Robert Fortune - Encyclopedia




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ROBERT FORTUNE (1813-1880), Scottish botanist and traveller, was born at Kelloe in Berwickshire on the 16th of September 1813. He was employed in the botanical garden at Edinburgh, and afterwards in the Royal Horticultural Society's garden at Chiswick, and upon the termination of the Chinese War in 1842 was sent out by the Society to collect plants in China. His travels resulted in the introduction to Europe of many beautiful flowers; but another journey, undertaken in 1848 on behalf of the East India Company, had much more important consequences, occasioning the successful introduction into India of the tea-plant. In subsequent journeys he visited Formosa and Japan, described the culture of the silkworm and the manufacture of rice paper, and introduced many trees, shrubs and flowers now generally cultivated in Europe. The incidents of his travels were related in a succession of interesting books. He died in London on the 13th of April 1880.

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