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a dictionary of the flowering plants and fernsA dictionary of the flowering plants and ferns


Book - Editions 1-8

John Christopher Willis

Published by Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.



John Christopher Willis (20 February 1868 – 21 March 1958) was an English botanist known for his Age and Area hypothesis and criticism of natural selection. n 1896 Willis was appointed director of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) until 1912 when he was appointed director of the botanic gardens at Rio de Janeiro. He was elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society in 1897, and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1919.[1] His notable publications include "A Manual and Dictionary of the Flowering Plants and Ferns" in two volumes and "Age and Area: A Study of Geographical Distribution and Origin of Species”, published in 1922. He returned to Cambridge in 1915, and later went to live in Montreux, Switzerland. He died in 1958 at the age of 90 and was posthumously awarded the Darwin–Wallace Medal by the Linnean Society.

Carl Linnaeus known as the father of modern botany made extensive use of Rheede’s book as he trusted the author’s expertise. A lot of Rheede’s work was encouraged by the Dutch East India Company as they would use this information to better fight diseases. Hortus Malabaricus is important also because it talks about the economic and medical benefits to be gained from plants in the region. Another indication of its relevance can be attributed to the fact that it contains the lectotype for eleven plants. For example, van Reede’s ‘Todda Panna’ was declared the lectotype for Cycas circinalis by Stevenson et al in 1993. Linnaeus had established the genus Cycas in 1753 but since then confusion has reigned over the proper identification of various species within it; for it seems clear that Linnaeus had based some of his comments on earlier works where different species had not been correctly identified. In subsequent commentaries on the plant, Cycas rumphii and Cycas circinalis have often been used interchangeably. Several species of plants have their “type” illustrations in this work.

Hortus Malabaricus is a work of 12 volumes with as many as 794 illustrations. Each plant of the Malabar region has been recreated in detail and in languages such as Latin, Arabic, Sanskrit and Malayalam. Rheede also understood the benefit that would be gained from using the help of the locals. He collaborated with people like Itti Achuden, Ranga Bhat, Appu Bhat and Vinayak Pandit to create his magnum opus. The effort proved to be worth it as has become one of the  most valued works used by many generations.***

The standard author abbreviation used to indicate this person as the author, when citing a botanical name: Willis

3 plant species named BY Willis and 26 plant species named AFTER Willis.

© The above writeup on Willis by Nithyanand

adobe readerPublic DomainNo CopyrightA dictionary of the flowering plants and ferns

1897: Edition 1


1925: Edition 5


1931: Edition 6


1966: Edition 7


1985: Edition 8


3 Plant species named BY Willis

The following 3 plant species names have been described and named BY Willis (Willis)


Hydrobryum sessile Willis, Ann. Roy. Bot. Gard. (Peradeniya) i. 239.

Oreophylax Willis, Dict. Fl. Pl., ed. 4 472 (1919), nom. inval.

Willisia selaginoides Warm. ex Willis, Ann. Roy. Bot. Gard. (Peradeniya) i. 235 (1902).

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26 Plant species named AFTER Willis

Updated on the 15th of May 2020

The following 26 plant species names have been described and named AFTER Willis (... willisii), (… willisiana) & (Willisia …)


6 species named AFTER Willis (… willisii)

Ardisia willisii Mez, Pflanzenr. (Engler) Myrsin. 140 (1902).

Astragalus willisii Popov, Bot. Mater. Gerb. Glavn. Bot. Sada R.S.F.S.R. 4: 155 (1923).

Brachyscome willisii P.S.Short, Muelleria 27(1): 31 (33-35; fig. 13, map) (2009).

Cryptocoryne × willisii Reitz, Wochenschr. Aquar.- Terrarienkunde 39: 523 (1908).

Cryptocoryne willisii hort. ex A.Chev., Rev. Bot. Appl. Agric. Trop. 1934, xiv. 482, nomen.

Epilobium willisii P.H.Raven & Engelhorn, New Zealand J. Bot. 9(2): 347 (1971).

Erythranthe willisii G.L.Nesom, Phytoneuron 2017-17: 7 (2017).

Eucalyptus willisii Ladiges, Humphries & Brooker, Austral. J. Bot. 31(6): 583 (1983) (1983).

Eucalyptus willisii subsp. falciformis Newnham, Ladiges & Whiffin, Austral. J. Bot. 34(3): 348 (1986) (1986).

Eucalyptus willisii subsp. willisii Ladiges, Humphries & Brooker, - .

Grevillea willisii R.V.Sm. & McGill., Muelleria 3(2): 102 (1975).

Grevillea willisii subsp. pachylostyla McGill., New Names Grevillea 16 (1986).

Grevillea willisii subsp. willisii R.V.Sm. & McGill., New Names in Grevillea (Proteaceae) (1986).

Hakea willisii (R.V.Sm. & McGill.) Christenh. & Byng, Global Fl. 4: 92 (2018).

Halicacabus willisii (Popov) Nevski, Trudy Bot. Inst. Akad. Nauk S.S.S.R., Ser. 1, Fl. Sist. Vyssh. Rast. 4: 216 (1937), in obs.

Strobilanthes willisii Carine, Kew Bull. 55(4): 971 (2000).

Tecticornia willisii K.A.Sheph., Nuytsia 29: 141 (2018).

6 species named AFTER Willis (… willisiana)

Chionogentias muelleriana subsp. willisiana L.G.Adams, Austral. Syst. Bot. 8(5): 959 (1995) (1995).

Gaultheria willisiana Davie, J. Bot. 55: 219 (1917).

Gentianella muelleriana subsp. willisiana (L.G.Adams) Glenny, New Zealand J. Bot. 42(3): 519 (2004).

Goodenia willisiana Carolin, Telopea 3(4): 531 (1990).

Griffithella willisiana Warm., Kongel. Danske Vidensk.-Selsk. Skr. ser. 6, 11: 13 (-14; fig.) (1901).

Heliconia willisiana Abalo, Phytologia 52: 412, fig (1983).

3 species named AFTER Willis (Willisia …)

Willisia Warm., in Danske Vid. Selsk. Skrift. Ser. VI. xi. 58 (1901).

Willisia arekaliana Shivam. & Sadanand, Kew Bull. 52(1): 243 (1997).

Willisia selaginoides Warm. ex Willis, Ann. Roy. Bot. Gard. (Peradeniya) i. 235 (1902).

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