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][2]


Craib was born in Banff, Aberdeenshire in northern Scotland on 10 March 1882 and he was educated at Banff Academy and Fordyce Academy.[3] 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.[3] When his eyes were better, he returned to Aberdeen University and took a Master of Arts degree.[3] 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.[3]

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.[3] 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.[3]

Richmond cemetery

In 1915 he was offered and took the post as a lecturer in forest botany and Indian trees at Edinburgh.[3] In 1920 he was appointed Regius Professor of Botany at Aberdeen University.[3] As well as his teaching work and training research students, he studied with his pupils Siamese flora on which he wrote many books.[3] In 1921 at a meeting of the British Association, Craib lost one of his legs in a serious accident.[3]

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.[4]

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.[3] It was during one of his stays at Kew that he became ill and died on 1 September 1933 aged 51,[3] and is buried in Richmond Cemetery.

Craib is commemorated in the genera Craibiodendron and Craibia, as well as a number of species.


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

Selected publications[edit]

The Flora of Banffshire. Craib, William Grant, 1912. Banffshire Journal Limited, Transactions of the Banffshire Field Club

Florae siamensis enumeratio : a list of the plants known from Siam, with records of their occurrence. Craib, William Grant, Kerr, Arthur Francis George. 1925-1931. Siam Society, Bangkok : The Bangkok times press


  1. ^ "Craibia (Harms & Dunn 1911)". Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  2. ^ "William Grant Craib". Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information (Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew). 1933 (8): 409–412. 1933. JSTOR 4113435 – via JSTOR.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Professor Craib". Obituary. The Times. No. 46539. London. 2 September 1933. p. 15.
  4. ^ C D Waterston; A Macmillan Shearer (July 2006). "Former Fellows of The Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1783–2002: Part 1 (A–J)" (PDF). Royal Society of Edinburgh. ISBN 090219884X. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  5. ^ International Plant Names Index.  Craib.