Collecting localities



Biographical data

Photo gallery


Fairchild, David Grandison


(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: 1869, Michigan, U.S.A. Died: 1954.



Attended some agricultural colleges, taking his Dr’s degree in 1916 at Oberlin College; from 1889 in the employ of the Bureau of Plant Industry, Washington; from 1903-28 Senior Agricultural Explorer in charge; since 1933 Collaborator division Foreign Plant Introduction.

From 1898-1903 assistant to Barbour Lathrop, on expeditions in search of valuable plants etc.; in 1926 Leader of the Allison V. Armour Expedition.

Author of several popular books.1

The Fairchild Tropical Garden at Coconut Grove, Florida, is named after him; he is commemorated in Ficus fairchildii Backer.


Collecting localities:1

1896-97. Sailing from Europe in April 1896; Singapore; W. Java: Buitenzorg, Tjibodas, Tjinjiroean; Sumatra West Coast2 with Mr Lathrop: Padang, Padang Pandjang, Fort de Kock, Haraukloof, Pajakombo, Karbouwengat; by boat via Kotaradja (Atjeh), Dec. 25 to the Malay Peninsula: P. Penang (Dec. 31), Singapore (1897); Bangkok; Singapore; Ceylon, Australia, etc.-1900. With Mr Lathrop rushing through Java: Batavia (Jan. 1), Buitenzorg, Soerabaja; stops at Bali, Lombok, Makassar (SW. Celebes), Ambon, Banda, Ceram,3 Kai Islands, Letti, Dobo (Aru Isls); W. New Guinea: Fakfak and Sekar; Timor; Java (visiting Borobudur); Febr. 24 sailing to Singapore; Philippines; March 16 sailing for Hongkong, Siam; Singapore (1 week stay); Colombo; Europe. - 1926.4 N. Sumatra (Febr. 13-March 30): Sabang (P. Weh), Medan, Aroe Bay, Takengon, Laut (= Lake) Tawar, Blang Kedjeren, Kota Tjane, Kabandjahe, Toba Lake, Sibolangit;5 Java (Apr.-June): Batavia, Buitenzorg, Bandoeng, Tegal, Tjilatjap & Noesa Kambangan (S of Centr. Java) (mid-Apr.; P.H. Dorsett and son afterwards departing to Hongkong), Wonosobo, Diëng Plateau, Djokjakarta, Solo, Karangpandan (on G. Lawoe), Soerabaja, Pasoeroean, Batavia; Singapore.-1940. Cruise of the ‘Chêng Ho’, sponsored by Mrs Anne Archbold for Fairchild Tropical Garden.6 Leaving California (Sept. 1939) bound for Japan, China and the Philippines, Luzon: Manila; stay in Makiling Reserve; in Nov. setting out to Legaspi in S. Luzon by train; Bulusan Lake National Park; in Dec. to Baguio (villa of the Fairchilds, see sub Mrs Fairchild); proceeding to Bontoc (Igorot country); Paoay in Ilocos Norte; return to Manila, keeping to the coast, visiting Lamao Station; Jan. 1940 in the ‘Chêng Ho’ (recently arrived at Manila) with Hugo Curran (see there) as plant collector to Mindanao, stopping near the tiny island of El Templo taking a look around (coll. Diospyros seeds), and making stops on 5 other islands, e.g. Biliran, Burias, Cebu, and Negros (Dumaguete); Mindanao: Zamboanga, bay of Parang, N of Cotabato, and by car (Jan. 24) to Davao; visiting Milbuk; the 26th sailing from Milbuk, leaving the Philippine Islands; Sangihe Islands: Sangihe (Tahoena), and Siaoe; N. Celebes, Minahassa (arriving Febr. 5); Curran collecting on the slopes of G. Sopoetan; collecting trip to P. Lembeh; Curran on slopes Mt Klabat; Febr. 20 sailing along the E. coast of Celebes to Gorontalo, visiting Bone River; sailing to Marisa, Curran exploring the forest inland (Febr. 24); fire on board the ‘Chêng Ho’, back to Gorontalo, the ship to Soerabaja (March) and Curran staying in Celebes; Bali, anchoring in the bay of St Nicholas (coll. palm seeds); E. Java: Soerabaja, paying visits to Madoera (Bangkalan), and Bali (crossing Bali Strait and by car to Den Pasar); by plane from Soerabaja to Bandoeng, by car to Buitenzorg (W. Java), and by train to Batavia; sailing (Apr. 16) in the ‘Chêng Ho’, bound for the Moluccas, making a stop at Makassar (SW. Celebes), where they were joined by Curran (the latter in the meantime having collected seeds at Masamba, Paloe, etc.); touching at Nanka on P. Wowoni (E of SE. corner of Celebes); sighting Boeroe (Apr. 30), ashore on P. Tengah (W of Boeroe); Curran collecting on Mt Tomahoe in Boeroe; sailing through the Straits of Manipa; Amboina (= Ambon) (May 7); sailing (17) for the Philippines, making stops at Isl. of Mandiolo, Kasaroeta (= Kasiroeta) and other islets of the Batjan group; to W. Halmahera, Pajahe Bay, Bai River; P. Makian (Ternate group); anchoring in South Loloda Bay, S. Loloda Islands; N. Loloda Islands (Doi, Dagasoeli, Toekara) (June); Morotai (Toetoehoe); Talaud Islands: Karakelong; Mindanao: Zamboanga (June 16), from where returning to the U.S.A.



In 1926 with P.H. Dorsett, for the greater part living plants and seeds; there are also a few herbarium specimens, of which the complete set is at the U.S. Nat. Herb. Washingt. [US], some bearing accession numbers 1426495-1426536; scattered duplicates elsewhere. Data about the collections made before 1926 are lacking; in 1926 some herbarium specimens from Bireuen (Atjeh, N. Sumatra);7 in 1940 well-nigh seeds only (> 500 species), destined for gardens, parks and orchards.



(1) D.G. Fairchild: ‘Exploring for plants’ (New York 1930); ‘The World was my garden. Travels of a plant Explorer’ (New York and London 1938); ‘Garden Islands of the Great East’ (New York 1943); ‘The World grows round my door’ (New York 1947).

(2) D.G. Fairchild: ‘Sumatra’s West Coast’ (Nat. Geogr. Magaz. 9, 1898, p. 449-464, w. ill.).

(3) D.G. Fairchild: ‘A tropical forest in Ceram’ (Bot. Gaz. 32, 1901, p. 218-221).

(4) D.G. Fairchild: ‘Two expeditions after living plants’ (Scient. Monthly 26, 1928, p. 97-127).

(5) D.G. Fairchild: ‘A jungle botanic Garden, the Sibolangit Garden in the Highlands of Sumatra’ (Journ. Heredity 19, 1928, p. 145-159, 8 fig.).

(6) cf. Chron. Bot. 6, 1941, p. 210-212.

(7) cf. Bartlett in Nat. & Appl. Sci. Bull. Univers. Philip. 4, 1935, p. 232-233.


biographical data:

Wittrock, Icon. Bot. Berg., 1903, p. 178; l.c. 2, 1905, p. 195, t. 147; Who’s who 1913; Amer. men of Sci. 1938; Chron. Bot. 4, 1938, p. 445; Blumea 6, 1948, p. 307, note 3; Huntia 1, 1964, p. 71-78, portr., 79-102, bibliogr.


photo gallery:


E.D. Kay. 1964.  David Fairchild - a recollection. Huntia 1: 71-78.