George Don

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

Life and career[edit]

George Don was born at Doo Hillock, Forfar, Angus, Scotland on 29 April 1798 to Caroline Clementina Stuart and George Don, 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]


The television gardener Monty Don is a great-nephew.[2]

The plant species authored by George Don include:

The plant genera authored by George Don include:

Selected publications[edit]

  • Don, George (1832). "A monograph of the genus Allium". Memoirs of the Wernerian Natural History Society. 6: 1–102.
  • A general history of the dichlamydeous plants etc. by George Don in the Biodiversity Heritage Library
  • A general system of gardening and botany. Founded upon Miller's Gardener's dictionary, and arranged according to the natural system. 1831–1838

Biography of The Scottish Botanist George Don 1764-1814, His Life, Times, and Contemporaries, by Scottish Author Marilyn Reid,

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Matthew, H. C. G.; Harrison, B., eds. (23 September 2004), "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, pp. ref:odnb/7792, doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/7792, retrieved 6 December 2019
  2. ^ Presenter: Monty Don (29 November 2015). "The 19th Century". The Secret History of the British Garden. BBC Two.
  3. ^ IPNI.  G.Don.


Note: This is a selected list of the more influential systems. There are many other systems, for instance a review of earlier systems, published by Lindley in his 1853 edition, and Dahlgren (1982). Examples include the works of Scopoli, Batsch and Grisebach.