George Don

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George Don
Born(1798-04-29)29 April 1798
Doo Hillock, Forfar, Angus, Scotland
Died25 February 1856(1856-02-25) (aged 57)
Kensington, London, England
Known forA General System of Gardening and Botany
Parent(s)Caroline Clementina Stuart and George Don
RelativesDavid Don (brother)
Scientific career
InstitutionsRoyal Horticultural Society
Author abbrev. (botany)G.Don

George Don (29 April 1798 – 25 February 1856) was a Scottish botanist and plant collector.

Life and career[edit]

The grave of George Don, Forfar parish churchyard

George Don was born at Doo Hillock, Forfar, Angus, Scotland on 29 April 1798 to Caroline Clementina Stuart and George Don (b.1756), principal gardener of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 1802.[1] Don was the elder brother of David Don, also a botanist. He became foreman of the gardens at Chelsea in 1816. In 1821, he was sent to Brazil, the West Indies and Sierra Leone to collect specimens for the Royal Horticultural Society.[1] Most of his discoveries were published by Joseph Sabine, although Don published several new species from Sierra Leone.

Don's main work was his four volume A General System of Gardening and Botany, published between 1832 and 1838 (often referred to as Gen. Hist., an abbreviation of the alternative title: A General History of the Dichlamydeous Plants). He revised the first supplement to Loudon's Encyclopaedia of Plants, and provided a Linnean arrangement to Loudon's Hortus Britannicus. He also wrote a monograph on the genus Allium (1832) and a review of Combretum. He died at Kensington, London, on 25 February 1856.[1] He is buried in the parish churchyard in the centre of Forfar.


The plant species authored by George Don include:

A plant genera authored by George Don is Physochlaina G.Don[3]

He is also honoured in the genus of a plant, Donella,[4] which was published in Hist. Pl. Vol.11 o page 294 in 1891.[5]

The television gardener Monty Don is, according to different sources, either George Don's four-times great-grandson or a great-nephew some generations removed.[6][7]

List of selected publications[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Matthew, H. C. G.; Harrison, B., eds. (23 September 2004). "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. ref:odnb/7792. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/7792. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ International Plant Names Index.  G.Don.
  3. ^ "Physochlaina G.Don | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science". Plants of the World Online. Retrieved 30 August 2021.
  4. ^ Burkhardt, Lotte (2018). Verzeichnis eponymischer Pflanzennamen – Erweiterte Edition [Index of Eponymic Plant Names – Extended Edition] (pdf) (in German). Berlin: Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum, Freie Universität Berlin. doi:10.3372/epolist2018. ISBN 978-3-946292-26-5. S2CID 187926901. Retrieved 1 January 2021.
  5. ^ "Donella Pierre ex Baill. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science". Plants of the World Online. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  6. ^ Horton, Helena (15 June 2019). "Monty Don reveals his family's 170-year-old feud with the Royal Horticultural Society". The Daily Telegraph.
  7. ^ Although the Telegraph article identifies Monty Don's "great-great-great-great grandfather George Don", a representative of the Royal Horticultural Society is quoted as saying "we [...] are delighted to work closely with Monty Don who is a descendent of another branch of the Don family tree, one that features many gardeners and botanists"; this implied less-direct relationship to George Don corroborates the following cited source- Presenter: Monty Don (29 November 2015). "The 19th Century". The Secret History of the British Garden. BBC Two.
  8. ^ George Don A general history of the dichlamydeous plants: comprising complete descriptions of the different orders...the whole arranged according to the natural system IV (1831) at Google Books