Collecting localities



Biographical data


Wallich, Nathaniel = Nathan Wolff


(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: 1786, Copenhagen, Denmark. Died: 1854, London, England.



Since 1807 Danish Medical Attache at Serampore in Bengal, from 1815-46 Superintendent of the East India Company’s Garden at Calcutta (from 1828-33 to England, from 1842-45 Griffith taking charge). He laid out the first Botanic Garden in Singapore in 1822; it was subsequently abandoned during the 1830s (inf. i.l. by J. Bastin, July 1970). From 1820-22 he explored Nepal, in 1822 he visited the Straits, in about 1833 Assam on a scientific expedition in connexion with tea cultivation, and making numerous other tours. He resigned in 1846, settling in London in the next year.

Author of important publications on the flora of British India.1

He is commemorated in several plant names, including the genus Wallichia Roxb.


Collecting localities:

1822. Malay Peninsula: Penang (Aug., on his way to Singapore); sojourn in Singapore (Aug.-Nov.); according to Curtis2 visiting many other parts of the Peninsula, evidently in the Straits of Malacca ,?Dindings ; Penang (Nov., on his way back).



His largest collections are from India, where he collected in Nepal (1820), W. Hindostan (1825), Ava (1826 and 1827), etc. According to Burkill he collected much in Singapore and a little in Penang.3

In 1828, 8000 species of plants collected by him with many duplicates arrived in London, and were distributed over the large herbaria of Europe and America at the expense of the East India Company; the distribution took place from 1828-32.4 This collection, of mostly British Indian plants, was for the greater part identified by himself without describing, however, the new species. As these plants were represented in all large herbaria, it was formerly accepted that Wallich’s species should have the same claim to priority as if descriptions had been added. Some of these species occur in the D.E.I. too; Hasskarl was ignorant of these facts. The plants were numbered after study, all specimens of a species got one and the same number.5

His oldest collections and dupl. of the E.I.C. herbarium in Herb. Copenhagen [C]; also dupl. E.I.C. in Herb. State Mus. Stockholm [S]. The most complete set was in Herb. Linn. Soc. Lond. (in 1832 acq. the type set of the Herb. E.I.C., including plants collected by others), at present in Herb. Kew [K] (pres. 1913/14),6 where another set .was available before then. Other sets and duplicates in Herb. Brit. Mus. [BM], Bot. Gard. Calcutta [CAL], Oxford [OXF],7 Cambridge [CGE], Berlin [B]; Herb. Deless., Decand., and Boiss. (Geneva [G]); Univ. Dublin [TCD], Bot. Gard. Edinburgh [E], Paris [P] (also with Herb. Franqueville), Munich [M], Bot. Gard. St Petersburg (= Leningrad [LE]), Imp. Acad. Sci. Petersb. (= Leningrad [LECB]), Melbourne [MEL], Leiden [L], Turin [TO], Vienna [W], Florence [FI], Liverpool [LIV], Philadelphia [PH], Graz (with Herb. Leitgeb [GZU]); German Univ. Prague [PRC] and Nat. Mus. Prague [PR]; Copenhagen [C]; Herb. Lund [LD]; Univ. Michigan [MICH]; Herb. Martius (= Brussels [BR]); Herb. v. Heurck (= Antwerp [AWH]), Cesati (= Rome [RO]), and Nees (later Herb. Baron Zschok). Plants of his were sold with Herb. Lambert, and acquired by Lemann;8 also with Herb. Robert Graham in 1846.

His correspondence between 1817-46 was originally preserved in the Library at Kew, but was returned to Calcutta in 1887/88; it consists of 33 large volumes, including some botanical papers. A series of botanical drawings (made between 1815-28) was transferred from the India House to Kew.

Letters relating to the establishment of the Botanical Garden in Singapore have been reproduced by R. Hanitch (J. Str. Br. R. As. Soc. 65, p. 39-48; reprinted J. Mal. Br. R. As. Soc. 42, 1969, p. 145-154).



(1) N. Wallich: ‘Tentamen Florae Nepalensis’ (1824-26); ‘Plantae Asiaticae Rariores’ (London 1830-32, 3 vols); ‘Descriptions of plants more recently discovered by N. Wallich’ are appended to the ‘Flora indica’ of Roxburgh, ed. by W. Carey (Serampore 1832).

(2) cf. ‘A catalogue of the plants of Penang’ 1892, p. 97-98.

(3) In Gard. Bull. Str. Settlem. 4, 1927, p. 133.

(4) cf. ‘Numerical list of dried specimens of plants, in the East Indian Company’s Museum, collected under the Superintendence of Dr Wallich, at Calcutta’ (London 1828).

(5) cf. C.B. Clarke in Journ. Bot. 31, 1893, p. 136.

(6) cf. ‘The Wallichian Herbarium’ (Kew Bull. 1913, p. 255-263).

(7) cf. Hook. Journ. Bot. & Kew Gard. Misc. 6, 1854, p. 251 and 281.

(8) cf. Advertisement of Lambert sale in Athenaeum 1842, p. 44.


biographical data:

Flora 3, 1820, p. 440-441; Gent. Mag. 11, 1854, p. 84; Athenaeum 1854, p. 556; Gard. Chron. 1854, p. 284; Proc. Linn. Soc. Lond. 2, 1854, p. 314-318; de Vriese, Tuinbouwflora, 1, 1855, p. 142; Pritzel, Thes. Lit. Bot., 1872; Bot. Tidskr. 12, 1880/81, p. 105-106; Biogr. Index Britten & Boulger in Journ. Bot. 29, 1891, p. 246 and in 2nd ed. by Rendle, 1931; Gard. Chron. 18992, p. 252; Wittrock, Icon. Bot. Berg., 1903, p. 158; l.c. 2, 1905, p. 172; J.D. Milner, Catalogue portraits Kew, 1906, p. 103; in Christensen, Den Danske botaniks historic, 1924-26, vol. 1, p. 251-253 + portr., and vol. 2, p. 157-166 incl. bibliogr.; Backer, Verkl. Woordenb., 1936; J. Mal. Br. R. Asiat. Soc. 54, 1981, p. 1-78 (letters of Raffles to Wallich).