George Don

1764 - 1814

Horticulturist and plant collector. Born in Menmuir (Angus), Don trained as a gardener at Dupplin House and soon began exploring the Highlands for new plant species. He set up a fine nursery at Doo Hillock in Forfar, but continued his expeditions around the Grampians and was to publish his Herbarium Britannicum (1804-12). He was appointed Principal Gardener at the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh (1802) and was elected to the Linnean Society in 1803. Species which he discovered which were new to Britain include the snapdragon Bartsia alpina, the rock sedge Carex saxatilis and the sow-thistle Cicerbita alpina.

He resigned his post in Edinburgh and returned to Forfar and his nursery, where he died. Never a wealthy man, he left his family in poverty. His son George (1764 - 1814) became a plant-hunter and David (1800-42) became a botanist.

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