collected in the Philippines, and all of the numbers between 2154 and 2464 were collected outside of the Philippines, in Malacca, Singapore, Sumatra and St Helena (2428-2443 from Sumatra);6 the numbers 1-434 are vascular cryptogams of both the Philippines and other localities. They should not be confounded with his previous collections from America and the Pacific Islands, as these also run from 1 to 1499!7 Probably Cuming did not collect botanical material on all the Philippine islands visited.

He used a printed label ‘Ins. Philippinae 1841’ for the entire collection; the localities were not written on all the labels as the sets of duplicates were prepared, but the new locality was added on the label of the first number from that locality. As many subscribers omitted to complete the labels, many of Cuming’s extra-Philippine plants occur in various herbaria under Philippine labels.8 Collection labelled “Ins. Philippinae 1841”: 1-434. Vascular cryptogams. Most of the species from the Philippines, a few from Malacca, Singapore, etc. Apparently properly labelled.-435-694. Luzon.-695-702. Corregidor. 703-1478. Luzon.-1479-1603. Mindoro.-1604-1673. Mindanao.-1674-1732. Samar.-1733-1757. Leyte.-1758-1789. Cebu.-1790-1810. Negros.-1811-1857. Bohol.-1858-2153. Philippines, not localized (exceptions 2052; 2053-2058).-2052. Malay Peninsula.-2053-2058. Singapore.-2154-2242. Cellular cryptogams chiefly from the Philippines.-2252-2399. Malay Peninsula.-2400-2427. Singapore.-2428-2443. Sumatra.-2444-2464. St. Helena.

In addition to the information concerning the numbering given in the Cyclopaedia (Fl. Mal. I, 1), it seems worthwhile to give a more detailed extract of the list published by Merrill, Cf. l.c. LITERATURE (6).

A. de Candolle in his Prodromus vol. 17 (1873) p. 316 gave information on the numbering of the ‘Plantae Cumingianae’ as far as not collected in the Philippines. It is less complete, however, and partly incorrect.

Many papers are based on his collections.9

His letters2 are preserved at Kew.



(1) H. St John: ‘Itinerary of Hugh Cuming in Polynesia’ (Occ. Pap. Bern. P. Bish. Mus. 16, 1940, p. 81-90, w. portr.).

(2) R.A. Rolfe: ‘The localities of Cuming’s Philippine plants’ (Kew Bull. 1908, p. It 6-119).

E.D. Merrill: ‘Hugh Cuming’s letters to Sir William Hooker’ (Philip. Journ. Sci. 30, 1926, p. 153-184, w. portr.).

(3) cf. Ann. Nat. Hist. l, 1838, p. 56-57.

(4) E.D. Merrill: ‘Notes on Cuming’s Philippine plants in the herbarium of the Bureau of Government Laboratories’ (Govt Lab. Publ. Philip. 35, 1905, p. 69-77).

(5) cf. Journ. N.Y. Bot. Gard. 5, 1904, p. 40.

(6) A list of numbers and localities prepared by Cuming for Sir W. Hooker and preserved at Kew, is reproduced by E.D. Merrill in Philip. Journ. Sci. C. Bot. 10, 1915, p. 183 and in I.e. 30, 1926, p. 175.

(7) cf. Rolfe in Journ. Linn. Soc. Bot. 21, 1886, p. 287.

(8) E.D. Merrill: ‘Genera and species erroneously credited to the Philippine flora’ (Philip. Journ. Sci. C. Bot. 10, 1915, p. 171-194); cf. also l.c. 30, 1926, p. 174-175.

(9) J. Lindley described orchids in Bot. Register 26, 1840, Misc. p. 74.

J. Smith: ‘Enumeratio Filicum Philippinarum; or a systematic arrangement of the ferns collected by H. Cuming, Esq. F.L.S., in the Philippine Islands and the Peninsula of Malacca, between the years 1836 and 1840’ (Hook. Journ. Bot. 3, 1841, p. 392-422).

C. Montagne: ‘Plantas cellulares quas in insulis Philippinensibus a cl. Cuming collectes recensuit observationibus non nullis descriptionibusque illustravit’ (Hook. Lond. Journ. Bot. 3, 1844, p. 658-662 and in l.c. 4, 1845, p. 3-11).

Turczaninow based an extensive series of special papers on Cuming’s collections in Bull. Soc. Nat. Moscow 192, 1846, p. 489-496, 497-510; 202, 1847, p. 148-174; 211, 1848, p. 250-262, 570-591; 241, 1851, p. 166-214; 251, 1852, p. 310-325; 272, 1854, p. 271-372; 311, 1858, p. 185-250, 379-476; 362, 1863, p. 193-227, 228-235, 545-615.

Presl in ‘Epimeliae Botanicae’ (1849), described a number of Cuming’s Philippine plants.

C.G. Nees ab Esenbeck: ‘Gramineae Cumingianae’ (Hook. Journ. Bot. & Kew Gard. Misc. 2, 1850, p. 97-105) and ‘Cyperaceae Cumingianae’ (l.c. 6, 1854, p. 27-30).

J. Palacky: ‘Uebersicht der von Miquel in der Flora Indiae batavae bestimmte Cuming’schen Philippinen-Pflanzen’ (Flora 43, 1860, p. 446-448).

J. Hasskarl: ‘Ueber einige neue Pflanzen der Philippinen aus der Cuming’schen Sammlung’ (Flora 48, 1865, p. 401-403).

J. Müller: ‘Nouvelle espèce de Loranthus (L. mirabilis van Heurck et Muell.Arg.) provenant des files Philippines’ (Verb. Schweiz. Naturf. Ges. 55, 1872, p. 47-48).

C. Müller: ‘Novitates Bryothecae Müllerianae’ (Linnaea 38, 1874, p. 545-572).

S. Vidal y Soler: ‘Phanerogamae Cumingianae Philippinarum, ó Indiae numérico y catálogo sistematico de las plantas fanerogamas coleccionado en Filipinas por Hugh Cuming, con caracteristicas de algunas especies no descritas y del genero Cumingia (Malvacéas)’ (1885).

Bonaparte, Notes Ptéridol., fast. 1, 1915, p. 205-207.

E.D. Merrill gives a partial bibliography of papers based wholly or to a large extent on Philippine botanical and zoological material collected by Cuming, in Philip. Journ. Sci. 30, 1926, p. 176-184.


biographical data:

Journ. Linn. Soc. 9, 1868, p. lvii-lix; Bot. Zeitung 24, 1866, p. 31-32; Seemann Journ. Bot. 3, 1865, p. 325-326; In Hemsley & Hooker, Biol. Centr.-Amer. 4, 1887, App. p. 133; Urban, Symb. Antill., 3, 1902-03, p. 34-35; other references cf. Merrill in Philip. Journ. Sci. 30, 1926, p. 159-160, w. portr.; Burkill in Gard. Bull. Str. Settlem. 4, 1927, nos 4-5; Biogr. Index Britten & Boulder, 2nd ed. by Rendle, 1931; Backer, Verkl. Woordenb., 1936; portr. cf. sub Lit. 1.