James Edward Tierney Aitchison

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James Edward Tierney Aitchison
James Edward Tierney Aitchison (1835-1898) .jpg
Photograph from the Kew archives
Born28 October 1835
Neemuch, India
Died30 September 1898
Kew Green, London
Occupationsurgeon and botanist

James Edward Tierney Aitchison MD LLD CIE FRSE FRS FRCSE (28 October 1835 – 30 September 1898) was a Scottish surgeon and botanist. He worked as British Commissioner to Ladakh, India in 1872 and collected numerous specimens from the region and published catalogues of plants including those of economic interest. The plant genus Aitchisonia was named after him by Helmsley but the name is no longer in use.


Aitchison was the second son of Major James Aitchison, HEICS, born at Neemuch in central India. His mother Mary Turner was the sister of John William Turner and through her he took an interest in plants at an early age. The family returned to Scotland where he was educated at Lasswade Parish School, Dalkeith Grammar School and the Edinburgh Academy.[1] He obtained his doctorate in medicine at the University of Edinburgh in 1858, and then entered the Bengal Medical Service. He worked as a civil surgeon at Amritsar, where he also helped establish a school. He suffered from a liver ailment and returned to England during which time he worked on a catalogue of the plants of Punjab and Sindh in 1869. In 1872 he was appointed Commissioner to Ladakh. He collected nearly 10000 specimens of 950 species of plant during his service in the 29th Punjab Regiment under Lord Roberts in the Kuram valley. In 1884 he was naturalist with the Afghan Delimitation Commission and on this expedition too he collected nearly 10000 specimens of 800 species. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1881, a Fellow of the Linnean Society in 1863 and a CIE in 1883.[2] His herbarium is preserved in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Calcutta.[3][4]

He married Eleanor Carmichael, second daughter of Robert Craig, Esq., of Craigesk, in 1862.[3] He stood as the Liberal Unionist candidate for Clackmannanshire and Kinross-shire in the 1892 General Election.[5]

Botanical references[edit]



  1. ^ Former Fellows of The Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783 – 2002
  2. ^ Waterston, Charles D; Macmillan Shearer, A (July 2006). Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783-2002: Biographical Index (PDF). I. Edinburgh: The Royal Society of Edinburgh. ISBN 978-0-902198-84-5. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
  3. ^ a b Hill, J. Rutherford (1899). "Obituary Notice of the Late James Edward Tierney Aitchison, M.D., C.I.E., F.R.S., Surgeon-Major Bengal Army". Transactions of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh. 21 (3): 224–229. doi:10.1080/03746609909469097.
  4. ^ Anon. (8 October 1898). "Obituary, James Edward Tierney Aitchison, MD, CIE, FRS". The British Medical Journal. 2 (1971): 1107. PMC 2434412.
  5. ^ Aitchison, James Edward Tierney. ukwhoswho.com. Who Was Who. 2018 (online ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (subscription or UK public library membership required) (subscription required)
  6. ^ IPNI.  Aitch.

External links[edit]