William Grant Craib

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William Grant Craib FLS FRSE (10 March 1882 in Banff, Aberdeenshire – 1 September 1933 in Kew) was a British botanist. Craib was Regius Professor of Botany at Aberdeen University and later worked at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.[1]


Craib was born in Banff, Aberdeenshire in northern Scotland on 10 March 1882 and he was educated at Banff Academy and Fordyce Academy.[2] He entered Aberdeen University as an Art student but due to problems with his eyes he left and worked for a while on a ship as an engineer.[2] When his eyes were better, he returned to Aberdeen University and took a Master of Arts degree.[2] He was ready to study for his Bachelor of Science degree, but he took an opportunity to take a temporary post at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Calcutta.[2]

While in Calcutta he became the curator of the Herbarium and made in the North Cachar Hills a large collection of plants, including a number of new species which he later described and named.[2] In 1899 he was offered a job as Assistant for India at Kew Gardens in London, a role in which he contributed his knowledge of Indian and South West Asian botany.[2]

In 1915 he was offered and took the post as a lecturer in forest botany and Indian trees at Edinburgh.[2] In 1920 he was appointed Regius Professor of Botany at Aberdeen University.[2] As well as his teaching work and training research students, he studied with his pupils Siamese flora on which he wrote many books.[2] In 1921 at a meeting of the British Association, Craib lost one of his legs in a serious accident.[2]

He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1920. His proposers were Sir Isaac Bayley Balfour, Sir David Prain, Sir Thomas Hudson Beare, and James Hartley Ashworth.[3]

During his vacations for university, he worked in the Herbarium at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew in London, particularly on the flora of Siam.[2] It was during one of his stays at Kew that he became ill and died on 1 September 1933 aged 51.[2]


He married Mary Beatrice Turner in 1917. They had no children.


  1. ^ "Craibia (Harms & Dunn 1911)". Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Professor Craib". Obituary. The Times (46539). London. 2 September 1933. p. 15.
  3. ^ https://www.royalsoced.org.uk/cms/files/fellows/biographical_index/fells_indexp1.pdf
  4. ^ IPNI.  Craib.