Collecting localities



Biographical data


Scortechini, Reverend Father Benedetto


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


Born: 1845, Cupramontana near Ancona, Italy. Died: Nov. 4, 1886, distr. of Calcutta, Brit. India.



A Roman Catholic missionary who was operating in Queensland from 1871- 84, and who devoted part of his time to the study of botany, helped on by F.M. Bailey and Baron F. von Mueller. Early in 1884 he went to Taiping, Malay Peninsula, and was appointed by Sir Hugh Low as the Government Botanist, Perak, which post he held till his death in 1886.1 In October of the latter year he was deputed to proceed to Calcutta to arrange and name his collections of Perak plants, but died shortly after his arrival.

He is commemorated in the genus Scortechinia Hook. f. and in several other plant species, sometimes erroneously named after his supposed Christian name Bertold.


Collecting localities:

Thursday Isl. In Torres Strait.2-Malay Peninsula. 1884. Probably early in the year leaving Australia; according to his early collections in Perak, he was in Taiping only in about March. From the time of his arrival (March) exploring the Larut District, i.e. the plains around Taiping and the hills in the neighbourhood as Maxwell’s, Caulfield’s hills and G. Hijou (on the labels mentioned as G. Idjou); G. Bubu with Tenison-Woods (see there) (May),3 ascending by the Hermitage and G. Haram Parah (= G. Arang Para); about Arang Para (June); Pangkor in the Dindings (July); Ijuk (= Ijok) (Aug.); travelling in southern direction to the Bruas River, crossing over to Pangkor (Nov.); Bata Kurau NW of Taiping (Dec.).-1885. Eastern district of Kinta (Febr.), collecting extensively on G. Bujong Malaka, at Kuala Dipang, Gopeng, and Blanja (betty. March and May); V. Narayanaswami4 assumes that little collecting was done after June 1885 and that S. was busy arranging his collections, whereas Burkill5 says that S. returned to Gopeng (Kinta Distr.) from Taiping in July 1885 and ascended the neighbouring parts of the main range, in 1886 still visiting Singapore Isl. and Telok Anson (Aug.).




He bequeathed his botanical collections to Herb. Calcutta [CAL]. In Herb. Brit. Mus. [BM]: 186 ferns and 49 nos of Loranthus and Ficus species from Perak (pres. 1884-86), and with Herb. Beddome; Herb. Kew [K]: Malaya, 269 nos (pres. 1886-87); Herb. Edinburgh (Perak plants) [E]; Herb. Perak Mus. (= Sing. now [SING]); Herb. Bot. Gard. St Petersb. (= Leningrad [LE]): 169 nos and 28 collected with Wray; also dupl. in Herb. Sing. [SING], Leiden [L] (Perak), Utrecht [U] (Perak), Berlin [B] (Perak a. 1884), Herb. Decand. (Geneva [G]), and Florence [FI].

He left many misspellings of Malayan names upon his labels and a great many sheets were unnumbered and unlocalized.

His Malayan collections were partly worked out.6



(1) Author of ‘Note on Botany and Malay (names of plants)’ (Journ. Str. Br. Roy. As. Soc. no 16, 1885, p. 413-415).

(2) cf. F. v. Mueller in Wing’s South. Sci. Rec. N.S. 2, Apr. 1886.

(3) cf. Account of the ascent in Journ. Str. Br. Roy. As. Soc. no 14, 1885, p. 275 seq.

(4) In ‘Provenance of early Malayan plant collections’ (Journ. & Proc. As. Soc. Bengal N.S. 27, 1931, p. 327-477), see p. 329-331.

(5) cf. Burkill in Gard. Bull. Str. Settlem. 4, 1927, nos 4-5 (some wrong data were rectified in part of his reprints).

(6) B. Scortechini: ‘Descrizione di nuove Scitaminae trovate delle penisola Malesa’ (Nuov. Giorn. Bot. Ital. 18, 1886, p. 308-311, 3 pl.).

R.H. Beddome: ‘Ferns collected in Perak by Father Scortechini’ (Journ. Bot. 25, 1887, p. 321-325; on material in the Brit. Mus. [BM]); ‘Scortechini’s Malayan ferns’ (l.c. 31, 1893, p. 225-226; on material preserved at Kew [K], and similar set in Herb. Beddome = Brit. Mus. [BM]).


biographical data:

Rev. Mycol. 9, 1887, p. 123; Proc. Roy. Soc. Queensl. 4, 1887, p. 2-8; Malpighia 13, 1899, p. 110 (ref. to portr.); Maiden in Journ. Austr. Ass. Adv. Sci. Brisbane meeting 1909, p. 381; Biogr. Index Britten & Boulger, 2nd ed. by Rendle, 1931; Backer, Verkl. Woordenb., 1936.