Collecting localities



Biographical data


Ridley, Henry Nicholas


(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: 1855, West-Harling, Norfolk, England. Died: 1956, Kew, England.



From 1880-87 Assistant in the Botany Department, British Museum, London; 1888-1900 Director of Gardens and Forests, Straits Settlements; 1901-12 Director of Gardens, Singapore. He was one of the chief promoters of the introduction of the para rubber tree, Hevea, in the Malay Peninsula and introduced a tapping method. He was a man of great ability, whose achievements in the pioneer days of tropical agricultural reconnaissance are remarkable. After his retirement in 1912 he occasionally revisited the tropics. In 1928 he was awarded the Frank E. Meyer Medal; vol. 132 of Curtis’s Botanical Magazine was dedicated to his works; the first number of vol. 9 of the Gard. Bull. Str. Settlements was dedicated to him on the occasion of his 80th birthday, with full appreciation of his work done in the Malay Peninsula.

He is the author of large reports on the collections of others (cf. e.g. sub C.B. Kloss), many papers on new plants from Borneo and the Malay Peninsula, and of several handbooks.1

The genus Ridleyella Schltr. and several plant species were named in his honour.2


Collecting localities:3




























1887. Trip to the Atlantic islet Fernando de Noronha.4-1889. Malay Peninsula. In July visiting Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, and Penang; in Aug. to the E. coast with Tassim Daud: P. Tioman (18), Pekan, Cherating River, Rumpin, Trengganu, Kelantan and P. Ketam.5-1890. A fortnight’s expedition to Pahang, districts round Pekan and Kwala Pahang (May; coll. 600 spec.);6 P. Tekong; Malacca. W. Java: sailing from Singapore (Aug.), visiting Buitenzorg and Angier point (= Anjer) on his way to or from Cocos Islands and Christmas Island.7-1891. Malay Peninsula: Taiping (March); failing attempt to reach G. Tahan,6 with Kelsall (June 23-Aug. 19 back in Pulau Tawar), Pahang River (July 7-9); also collecting in Singapore, Johore, Malacca, and Port Dickson-1892. In Febr.-March visiting the Dindings, Sembilan Islands, Larut Hills, Kuala Kangsar Distr.; later Mt Ophir Range and G. Meting with D.F.A. Hervey (see there); in Dec. ridge of G. Panti, Kota Tinggi.-1893. Expedition to Kedah Peak:8 leaving Penang (June 4); P. Song-Song, Yan, Kedah Peak (6 days); Perak Hills (June). NW. Borneo, Sarawak: Bau (July); Matang and Lundu (Aug.).-1894. Malay Peninsula: Isl. of Singapore, outlying parts; Kamuning Estate near Sg. Siput (Febr.). ? NW. Borneo, Sarawak: Lundu (Sept.).-1895. Malay Peninsula: Prov. Wellesley and Penang (Dec.; small collection).-1896. Riau (= Riouw) Archipelago (Febr.): P. Karimoen, P. Boeroe, S of Singapore, Rhio (partly by a native collector).9 Mal. Penins.: Selangor (May 9-June 11):10 about Rawang, Dusum Tua, Bt Etam, Bt Kutu, Ginting Peras, tinting Bidai, thus reaching the watershed; between Kajang and Sepang, chiefly the Reko Woods.-1897. Langkawi Islands; Selangor near the Batu Caves and along the Pahang track (July). Sumatra East Coast: Siak, Mandau River (Nov.). Labuan; Br. N. Borneo: Kudat, Sandakan and Labuk Bay; NW. Borneo: Sarawak.-1898. Mal. Penins.: Batu Caves ( ? Aug.); Kinta Valley in Perak (Oct.): G. Bujong Malacca, G. Keladang, Ipoh, Telok Pinang; Negri Sembilan, visiting Seremban and Perhantian Tinggi (Dec.); Mt Ophir (Dec.).11 In this year he also made his annual visit to Penang, Prov. Wellesley, the Dindings, Singapore and Johore.-1899. Annual visit to Penang, Dindings and Selangor (Batu Caves etc.).-1900. In the spring visiting Malacca and Prov. Wellesley; Johore Lama (Oct.); Expedition to Batu Pahat in W. Johore (Nov.),12 collecting on G. Banang, G. Penggaran and ascending Sg. Simpan Kanan; Panchur on the Johore River (Nov.).-1902. Perak Hills, Penang (3 days collecting in Dec.).-1903. NW. Borneo: Sarawak, with plant collector (July).-1904. Mal. Penins.: Perak and elsewhere (Febr.); Semangko Pass and at Rantau Panjang (Aug.); Christmas Island (Indian Ocean) with plant collector Kassan (Sept. 25-end of Oct.),13 this time not touching at Anjer Point. Mal. Penins.: G. Pulai in Johore (end of Dec., for a week).-1905. NW. Borneo: Matang (Aug.) and Lundu in Sarawak (Sept.).-1906. Mal. Penins.: Malacca; Prov. Wellesley.-1907. Johore (during Easter Holidays).-1908. Johore, at Cucob (or Kukob) and Tempayan River (Apt.); visit to Tebrau, a day at Sed(e)nak (Aug.); Batu Caves, Klang Gates; Expedition to the main chain of the Peninsula at Telom,14 with H.C. Robinson and C.B. Kloss (Nov.): in the neighbourhood of Tapah, then a start from Telom through the Batang Padang Valley (staying 3 weeks).-1909. During early part of the year in Penang; Expedition to Temengoh (= Temengor) in Upper Perak,15 with Robinson and Kloss (July); Perak (Aug.); Kota Tinggi and Kukob in Johore.-1910. Expedition to Kedah, Alor Star, Perlis and Setul (Siamese States) (March);16 Kuala Lumpur (Dec., few days); G. Panti in Johore.-1911. Semangkoh Pass, Selangor (in the spring); to the Pulau Adang group of islands, off Langkawi,17 with H.C. Robinson and Dr Hanitsch, visiting: P. Rawi (Febr. 20-21), P. Adang (21-23); P. Nipis on the 22th), P. Tengah (23), leaving for Kuala Malacca in the Langkawi Islands, trip to Telayah Tujoh (24) and back to Singapore via Penang and Kuala Lumpur; Expedition to G. Tahan18 in Pahang, with Kloss and Robinson (June 27-Aug.). After retirement visiting Annam, Cambodja, Burma, Siam, Ceylon and in 1912 India.-1915. NW. Borneo, Sarawak: Mt Matang (Jan.), Labuan. Java (Jan.-Febr.): E. Java: Tosari (Febr. 1); Centr. Java: Borobudur (Feb. 4) and W. Java: G. Salak, Garoet (Febr.9), Telaga Bodas (10). Malay Penins.: Kuala Lumpur, Ulu Gombak and Klang Gates (March); Genuang in Johore (March).-1917. Kota Bahru, Charming Estate, Lebar River (Febr.), Jeram Panjang; G. Tampin (Negri Sembilan), nearly to the summit; Johol and Sg. Jelei; Malacca, Ginting Sempah (Sept.).-1920. Bt Tangga from Seremban (Dec.).-1921. Klang Gates (Jan.),19 Ipoh (Jan.). Sumatra East Coast (Febr. 5-17).20 from Belawan proceeding to B(e)rastagi, exploring hill forests in the neighbourhood; ascent of G. Sibajak; the 16th returning to Medan.



