Collecting localities



Biographical data


Armit, William Edington de Margrat


(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: 1848, Liege, Belgium. Died: 1901, New Guinea.



Officer of the Queensland mounted Police at Georgetown, commanded the ‘Argus Expedition’ sent by the Argus and Australasian Melbourne Newspapers to Papua in 1883, to report on the resources and capabilities for settlement. The main object of the expedition was to cross the southeastern peninsula of New Guinea in ENE direction from Port Moresby to Dyke Acland Bay; on account of illness and loss of one of the members they did not succeed. When the expedition was over, he made several other New Guinea trips; acting Govt Agent for Rigo and Mekeo, from July 1894-Jan. 1895;1 sub-collector of Customs, etc., at Samarai, 1895-97; he retired towards the end of 1897; a trader of native rubber; reappointed to the public service in charge of the Northern Division during 1899. Falling ill in 1900, he returned to Australia in August, sailing for New Guinea again in November when not yet recovered; finally Resident Magistrate, Northern Division.

He is the author of a book and many ethnological papers on New Guinea.2 The former, written over the pseudonym of J.A. Lawson is, according to Wichmann, wholly invented.

Ficus armiti King and other plants were named after him.


Collecting localities:






Papua, SE. New Guinea. 1883. Argus Expedition:3 Port Moresby (July 10); setting out for Robaduma (14), ascending a spur of the Astrolabe Range; on the way to Laloki Valley (21), Sogeri region, Meroka region at the base of Mt Belford, Aroa River; back at Port Moresby (Sept. 3).-1884. 2nd trip to E. New Guinea,4 visiting the Moresby and Basilisk islands and the Redlick group of the Louisiades, E of New Guinea, and on the mainland: Milne Bay and East Cape. In all staying away 7 months.-1887. He is cited to have collected in this year on Mt Astrolabe (cf. sub Lit. 7, Brotherus).-1894. Set ashore on the NE. coast together with R.E. Guise by Macgregor near Fir-tree-Point (Febr. 26), Collingwood Bay for an attempted ascent of Mt Victory:5 going up Dako River (until Febr. 28), continuing by land; reaching the junction of the Tanamgina and the Waia Waima (March 23, above 5200 ft); camping 10 days? near summit Mt Maneao (Mt Dayman); setting out for the return (Apr. 3), reaching the mouth of the Dako on the 12th; back on board of the ‘Merrie England’ (14) on the way to Port Moresby (arrival 21 st). Shortly after, visit to the Goodenough Islands for exploration of the mountains. When in Goodenough I. (May/June 1894) he visited the summit of Mt Oiamadawa’a (cf. Am. Mus. Novit. no 1792, p. 7).-1900. Leaving Tamata Station (Jan. 26) for Yodda Valley6 for the purpose of discovering a practical road to the new Diggings: Ope River (Jan. 29); via Borua Tutu, Tumbare Susu and the watershed of the Ope and the Kumusi; Bogi Angerita (Febr. 4); Segarata (9); the confluence of the Kumusi in the Sena (11); ascending the Kumusi to Korobama, Pidsa, Papangi; Sisureta (22), Twidi (24); Kodo on the Yodda; back at Tamata Station (Apr. 1). 



Herb. Melbourne [MEL]; specimens referred to by F. von Mueller, and others;7 5 dupl. N. Guinea grasses in U.S. Nat. Herb. Wash. [US]. Fern dupl. were sent to the specialist Chr. Luerssen in Germany; dupl. of Scitamineae in Herb. Copenh. [C].



(1) cf. Ann. Rep. Br. N.G. 1894/95, Brisb. 1896, p. xx.

(2) ‘Wanderings in the Interior of New Guinea’ (London 1875, over the pseudonym of J.A. Lawson); ‘Notes on the Philology of the Islands adjacent to the South-Eastern Extremity of New Guinea’ (Proc. Roy. Soc. Queensl. 2, 1885, Brisb. 1886, p. 2-11; ‘The Papuans: Comparative notes on various authors, with original observation’ (in l.c. p. 78-116).

(3) cf. Globus 44, 1883, p. 287; Ausland 56, 1883, p. 717 and l.c. 57, 1884, p. 255-256; Proc. Roy. Geogr. Soc. Lond. 6, 1884, p. 37-38; Boll. Soc. Geogr. Ital. 21, 1884, p. 218-225; also in the ‘Melbourne Argus’ 1883.

(4) cf. Ausland 58, 1885, p. 480.

(5) cf. Ann. Rep. Br. N.G. for 1893/94, Brisb. 1895, p. 78-87, App. 10, AA and II.

(6) cf. l.c. 1899/1900, Brisb. 1901, p. 87-95, p. 96-98.

(7) F. von Mueller in the Vict. Naturalist 1, 1885, p. 168; 2, 1885, p. 18-20 and 3, 1886, p. 71-72; in ‘Descr. Not. Pap. Pl.’ pt 6.

A. Cogniaux in Bull. Ac. Roy. Belg. sér. 5, vol. 14, Bruxelles 1887, p. 363.

F.M. Bailey in Queensl. Agr. Journ. 7, 1900, p. 349.

Brotherus described his collection of mosses in Finska Vet. Soc. Förh. Helsingf. vols 37, 40 and 42, e.g. from Astrolabe Range 1887 (no trip known to us) and from Mt Dayman (9000 ft); cf. also Geheeb in Bibl. Bot. Heft 13, 1889.


biographical data:

Ann. Rep. Br. N.G. for 1900/01, Brisb. 1902, p. xlii; Maiden in Journ. Austr. Ass. Adv. Sci. Brisbane Meeting 1909, p. 374; Backer, Verkl. Woordenb., 1936 (1886 or 1887 erroneously stated as year of death); Journ. & Proc. Roy. Soc. N.S.W. 55, 1921, p. 150-151.