Robert Fortune

Robert Fortune

Birth
Death 13 Apr 1880 (aged 67)
Burial West Brompton, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Greater London, England
Memorial ID 34626477 · View Source
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Scottish botanist and traveller, best known for introducing tea plants from China to India. He was responsible for the introduction of over 120 species of plants to western gardens. From a humble home and with only a primary education, he was apprenticed to a nurseryman and later employed at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. He later moved to the gardens of the Horticultural Society in London, which sent him out to collect plants in China. He had been charged with the task of learning the art of tea growing and then obtaining samples of the shrubs. Had arrived in China in 1843 unable to speak the language, returned five years later learning the secrets of tea making and disguised as a Chinese peasant smuggled tea plants from China into India and in so doing established the tea industry in India and Ceylon. He made two more trips to China (1853 to 1856) and (1858 to 1859) and one trip to Japan (1860 to 1862). He also sent some palms to William Hooker at Kew, with the request that one should be sent to Prince Alberts garden on the Isle of Wight. The Trachycarpus, a tall and healthy palm, was planted by Queen Victoria herself on her 32nd birthday in May 1851. Some of the plants he introduced from China and Japan, were later to be named after him: Kumquat Fortunella, Rhododendron Fortunei and Daphne Fortunei. He retired in 1862 and went back to Scotland to become a farmer.


  • Created by: julia&keld
  • Added: 9 Mar 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial 34626477
  • Anonymous IV
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Robert Fortune (16 Sep 1812–13 Apr 1880), Find a Grave Memorial no. 34626477, citing Brompton Cemetery, West Brompton, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Greater London, England ; Maintained by julia&keld (contributor 46812479) .