They amount to about 50.000 numbers, of which the main set is in Herb. Kew [K]. His drawings of orchids etc. (> 1000, many coloured) are at Kew.21 In Herb. Brit. Mus. [BM]: 8618 plants and 428 woods from Malaysia (pres. 1889-1904), 170 phaner. and 80 cryptog. (pres. 1905) and 943 Selangor plants (pres. 1915); Herb. Sing. [SING], also from Sumatra (Siak) and NW. Borneo (Sarawak); Herb. Calcutta [CAL]: 7363 specimens (pres. 1890-97; possibly Singapore Herb. dupl., containing plants of other collectors too!). Also dupl. in Herb. Bog. [BO], Leiden [L], Berl. [B] (incl. orchids from Java, pres. with Herb. Schlechter), Edinburgh [E], U.S. Nat. Herb. Wash. [US] (some Sumatra ferns and 27 dupl. Mal. Penins.).

The majority of his collections is from the Malay Peninsula; he did not number in the field, but upon study. He was often assisted by native collectors, for example in the Riouw Archipelago; the latter collection mainly consists of orchids. For the botanical results of his expeditions, see sub Literature.



(1) cf. Bibliography in Gard. Bull. Str. Settlem. 9, 1935, p. 2-28.

Of his books the most important are: ‘Materials for a flora of the Malay Peninsula, Monocotyledons’ (1907-08); ‘Spices’ (1912); ‘Flora of the Malay Peninsula’ (1922-25); ‘Dispersal of plants throughout the world’ (1930).

(2) cf. List in Gard. Bull. Str. Settlem. 9, 1935, p. 29-30.

(3) Many of the below-mentioned data derived from the Annual Reports of the Botanic Gardens Singapore for the years concerned, and from Burkill in Gard. Bull. Str. Settlem. 4, 1927, nos 4-5.

