Ernest Henry Wilson

left to right – Hilary Hall, Chairman of the Trustees of Birmingham Botanical Gardens; the Deputy Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Michael Wilkes; the ‘young Wilson’; and Rob Blythe of the Birmingham Civic Society.

The life and work of an extraordinary man – Ernest Henry Wilson – gardener, botanist and plant hunter – was commemorated at Birmingham Botanical Gardens & Glasshouses recently, with a blue plaque, presented by the Birmingham Civic Society and unveiled by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Michael Wilkes.
‘Chinese’ Wilson was one of the most famous and successful plant hunters, he collected over 100,000 specimens, introducing 1,200 new species and recorded his expeditions on 10,000 glass plate photographs. Over 20 years he collected in 15 countries on three continents – and still found time to publish ten books. His plant introductions from China included Davidia involucrata – the handkerchief tree – a fine specimen of which can be found at the Gardens along the Wilson Walk. Today in almost every garden will be found a Wilson plant.

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