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David Douglas

David Douglas Tree Collector

The Tree Collector: The Life and... Explorations of David Douglas. David Douglas was one of the most important botanical collectors there has ever been. Thanks to his heroic and often unimaginably arduous explorations, during which he collected and discovered over 200 species, our forests and gardens are immeasurably richer. Not only is the Douglas fir named after him, but also many of our most established conifers, like the Sitka spruce, Grand and Noble firs and the Monterey pine were introduced to Britain by him. Modern-day suburban gardens would be without the flowering currant, lupin, penstemon, alpines, lilies and primroses had Douglas not travelled so widely. He grew up on the Scone Estate near Perth, studied at the Botanical Gardens in Glasgow under William Hooker, the greatest botanist of the nineteenth century, and then made his name through his remarkable excursions to western Canada - once walking nearly 10,000 miles between the Pacific coast and Hudson Bay. His premature death at just 35 was in keeping with the rest of his life, falling into a wild-animal trap in Hawaii.

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