Biographical data


Polo, Marco


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



Of Venice (Italy), the enterprising merchant and explorer, travelled from 1275-95 in Asia. He brought seeds from a dye plant from Sumatra (1292) to Venice where he returned in the end of 1295. The seeds are sometimes assumed to have been those of the sappanwood (Caesalpinia sappan L.) but are more probably those of Indigofera tinctoria. They did not germinate (cf. E.H.F. Meyer, Gesch. d. Botanik 4, 1857, p. 127-128).

In his MSS he gave some botanical information, especially on economic plants (cf. l.c. p. 122-131).


biographical data:

Encyclop. N.I. 8, 1939, p. 1717-1719; Bretschneider, Hist. Bot. Disc. China 1898, p. 1-5; in ‘Les explorateurs célèbres’ (Genève/Paris 1947), p. 30-32 with portr.