(4) H.N. Ridley: ‘Notes on the botany of Fernando Noronha’ (Journ. Linn. Soc. Bot. 27, 1891, p. 1-86).

(5) cf. Journ. Str. Br. Roy. As. Soc. no 20, 1889, p. 86.

(6) H.J. Kelsall: ‘Account of a trip up the Pahang, Tembeling and Tahan Rivers, and an attempt to reach G. Tahan’ (l.c. no 25, 1891, p. 33-56, of which p. 49-56 on the vegetation by H.N. Ridley).

cf. also Journ. Bot. 30, 1892, p. 31-32.

H.N. Ridley: ‘On the flora of the eastern coast of the Malay Peninsula’ (Transact. Linn. Soc. Bot. 3, 1893, p. 267-408, pl. 61-66; dealing with the collections of this tour and with those made in 1890 in Pahang).

(7) H.N. Ridley: ‘A day at Christmas Island’ (Journ. Str. Br. Roy. As. Soc. no 23, 1891, p. 123-139).

(8) H.N. Ridley: ‘A botanical excursion to Gunong Jerai (Kedah Peak)’ (Journ. Str. Br. Roy. As. Soc. no 34, 1900, p. 23-30).

(9) cf. Journ. Linn. Soc. Bot. 32, 1896, p. 251, 394.

(10) cf. Selangor Journ. of Sept. 4th, 1896.

(11) H.N. Ridley: ‘The flora of Mt Ophir’ (Journ. Str. Br. Roy. As. Soc. no 35, 1901, p. 1-28).

(12) cf. Ann. Rep. Bot. Gard. Sing. for 1900, p. 5.

(13) A. & E.S. Gepp: ‘Some cryptogams from Christmas Island’ (Journ. Bot. 43, 1905, p. 337-344). H.N. Ridley: ‘An expedition to Christmas Island’ (Journ. Str. Br. Roy. As. Soc. no 45, 1906, p. 137-155); ‘The botany of Christmas Island’ (l.c. p. 156-271); ‘Christmas Island flora. Additional notes’ (l.c. no 48, 1907, p. 107-108).

(14) H.N. Ridley: ‘The flora of the Telom and Batang Padang valleys’ (Journ. Fed. Mal. Stat. Mus. 4, 1909, p. 1-98, cf. also extracts from a letter to J.D. Hooker in Kew Bull. 1909, p. 159.

(15) H.N. Ridley: ‘A scientific expedition to Temengoh, Upper Perak’ (Journ. Str. Br. Roy. As. Soc. no 57, 1910, p. 5-122).

(16) cf. Letter to Sir J.D. Hooker on the flora in Kew Bull. 1910, p. 202-204.

H.N. Ridley: ‘The flora of Lower Siam’ (Journ. Str. Br. Roy. As. Soc. no 59, 1911, p. 15-234, w. map).

(17) H.N. Ridley: ‘A botanical excursion to Pulau Adang’ (l.c. no 61, 1912, p. 45-65).

(18) H.N. Ridley: ‘The botany of G. Tahan, Pahang’ (Journ. Fed. Mal. Stat. Mus. 6, 1915, p. 127-202; herein 1912 is injustly recorded as the year in which the trip took place!).

(19) H.N. Ridley: ‘The flora of Klang Gates, Selangor’ (l.c. 10, 1922, p. 247-251).

(20) H.N. Ridley: ‘A botanical excursion to Northern Sumatra’ (Journ. Mal. Br. Roy. Asiat. Soc. 1, 1923, p. 46-113).

(21) cf. Kew Bull. 1936, p. 566, 574.


biographical data:

Journ. Bot. 66, 1928, p. 128; Curtis’ Bot. Magaz. Dedic. 1827-1927, p. 314-316, w. portr.; Burkill in Gard. Bull. Str. Settlem. 4, 1927, nos 4-5; Gard. Chron. 12 May 1928, p. 330, w. portr.; Gard. Bull. Str. Settlem. 9, 1935 p. 1-48, incl. bibliogr. (p. 2-28) and 2 portr.; Backer, Verkl. Woordenb., 1936; J.W. Purseglove: ‘The Ridley centenary’(1955); Nature 116, 1955, p. 1092-1093; Mal. Nat. J. 10, 1955, p. 43-55, portrs; M.A.H.A. Mag. 121, 1955, p. 3-6, portr.; Taxon 6, 1957, p. 1-6, portr.; Biogr. Mem. R. Soc. 3, 1957, p. 141-159, portr.; Proc. Linn. Soc. Lond. 169th session, 1958, p. 35-38; J. Mal. Br. R. As. Soc. 33, 1960, p. 104-109.