Charles Wright (botanist)

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Charles Wright (October 29, 1811 - August 11, 1885) was an American botanist.

Charles Wright

Wright was born in Wethersfield, Connecticut, the son of James Wright and Mary née Goodrich. He studied classics and mathematics at Yale, and in October 1835 moved to Natchez, Mississippi to tutor a plantation owner's family. His employer's business failed two years later, and he moved to Texas, working as a land surveyor and teacher. During this time he collected plants for Asa Gray. In 1849 he joined an army expedition through Texas, botanising from Galveston to San Antonio and then on to El Paso. In the spring of 1851 he joined the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey. His collections from these two trips form the basis of Gray's Plantae Wrightianae (1852–53).

Between 1853 and 1856 he took part in the Rodgers-Ringgold North Pacific Exploring and Surveying Expedition, collecting plants in Madeira, Cape Verde, Cape Town, Sydney, Hong Kong, the Bonin Islands, Japan and the western side of the Bering Strait. Wright left the expedition at San Francisco in February 1856 and went south to Nicaragua. His collection of plants from Hong Kong was used by George Bentham for his Flora Hongkongensis (1861).

Between 1856 to 1867 he led a scientific expedition to Cuba. In 1859 he joined Juan Gundlach in the area around Monteverde, and in the winter of 1861-62 they explored together around Cárdenas.

He is commemorated in the names of a number of plants, including Datura wrightii, the genus Carlowrightia (wrightworts), and in the name of the Grey Flycatcher Empidonax wrightii.

Charles Wright Elementary School in Wethersfield, Connecticut is named after him.

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External links[edit]


  • Barbara and Richard Mearns - Audubon to Xantus, The Lives of Those Commemorated in North American Bird Names ISBN 0-12-487423-1
  • Richard A Howard Charles Wright in Cuba, 1856-1867 ISBN 0-89887-059-3