Collecting localities



Biographical data


Lobb, Thomas


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

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


Born: 1820, Cornwall, England. Died: 1894, Devoran, Cornwall, England.



Employed by the firm of Messrs Veitch, Exeter, in the years 1843-60, to collect plants of horticultural value. As the result of exposure in his work, he lost one of his legs, which induced him to settle at Devoran in Cornwall.

He is commemorated in the genus Lobbia Planch. and in several Malaysian plant species.


Collecting localities:1

It is recorded that he proceeded to Singapore in 1843, and visited Java and adjacent islands. The first collecting dates from the Malaysian region, known to me, are from 1845; Lobb may have collected elsewhere in the meantime.-1845. Malay Peninsula: Singapore, Penang, Kedah Peak, Malacca.-1845-46. W. Java: Bantam, Mt Salak, Mt Seribu (W of Buitenzorg), Panarang, Mt Asapan near Bantam, Mt Pangrango; Mt Papandajan; ? Bali ( ? ).-By a 2nd agreement he left England for Calcutta (Dec. 25, 1848), collected in Br. India and Burma and afterwards in the southern parts of the Malay Peninsula, on Mt Ophir (1849) (also visited in ? 1848) etc.; North Borneo (Labuan and Sarawak); subsequently visiting the Philippines, collecting in the neighbourhood of Manila (Luzon) (according to Hort. Veitchii in 1848!).-Malay Peninsula: Singapore and short visit to Sarawak (1852); Java and Noesa Kambangan ( ? 1854); Mt Ophir (1854); Borneo (1854); Sumatra (1855); Br. N. Borneo, attempt to reach Mt Kinabalu (1856), but forced by the natives to return when at Kiau (2800 ft alt.).



He collected dried plants, which were sold in sets after determination;2 these often bear incorrect localities.3 The Java plants are numbered 1-276, those from Singapore 277-333, at least of the collection up to 1846. But here too errors occur, as no 263, Xyris lobbii, which accordingly ought to come from Java, came surely either from the Malay Peninsula or Moulmein! A large Singapore collection was lost by shipwreck.

In Herb. Brit. Mus. [BM]: 131 plants from Java (purch. 1846); 213 from Java, Penang, and Singapore (purch. 1847); 48 plants (purch. 1848) (elsewhere the statement: 711 plants from Malaysia purch. 1846-48!);4 Singapore plants (acq. with Herb. Shuttleworth) (1877); 819 plants from the Eastern Archipelago (pres. by H.J. Veitch in 1888); 400 Borneo plants, chiefly ferns and Nepenthes (purch. 1894). Herb. Kew [K]: from Malaya, Singapore and Java (acq. 1854-98), nos 1-486, and 900.5 Duplicates at Cambridge [CGE]; in Herb. Oxford Univ. (with Fielding Herb. [OXF]): Singapore and Java; Berl. [B] (only few ? ); Herb. Deless. (Geneva [G]): 243 nos from Java (pres. 1845-48); Herb. Sing. [SING]: from India, Malacca (exch. 1889); Herb. Univ. Dublin [TCD]; Herb. Turczaninow (= Univ. Kharkov [KW]); Herb. Florence [FI]: Java plants; Herb. Vienna [W]: Java,6 and orchids from Java and Borneo with Herb. Reichenbach; Herb. Paris [P]: some from Java; Herb. Bot. Gard. St. Petersb. (= Leningrad [LE]): ‘Plantae javanenses’; Herb. Utrecht [U]: Java (1846); Herb. Edinburgh [E]: Java (1846).

He also collected living plants.



(1) The mentioned data were occasionally collected in literature, mainly in ‘Hortus Veitchii’ (1906) and in the cited biographies. The results are hardly satisfactory.

(2) cf. ‘Mr. Thos. Lobb’s Java plants’ (Hook. Lond. Journ. Bot. 5, 1846, p. 198.

J.E. Planchon : ‘Catalogue of the first series of plants of Java collected by Thom. Lobb, sets of which have been announced for sale by Mr. Heward, Young Street, Kensington’ (l.c. 5, 1846, p. 246-250); ‘Catalogue of Malayan plants collected by Thom. Lobb etc. (l.c. 6, 1847, p. 469-473). This catalogue was discontinued.

(3) cf. Hortus Veitchii 1906, p. 41.

cf. E.D. Merrill: ‘Genera and species erroneously credited to the Philippine flora’ (Philip. Journ. Sci. C. But. 10, 1915, p. 171-194), and ‘A discussion and bibliography of Philip. Flow. Plants’ (Manila 1926, p. 76; Merrill even suggests: ‘The labels of Lobb’s specimens seem to have been purposely falsified as to the localities in which they were collected’).

cf. also Ridley in Journ. Str. Br. Roy. As. Soc. no 25, 1894, p. 166 (erroneously William Lobb!).

(4) cf. ‘History Coll. Brit. Mus.’ vol. 1, 1904, p. 89 and 163.

(5) Some plants described by J.D. Hooker in ‘Illustrations of the floras of the Malayan Archipelago, and of tropical Africa’ (Trans. Linn. Soc. Lond. 231, 1860, p. 155-172, pl. 20-28).

(6) cf. Ann. k.k. Naturhist. Hofmus. Wien 11, 1896, p. 20.


biographical data:

Journ. Bot. 32, 1894, p. 191, and Biogr. Index Britten & Boulger in l.c. 36, 1898, p. 271, and in 2nd ed. by Rendle, 1931; Cottage Gardener 13, p. 274 (non vidi); Gard. Chron. 15, 1894, p. 636; Hortus Veitchii 1906, p. 41-44; Burkill in Gard. Bull. Str. Settlem. 4, 1927, nos 4-5; Backer, Verkl. Woordenb., 1936; Nature 149, 1942, p. 438; Journ. Roy. Hort. Soc. 67, no 2, 1942; Chron. Bot. 7, 1943, p. 357; Journ. Roy. Hort. Soc. 73, 1948, p. 285-286.