Collecting localities



Biographical data


Potts, John


(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)


Died: 1822, Chiswick, London, England.



Was sent out to China and the East Indies by the East India Company,1 on the recommendation of the Royal Horticultural Society, London. He brought home living plants and herbarium from China (1821) and Bengal; in August 1822 he was back in London again, but only to die.

He is said to have made a small collection in Singapore, P. Penang and Sumatra.2 In his diary, however, no mention is made of a visit to the latter island.

He is commemorated in the genus Pottsia Hook. & Arn. and in Bauhinia pottsii G.Don.


Collecting localities:3

He left England on Jan. 23, 1821, in the Indiaman ‘General Kyd’; on the way visiting and collecting in the hinterland of Calcutta (June 13-Aug. 14); P. Penang or Prince of Wales’ Island (Sept. 8-11); on the 16th part of the cargo had to be thrown overboard as the ship had run aground, and several plants got lost; Malacca (Sept. 26-27), collecting 3 species of plants; Singapore (29-Oct. 1); typhoon on the 17th, all plants collected since Bengal were thrown overboard!; stay in China; in March 1822 passing Sunda Straits, and returning by way of the Cape and St Helena, to London (Aug. 1822).

In his diary no mention at all is made of a visit to Sumatra.



Joined to the herbaria of Jack and Raffles (see those). Daubeny (Oxford) secured a collection made by Potts, at the sale of the collections of the Hort. Society in 1856.4 Sumatra plants of his were sold with Herb. Lambert5 together with those of Raffles; they were acquired by Rich. A Journal kept by him from Jan. 1821-Jan. 1822 is in the possession of the Roy. Hort. Society, London.

Herb. Deless. (Geneva [G]) (cf. Taxon 19, 1970, p. 536). 

It seems very improbable that he collected in Sumatra; specimens from the latter island will have been collected either by Raffles or W. Jack.



(1) cf. A. Murray: ‘The book of the Royal Horticultural Society 1862-1863’ (London 1863) p. 16.

(2) cf. Lasègue, Mus. Bot. Deless., 1845, p. 148 and Miquel in ‘Sumatra’ (1860), introduction p. xii.

(3) cf. his ‘Journal’ in Roy. Hort. Soc.

(4) cf. ‘A catalogue of all the valuable collections of dried plants which have been formed by the Travellers employed by the Hort. Soc. Lond. etc.’ (1856); Journ. Bot. 32, 1894, p. 298-299.

(5) cf. Advertisement of Lambert Sale in Athenaeum 1842, p. 44.


biographical data:

Bretschneider, Hist. Bot. Discov. China, 1898, p. 269-270; Biogr. Index Britten & Boulger, 2nd ed. by Rendle, 1931; Backer, Verkl. Woordenb., 1936; J. R. Hort. Soc. 80, 1955, p. 269-270.