Ernest Charles Nelson

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Ernest Charles Nelson (15 September 1951, Belfast, Northern Ireland) is a botanist who specialises in the heather family, Ericaceae, especially Erica, and whose past research interests included the Proteaceae especially Adenanthos. He is the author or editor of over 20 books and more than 150 research papers. He was honorary editor of Archives of Natural History (the journal of the Society for the History of Natural History) between 1999 and 2012, and is honorary editor of Heathers (yearbook of The Heather Society).

Nelson was educated at Portora Royal School (Enniskillen), and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in botany at the Aberystwyth University. He then moved to Australia where he obtained a Ph.D. from the Australian National University (Canberra) in 1975, for his studies into the taxonomy and ecology of Adenanthos. He then returned to Ireland, taking up the position of horticultural taxonomist at the Irish National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin (Dublin).

Since 1996 he has lived in Outwell, near Wisbech, in England and worked as a freelance botanist, author and editor. Dr Nelson is currently (2014) acting as senior editor for the Catesby Commemorative Trust's book The curious Mister Catesby - a naturalist explores new worlds, and so he is a member of the Catesby Commemorative Council. He is also currently working on a biography of Dr John Scouler, a Scottish naturalist who was Professor of Mineralogy to the Royal Dublin Society, for the Glasgow Natural History Society. His most recent book, published in April 2014 by the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland, is a biography of the botanical artist and plantsman, Lady Charlotte Wheeler-Cuffe; entitled Shadow among splendours: the adventures of Lady Charlotte Wheeler-Cuffe among the flowers of Burma 1897-1921.[1] The book is illustrated with examples of her paintings and lengthy extract from her correspondence to her mother.

In May 2013, he received the Society for the History of Natural History's Founders' Medal.

Notable publications[edit]

Two of Nelson's books have been awarded the accolade of "Reference Book of The Year" by the Garden Media Guild (formerly the Garden Writers Guild) - in 2001 A heritage of beauty. The garden plants of Ireland. An illustrated encyclopaedia (ISBN 0-9515890-1-6), and in 2012 Hardy heathers of the northern hemisphere: Calluna, Daboecia, Erica (ISBN 978-1-84246-170-9).

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