Collecting localities



Biographical data


Smith, Christopher


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

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


Died: 1806, Penang, Malaysia



Employed in Kew Gardens, took the place of Nelson (see there) on the 2nd successful expedition of Bligh (see there, and below). From 1794-1806 he was employed by the East India Company at Calcutta; he was sent to the Moluccas (1796-1802) for raising nutmegs, cloves, etc., and introducing valuable plants into Penang;1 appointed Superintendent Botanic Gardens Moluccas; from 1805-06 Superintendent of the Gardens in Penang, where he died.

Myristica smithii Warb. was named after him.


Collecting localities:

2nd voyage with Capt. W. Bligh (see there) in the ‘Providence’ etc., 1791-93;2 cf. also sub J. Wiles. Sailing (July 12, 1791), passing through the Downs to Spithead; Teneriffe, Cape of Good Hope, Tasmania; Tahiti (staying over 3 months in Matavai Bay); touching at Aitutaki, Tonga Islands; Fiji, New Hebrides (Banks group), through the Louisiades into Torres Strait Timor: Coupang (= Koepang) (Oct. 3-10, 1792); by way of Cape of Good Hope to St Vincent, Jamaica; return at the Downs (Aug. 2, 1793), anchoring at Deptford on the 7th.-1796.3 Malac(c)a (June),  P. Penang; Barn Isl. (June); Rhio (= Riouw) Isls (E of Sumatra) (July); Moluccas: Ternate (Oct.).-1797. Saparoea (Apr.), Ambon (May); Ceram, Honimoa (July); Banda.-1801. Gillolo (= Halmaheira) (Nov.).-1798. Ambon.8 Between 1796 and 1805 collecting in the Moluccas, e.g. on Noesa Laoet (S of Ceram).-1805-06. P. Penang.



Plants collected on the voyage in the ‘Providence’, and plants and drawings from the Moluccas, with Herb. Banks in Herb. Brit. Mus. [BM]; 183 original water-colour drawings of plants from the Straits Settlements were acquired in 1885.4 Also plants in Herb. Kew [K] (e.g. with Herb. Roxburgh), and other duplicates in Herb. Deless. (= Geneva [G]), and Herb. Webb (= Florence [FI]).

In the Moluccas he made a large collection of herbarium specimens which were sent to Banks (coll. 1802) and to J.E. Smith (coll. 1796-97), the latter acknowledging his indebtedness to Chr. Smith in Rees’ Cyclopaedia (s.v. Dicksonia).5 The Herb. J.E. Smith in due time became a part of the Herb. Lion. Soc. Lond. [LINN].

The collection of living plants made by Smith and Wiles in 1791-93, was recorded in the ‘Hortus Kewensis’ (2nd ed. 1813) as introduced by Capt. Bligh.

In 1796 Peter Good (see there) was sent to Calcutta to bring home the collection prepared by Christopher Smith.6

He introduced valuable plants from the Moluccas into Penang, and from Penang he sent plants to the Garden at Calcutta.7



(1) On the results, cf. Ann. Bot. 1, 1805, p. 569-573.

(2) I. Lee: ‘Captain Bligh’s second voyage to the South Sea’ (1920).

(3) Partly information by Mr A.H.G. Alston.

(4) cf. Gard. Chron. 18812, p. 267; Hist. Coll. Brit. Mus. 1, 1904, p. 49 and 183.

(5) cf. Journ. But. 60, 1922, p. 23-25.

(6) cf. Kew Bull. 1891, p. 301; Singapore Naturalist 1923, p. 37-38.

(7) cf. Burkill in Gard. Bull. Str. Settlem. 4, 1927, nos 4-5.

(8) Data derived from Roxburgh, Hort. Beng. 1814.


biographical data:

Biogr. Index Britten & Boulder, 2nd ed. by Rendle, 1931.