Biographical data


Rhyne, Willem (or Wilhem) ten


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


Born: 1647, Deventer, O., Holland. Died: June 1, 1700, Batavia, Java.



Went to the Cape of Good Hope in 1673, after having finished his medical studies at Franeker and Leiden in 1668. In S. Africa he stayed from Oct.-Nov., collecting plants for Jacob Breyne of Danzig. Later he sent notes on camphor and tea from Japan, which Breyne published in 1678 in an appendix to his work.1 For some years he was stationed in Decima (Japan); when back at Batavia he was charged with several jobs in addition to his medical work, such as interpreter, and member of the Superior Court of Law; from 1681 till his death he was Inspector of Lepers. He was a contemporary of Cleyer (see there), but of far higher standing, medically as well as morally. He paid two visits to West Sumatra, resp. in Sept.-Dec. 1679, and in company with the Danish surgeon H.N. Grimm in 1680.

Ten Rhyne had a large share in the composition of the ‘Hortus Malabaricus’, helping Rheede with the Latin descriptions. He was a friend of Kaempfer’s, and correspondent of Rumphius,2 Kamel, etc., as he had a large interest in botany. At the request of Governor General Camphuys he supervised the checking of the copy of Rumphius’s ‘Herbarium Amboinense’.

In addition to papers on medical subjects he was the author of an account of the Cape of Good Hope and some other papers.3



Besides from the Cape and Japan, he forwarded plants from the Dutch E. Indies to Breyne too. In the Brit. Mus. [BM] are some of his specimens (a Durio with Herb. Sloane ‘Botanicum Hortense & medicinale indicum’) which were forwarded to Petiver by Breyne, and mostly referred to by Ray. A specimen from Ambon was cited by Breyne.4 Specimens of Breyne’s Herbarium are in the Brit. Mus. [BM], at Oxford [OXF], and with Herb. Burman in Herb. Deless. (Geneva [G]) and maybe at Leiden [L]. So these herbaria might contain specimens of W. ten Rhyne.

Letters of his in MS. Sloane, Brit. Mus.; letters with Rumphius were published by Valentijn.



(1) E.g. W. ten Rhyne: ‘Appendix ad centuriam primam exoticarum plantarum Jacobi Breynii, in quae agitur de frutice Thee’.

(2) cf. ‘India Literata’ p. 422-424, 428-429 (Appendix to M.B. Valentini, Historia simplicium reformata, Francofurti a/M. 1716).

(3) E.g. W. ten Rhyne: ‘Oost-Indianische Send-Schreiben von allerhand raren Gewächsen, Bäumen, etc.... durch ten Rhyne etc.’ (see Valentijn, Mus. Museorum etc., fol. 1704).

(4) E.g. in ‘Prodromi fasciculi rariorum plantarum’ 1739, p. 66.


biographical data:

Ind. Gids 322, 1910, p. 1284-1292: Geneesk. Tijdschr. N.I. 51, 1911, p. 134-228 + portr.; Ned. Kruidk. Arch. 52, 1942, p. 403; l.c. 53, 1943, p. 250.