George Gardner's collections

Summary

Astronium gardneri: type specimen from the Herbarium of the Royal Botanic Gardens, KewGeorge Gardner, in the space of just short of five years, amassed a formidable collection of just over 6,000 numbers, in sets of up to 20 duplicates, accounting for some 60,000 specimens in total. His ‘top set’ is the one that he took to Ceylon when he became Superintendent and Chief Gardner of the Royal Botanic Garden, Peradeniya – save his collections from Goiás which appear to have been lost in his journey to Ceylon. He purchased a set to fill the gap, although this was wanting in many relevant collections. His ‘top set’ was eventually purchased by the Natural History Museum of London (BM), having failed to sell at an auction of his ‘extensive Herbarium ... and library of books’ conducted by Mr J C Stevens at Covent Garden.

Other than the ‘top set’, the largest set of duplicates was that in the possession of Sir William Hooker – Hooker having been permitted by Gardner to select unicates if he so desired. Both Hooker’s and George Bentham’s collections are now in the Herbarium of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (K). Gardner’s other main sponsors (Mr Winch, H.B. Fielding and the 6th Duke of Bedford – John Russell) also possessed large sets. Winch’s herbarium was originally in LINN, but passed on to BM and HAMU; Fielding’s herbarium is in OXF, and the location of the Duke of Bedford’s is unknown.

Several major herbaria clearly have significant numbers, including B (extensively destroyed in WW2), BR (material acquired by Martius of Flora Brasiliensis fame), E, F, GH, HAL, NY (often several duplicates), P, S, US, W (largely from BM). Digital images of many of Gardner’s collections can be found via JStor Plant Science, or other relevant virtual herbaria. Digitisation of Gardner's collections in Kew is continuing way as part of the Reflora project.

Resources

How many collections did Gardner actually make?

The Catalogue is numbered from 1 – 6114, and a tally of all of the collections suggests that Gardner collected either 6088 or 6096 numbered collections (including split numbers and occasional duplicate numbers). This is somewhat different from all previous estimates (which give about 6000 – ‘little short of six thousand species’ according to Hooker, although he apparently added the ‘Acotyledonous plants’, which would add somewhat to the number – some 150 numbered ‘Mosses, Hepaticae and Lichenes’, together with some 42 fungi), and Gardner’s own totals throughout the Catalogue. To my knowledge the remainder of the natural history and geological collections remained uncatalogued by Gardner. Some explanation is required.

There are several points worth highlighting:

1: A search of the Catalogue shows that the following numbers are missing:

255–300, 488, 783, 1195–1196, 1634–1663, 1818, 3555, 4288,4636, 4899, 5088, 5742–5761, 5799.

– a total of 107 numbers. In the transcribed list these are highlighted.

2: The following numbers are duplicated in the Catalogue:

651, 2437, 2684, 2685, 2748, 2749 (apparently twice, with the second marked ´´), 3189, 4728, 4914, 6102.

3: The following numbers have splits:

18 (+18/2, 18/3), 29 (+29/2, 29/3), 37 (+37/2), 47 (+47/2), 52 (+52/2), 53 (+53/2, 53/3, 53/4, 53/5), 71 (+71/2, 71/3, 71/4, 71/4, 71/5, 71/6, 71/7, 71/8, 71/9), 72 (+72/2), 73 (+73/2), 77 (+77/2), 78 (+78/2, 78/3, 78/4, 78/5, 78/6, 78/7), 79 (+79/2), 86 (+86/2, 86/3), 107 (+107/2), 116 (+116/2), 119 (+119/2, 119/3), 121 (+121/2, 121/3), 125 (+125/2), 128 (+128/2, 128/3), 246 (+246/1), 647 (+647/2), 1050 (+1050/1), 1812 (+1812/2), 1859 (+1859bis), 2749 (+2749bis) – although the number itself is also duplicated (see above), 3560 (+3560(2)), 3732 (+3732bis), 3848 (+3848bis), 4233 (+4233bis), 3439 (+3439bis), 4233 (+4233bis), 4419 (+4419bis), 4420 (+4420bis), 4428 (+4428bis), 4452 (+4452bis), 4688 (+4688(2)), 4754 (+4754/2, 4754/3), 4900 (+4900/1), 4918 (+4918/1), 4923 (+4923(bis)), 4926 (+4926bis), 4927 (+4927bis), 4932 (+4932bis), 4984 (+4984(bis)), 5240 (+5240(bis)), 5241 (+5241(bis), 5242 (+5242(bis), 5242(3)), (5380 (+5380bis), 5824 (+5824(bis),

These splits have led to differences between the actual totals and the totals of actual ‘species collected’ itemized by Gardner at the end of sections of his journey.

In the literature there are several other number splits. These may be the result of further division of mixed collections or possibly the addition of some previously unnumbered material to the collections. The following examples of Compositae will suffice: 477(bis), 3794(bis), 4231(bis), 4787(bis), 4789(2), 4839(1), 4839(2), 4839(3), 4840(1), 4842(1), 4852(1), and 4958(bis) – these can all be found in Gardner’s series of articles on the Compositae of Brazil. The situation in other families is unlikely to be so great as Gardner published relatively little away from the Compositae.

4: The number 1020 appears to have been deleted from the Catalogue:

5: Gardner himself marked 2951 to 2958 with a large bracket and then duplicated the numbers following – although none of the listed taxa were duplicated!

Subtotals of collections made, as broken down by Gardner, using his names for the sections of the itinerary; numbers in square brackets are actual totals for sections of trip and the last number is the running total.

Rio de Janeiro
300
[296] 296
Organ Mountains
[436] 732
Rio de Janeiro
[124] 856
Rio de Janeiro
[4] 869
Bahia
[47] 907
Pernambuco
[319] 1226
Alagoas
[210] 1436
Ceara
[441] 1877
Barro do Jardim & Crato
[120] 1997
Piauhy
[360] 2357
Ceara
[56] 2413
Oeiras
[20] 2433
Piauhy
296
[301] 2734
Rio Preto
231
[239] 2973
Goyaz (1)
548
[569] 3542
Goyaz (2)
524
[526] 4068
Goyaz (3)
310
[311] 4379
Minas Gerais
951
[968] 5347
Rio de Janeiro
[327] 5674
Organ Mountains
[271] 5945
Maranham
[151] 6096