By David Douglas
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2011
Online Publication Date:April 2012
Original Publication Year:1914
Subjects: Plant sciences , History of science
David Douglas (1799–1834), the influential Scottish botanist and plant collector, trained as a gardener before attending Perth College and Glasgow University. His genius for botany flourished and his talents came to the attention of the Royal Horticultural Society. With the society's backing he went to North America in 1823, beginning his life-long fascination with the region's flora. He discovered thousands of new species and introduced 240 of them to Britain, including the Douglas fir. Douglas continued to explore and discover plant species until his death in the Sandwich Islands (present-day Hawaii) in 1834. This remarkable journal, which remained unpublished until 1914, describes his adventures in North America during 1823–7. It also includes extracts from his journal of his explorations of Hawaii during 1833–4. The appendices include a listing of the plants Douglas introduced to Britain, and contemporary accounts of investigations into the mysterious circumstances of his death.