George Maxwell

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For other people named George Maxwell, see George Maxwell (disambiguation).

George Maxwell (1804–1880) was a professional collector of plants and insects in Southwest Australia. The botanical specimens he obtained were used to make formal descriptions of the region's plant species.

He was born in England in 1804 and moved to Western Australia in 1840 to settle at King George Sound, remaining there until his death at Middleton Beach in 1880. Maxwell occupied himself a number of activities, selling curios and offering to guide visitors to the port.[1] He began collecting plants and insects of the region, assisting the botanist James Drummond in 1846. The collections he made, in the company of Drummond and Ferdinand von Mueller, would provide type specimens for the publication of scientific descriptions. Maxwell's collections are now preserved in Australian herbarium, his contribution to the botanical knowledge of the region and Flora Australiensis was noted by Mueller in the Gardeners' Chronicle;

Only two years ago I made long journeys with him over rough country for several days on horseback to collect plants and seeds. More than 30 years ago he conducted Drummond through the Stirling Ranges in the journey that proved so memorable in the discovery of many splendid plants. He was nearly always in the bush, and engaged in collecting seeds, botanical and entomological specimens. Encouraged by myself, he undertook several extensive journeys over then untrodden ground, eastward as far as the Great Bight, and thus found many new plants and enabled us to extend the known limits of the range of many rare species, as recorded in the Flora Australiensis.[2]

The expedition with Drummond began in the Stirling Ranges in 1846, continuing on to Cape Riche and Mt Barren. The specimens obtained on their journey became known as Drummond's fourth collection, many of which are referenced in published descriptions of the region's species.[3]

The following species were named by Mueller and Jeremy Bentham in recognition of this collector:


  1. ^ R.L. Heberle. "George Maxwell 1805-1879. Botanical Collector and Naturalist.". History of Orchid Collecting in South Western Australia, 1791 - 1971. The Species Orchid Society of Western Australia (Inc). Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  2. ^ A.E.Orchard (13 November 2007). "Maxwell, George (1804 - 1880)". Collectors & Illustrators. Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG). Retrieved 2008-03-04. Mueller to Gard. Chron., 3 April, I880, p. 433 
  3. ^ Erickson, Rica (1966). "Drummond, James (1787 - 1863)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 

Further reading[edit]

  • A.E.Orchard (1999) A History of Systematic Botany in Australia, in Flora of Australia Vol.1, 2nd ed., ABRS.
  • Maiden, J.H. (1909) Records of Western Australian Botanists. Journal of the West Australian Natural History Society. 2(6):5-33
  • David Morrison, Alex George (2004) Plate 492. Lechenaultia acutiloba Goodeniaceae Curtis's Botanical Magazine 21 (2), 111–113