Henry Nicholas Ridley

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Henry Nicholas Ridley
Henry Nicholas Ridley, Botanist (1855-1956).jpg
Born (1855-12-10)December 10, 1855
Died October 24, 1956(1956-10-24) (aged 100)
Nationality British
Fields Botany
Institutions Singapore Botanic Gardens
Known for Rubber industry on the Malay peninsula
Notable awards Linnean Medal (1950)
Fellow of the Royal Society[1]
Author abbrev. (botany)

Henry Nicholas Ridley CMG (1911), MA (Oxon), FRS,[1] FLS, F.R.H.S. (10 December 1855 – 24 October 1956) was an English botanist and geologist.


Born at West Harling Hall, Norfolk, England. Ridley was the first Scientific Director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens from 1888 to 1911.[3]

Ridley spent many years promoting rubber as a commercial product, which he was known for being passionate; therefore, he was nicknamed "Mad Ridley".[4] In 1895, he discovered a means of tapping which did not seriously damage the rubber trees.[3] Ridley was also largely responsible for establishing the rubber industry on the Malay peninsula,[5] where he resided for twenty years before publishing, in 1930, a seminal and comprehensive work on plant dispersal. This work was the culmination of his own observations over several years, and a review of widely scattered literature on the subject.[6]

Ridley retired from Singapore in 1911 and resided in England for the remainder of his life. On his 100th birthday in 1955 he received a visit from the High Commissioner of the soon-to-be independent Malaya.[3]


  • . (1889-01-19), Botanical papers, Singapore: Royal Asiatic Society, Straits Branch 
  • . (1889), Report on the destruction of coco-nut palms by beetles, Singapore: the Government Printing Office 
  • . (July 1897), "Malay plant names", The Journal of the Straits Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (Royal Asiatic Society) 30: 32–120 [S.l.] 
  • ., The story of the rubber industry, with an appendix by L. Lewton-Brain, showing the growth of the rubber industry in Malaya from 1905 to 1912, London: Waterlow 
  • . (1907), Materials for a flora of the Malayan Peninsula, Singapore: the Methodist Pub. House 
  • . (1909), The Scitamineae of the Philippine Islands, Manila: Bureau of Printing 
  • . (1912), Spices, London: Macmilla 
  • . (1922–25), Flora of the Malay Peninsula, Vols 1-5, London: L. Reeve & co. 
  • . (1930), The Dispersal of Plants Throughout the World, Ashford, Kent: L. Reeve & Co 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Salisbury, E. J. (1957). "Henry Nicholas Ridley 1855-1956". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 3: 141–126. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1957.0010. 
  2. ^ "Author Query for 'Ridl.'". International Plant Names Index. 
  3. ^ a b c Cornelius-Takahama, Vernon (29 March 2001), Sir Henry Nicholas Ridley, Singapore: National Library Board Singapore 
  4. ^ Leng, Dr Loh Wei; Keong, Khor Jin (19 September 2011). "Mad Ridley and the rubber boom". Malaysia History. Retrieved 4 June 2015. 
  5. ^ Holttum, R.E. (January–February 1957), "Henry Nicholas Ridley, C. M. G., F. R. S. 1855-1956", Taxon (International Association for Plant Taxonomy (IAPT)) 6 (1): 1–6, JSTOR 1217861. 
  6. ^ Book review (14 March 1931), "The Dispersal of Plants throughout the World", Nature 127 (3202): 399–400, doi:10.1038/127399a0 

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