Collecting localities



Biographical data


Xantus, Janos (Johann)


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


Born: 1825, Csokonya, Hungary. Died: 1894, ? Budapest, Hungary.



Naturalist, ethnographer, and zoologist who originally studied for the bar, sat up as a lawyer, but joined the rebels in 1848. He was imprisoned more than once, and finally fled to Germany, travelling by way of Hamburg to London, and in 1851 from there to the U.S.A. After having had several odd jobs, he met Herzog Paul von Württemberg and joined the latter on a journey to Texas and the borders of Mexico. Later he accompanied the Director of the Copenhagen Museum, Kröger, on another trip to Mexico. At that time he started to collect on behalf of the Hungarian National Museum and to apply himself to the study of natural sciences. Other North American expeditions followed, and he made immense collections on behalf of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, but did not forget the Budapest Museum. In 1861 he was granted an amnesty and returned to Hungary, where he was asked to arrange his collections. From 1862-64 Hungarian Consul in W. Mexico, but from 1864 onwards definitely settling in Budapest, organizing the Botanic Garden, and subsequently appointed Director of the Zoological Garden. In 1868 he joined an expedition to E. Asia in the ‘Donau’ and ‘Friedrich’ (cf. Wawra and E. Weiss), but left it at Yokohama and travelled on his own in the Malaysian region, returning home with rich zoological, botanical, and ethnographical collections in 1871.

Finally curator of the Ethnographical Museum in Budapest. Author of many papers, mainly dealing with birds.

Clarkia xantiana A.Gray was named after him.


Collecting localities:

East Asia1, 1868-71, up to Yokohama with the expedition in the ‘Donau’ and ‘Friedrich’ (cf. Wawra and E. Weiss), later alone, visiting: Ceylon, Singapore2, Siam, Cochinchina, Hongkong, China, Japan, Borneo (1870, Sarawak and Brunei)3, N. Sumatra, Malaya (and Singapore, cf. sub E. Weiss in Fl. Mal. 1), Java, Luzon.



From the Asia voyage he brought back seeds of 6223 species and 65000 herbarium sheets; in Herb. Budapest [BP].



(1) Cf. Act. Bot. Ac. Sc. Hung. 1, 1955, p. 269 (map), 277.

(2) J. Xantus: ‘Úti emlékeim Singapore és Ceylon vidékéröl’ (Travel reminiscences from the environs of Singapore and Ceylon) (Györi Közlöny, Györ 1879, Sep. 1-113) (n.v.).

(3) J. Xantus: ‘Borneo szigetén 1870-ben tett utazäsomról’ (On my visit to Borneo in 1870) Földrajzi Közlemények 1880, Sep. 1-67) (n.v.); cf. also Sarawak Mus. J. 7, 1957, p. 536.


biographical data:

C. von Wurzbach, Biogr. Lexicon Kaiserth. Oesterr. 59, 1890, p. 50-52; S. Mocsáry: ‘Xántus János l.t. emlékezete’ (Memorial address on the member of the Academy J. Xantus) (Emlékbeszédek a M.T. Akad. tagjairól 9, no 9, 1899, p. 231-258, incl. bibliogr.) (n.v.); Act. Hot. Ac. Sc. Hung. 1, 1955, p. 299.