William Wright Smith

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Sir William Wright Smith
Born (1875-02-02)2 February 1875
Died 15 December 1956(1956-12-15) (aged 81)
Fields Botany
Alma mater University of Edinburgh
Notable awards
Author abbrev. (botany)

Sir William Wright Smith FRS[1] FRSE FLS VMH LLD (2 February 1875 Lochmaben, Dumfriesshire – 15 December 1956) was a Scottish botanist and horticulturalist.


He was born in Lochmaben, the son of James T. Smith.

Educated at Dumfries Academy and then University of Edinburgh, he studied at postgraduate level in Toulouse.

He rose to become the Queen's Botanist in Scotland, the Regius Keeper of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Regius Professor of Botany at the University of Edinburgh, and President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Aberdeen University granted him an honorary doctorate (LLD). He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1919, his proposers being Sir Isaac Bayley Balfour, James Hartley Ashworth and Donald Cameron McIntosh. He served as Secretary to the Society 1923-28, Vice-President 1928-31 and President 1944-49. He won the Society's Makdougall-Brisbane Prize for 1940-42. He was knighted in 1932.[3]

Smith was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1945.[1]


From 1907 until 1910, Smith went travelling in northern India with his nephew and ward, Roland Edgar Cooper FRSE, collecting samples in Sikkim, Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan. Cooper later took over from Smith in his role of Head Curator of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.[4]

Smith is known for his research on:


He was married to Emma Wiedhofft. In 1905 they took guardianship of their nephew, Roland Edgar Cooper.


  1. ^ a b c Cowan, J. M. (1957). "William Wright Smith 1875-1956". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 3: 192–126. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1957.0013. JSTOR 769360. 
  2. ^ "Author Query for 'W.W.Sm.'". International Plant Names Index. 
  3. ^ https://www.royalsoced.org.uk/cms/files/fellows/biographical_index/fells_indexp2.pdf
  4. ^ http://www.rbge.org.uk/assets/files/science/Library%20-Archives/GB235REC_RolandEdgarCooper.pdf
  5. ^ Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Edinburgh. 9: 63. 1915.
  6. ^ Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Edinburgh. 10: 60. 1917.
  7. ^ Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Edinburgh 13: 208. 1921.
  8. ^ Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Edinburgh 15: 85. 1926.