Collecting localities



Biographical data


Curtis, Charles


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

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


Born: 1852, Barnstaple, Devonshire, England. Died: 1928, Barnstaple, England.



Plant collector in the employ of the firm of James Veitch & Sons, 1878-84 (previously for 4 years in the New Plant Dept at Chelsea); he travelled in Madagascar and the Malay Archipelago. He occupied the post of Superintendent of Gardens and Forests, Penang, 1884-1903; retired in March 1903 owing to ill health.1 He built up a herbarium in Penang, which in 1910 was incorporated into that of the Botanic Gardens, Singapore. Several plants were named after him.


Collecting localities:

1880-82. Travelling in the Malay Archipelago: Sumatra (e.g. Padang Highlands and Indragiri), Java (e.g. Mt Salak, environs Buitenzorg), Borneo (accompanied by D. Burke, see there, in Sarawak; after seeing Burke + collection shipped at Singapore, he proceeded to Pontianak. Owing to a mishap with the boat, a month’s collections were lost), Celebes (Minahassa, N. Celebes, being a guest of Mr Veen of the Coffee Estate Kelolonde, collecting on G. Kelolonde; also pr. Maros in SW. Celebes); Moluccas (Ternate and Batjan).-1882-83. 2nd Mission to Malaya (cf. Hortus Veitchii).-1884. Timor (Amaranth. at Kew, coll. July). Malay Peninsula: since July stationed in Penang.-1885. Penang; Perak (in Jan. with Cantley), e.g. G. Bubu and G. Pondok near Kuala Kangsa, and Maxwell’s Hill near Taiping; in Nov. to Teluk Ansun (= Telok Anson) and up the Sungkei River; For. Reserve Tasek Gelugor.-1887. Perak:2 Hermitage Hill, Waterloo Estate, Kuala Kangsar, top of Taiping Hills.-1888. Visiting Pangkor Isl., about Lumut, Rajah Itam, etc. in the Dindings (Jan.);3 Dindings (July 7-14); Kuala Malaka and Telaya Tujoh (= Langkawi Isl.) (Aug.).4-1889. Dindings (Jan.);5 Hill ranges in Perak (Sept.); Langkawi Islands.-1890. Selangor (Apr.-May), Perak (May); Langkawi Isls (Febr., Sept.; e.g. G. Raya and G. Chindrang).-1892. Dindings (Febr.); Sembilan Isls; Kedah and Perak (Oct.); short visits to Malacca and Langkawi Isls (Apr., P. Nior Stali etc.).-1893. Penang; Siamese west coast (Febr.); accompanying H.N. Ridley (June 4) to P. Song-Song and Yan.-1894. Taiping (July); from Telok Anson (Aug. 16) to Tapah, Kalinda, Kuala Depang, G. Bujong Malaka, Sg. Siput, G. Mesah, Kampar, Tapah, Telok Anson; Perak (Oct.);6 Dindings-1895. Kinta Distr., Perak (Dec.).7-1896. Langkawi Isls (Apr.), Siamese Malay State of Kasum (Nov.).8-1897. Langkawi Isls with Ridley (Febr.).-1898. Ipoh (July); Perak, G. Bujong Malaka (Aug.).9-1899. Langkawi Isls (Febr.).-1900. No special excursion, but several plants collected, e.g. in Malacca (May) and in Perak (Oct.).10-1901. Penang; Malacca, Muar River (Kedah) (Apr.); Johore; trip to Indragiri in Sumatra during the early part of the year;11 Langkawi Isls (Nov., P. Nior Stali etc.); Perak (Dec.).-1902. Pahang track.



His main herbarium from the Malay Peninsula was transferred to Singapore in 1903 [SING]; also sets in Herb. Kuala Lump. [KEP] and Penang (= Sing. now [SING]) (study set). Dupl. in Herb. Kew [K]: from Timor, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Penang, Perak (acq. 1881-99), 2535 nos (see also H.J. Veitch, 1898); Herb. Brit. Mus. [BM]: 27 nos of Dipterocarp. (pres. 1888), 243 Penang plants (porch. 1890), 333 Malayan plants (pres. 1891-94); Herb. Calcutta [CAL]: > 1239 specim. (pres. 1888-1901); Herb. Vienna [W]: 205 nos of Penang plants (purch. 1891) + Borneo orchids with Herb. Reichenbach; Herb. Berl. [B] (dupl. from Herb. Sing.); U.S. Nat. Herb. Wash. [US]: 297 plants Mal. Pen. (porch. 1892); Herb. Leiden [L] (Penang).

The numbers were put on the specimens only after study. J.G. Baker classified part of his fern collections.12

When in the Moluccas (between 1880-82 as a Veitch collector); specimens in Herb. Kew [K].



(1) Author of ‘Catalogue of the flowering plants and ferns found growing wild in the island of Penang’ (Journ. Str. Br. Roy. As. Soc. no 25, 1894, p. 67-163; with Appendix by H.N. Ridley, ‘The botanists of Penang’, l.c. p. 163-169).

(2) cf. App. to Forest Rep. Str. Settlem. for 1887, p. 9.

(3) cf. Str. Settlem. Govt Gazette, March 1888.

(4) cf. Ann. Rep. For. Dept Str. Settlem. 1888, App. F, p. 16 and App. C, p. 12.

(5) cf. l.c. App. D, p. 13-14.

(6) cf. Ann. Rep. Bot. Gard. Str. Settlem. for 1894, App. C.

(7) cf. l.c. for 1895, App. B.

(8) cf. l.c. for 1896, App. B; partly copied in Gard. Chron. 3rd ser. 21, 1897, p. 333-334.

(9) cf. l.c. for 1898, App. B.

(10) cf. l.c. for 1900, App. B-C.

(11) cf. l.c. for 1901, App. B.

(12) ‘On a collection of ferns made by Mr. Curtis in the Malay Islands and Madagascar’ (Journ. Bot. 19, 1881, p. 366-368).

cf. also Hook. Icon. 37, 1886/87, t. 1607.


biographical data:

Hortus Veitchii 1906, p. 85-86; Burkill in Gard. Bull. Str. Settlem. 4, 1927, nos 4-5; Journ. Bot. 66, 1928, p. 332-333; Kew Bull. 1928, p. 383; Gard. Bull. Str. Settlem. 4, 1929, p. 427; Backer, Verkl. Woordenb., 1936; Journ. Roy. Hort. Soc. 73, 1948, p. 288-289.