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A Hand -book to the Flora of Ceylon 錫蘭植物手冊

A Hand-Book to the Flora of Ceylon is a compendium of plants native to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). It contains descriptions of the discovery, distribution and use of the plants as well as 116 full-color pictures. This book is referred to as one of the last classic compendiums of the 19th century. Henry Trimen (1843-1896), the compiler of this book, was a British botanist. In his younger age he served as an assistant in the botanical department of the British Museum for ten years. In 1879, he was assigned as the Director at the Botanical Garden of Peradeniya. This garden belonged to the Sri Lankan royal family and had a long history that could be traced all the way back to 1371. Under Trimen’s efficient management, the garden became beautiful and went through an expansion in its business. Other than his research on the botanical taxonomy, Trimen founded a museum for the exhibition of economic plants and also launched branches of this garden in Badulla and Anuradhapura. Both were pioneering decisions at his time.

Starting 1883, Trimen began the publishing business of A Hand-Book on the Flora of Ceylon, which took until 1893 to complete. This book provides information that includes common name, habitat, use, and some exquisite images of the plants in Sri Lanka. It not only raised Sri Lanka’s academic significance in botany, but contributed to the research and study of tropical plants.

Although Trimen passed away before he could finish the last volume, his name is closely tied to the academic circle of botany in Sri Lanka. The compiling job that he left behind was later finished by his contemporary botanist, Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, who was the second director of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew. Later scholars and researchers continue to modify and amend this book to this day.

Note. Published in 1893, the copy preserved at Forestry Research Institute is the only surviving version in Taiwan.


Digital Archives Project of TFRI's Library of Forestry Literature in The Period of Japanese-Database of TFRI’s Forestry Literature in the Period of Japanese Colonization