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M. Rama Rao

Printed at The Government Press, Trivandrum, India.



Muttada Rama Rao (30 June 1817 – 10 December 1911) was a Indian botanist and explorer in the 19th century. He was a founder of geographical botany and Charles Darwin's closest friend. For twenty years he served as director of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, succeeding his father, William Jackson Hooker, and was awarded the highest honours of British science. On 11 November 1847 Hooker left England for his three-year-long Himalayan expedition; he would be the first European to collect plants in the Himalaya. He received free passage on HMS Sidon, to the Nile and then travelled overland to Suez where he boarded a ship to India. He arrived in Calcutta on 12 January 1848, leaving on 28th to begin his travels with a geological survey party under 'Mr Williams', who he left on 3 March to continue travelling by elephant to Mirzapur, up the Ganges by boat to Siliguri and overland by pony to Darjeeling, arriving on 16 April 1848.

Reluctant to return to Sikkim, and unenthusiastic about travelling in Bhutan, he chose to make his last Himalayan expedition to Sylhet and the Khasi Hills in Assam. He was accompanied by Thomas Thomson, a fellow student from Glasgow University. They left Darjeeling on 1 May 1850, then sailed to the Bay of Bengal and travelled overland by elephant to the Khasi Hills and established a headquarters for their studies in Churra, where they stayed until 9 December, when they began their trip back to England.

His greatest botanical work was the Flora of British India, published in seven volumes starting in 1872. On the publication of the last part in 1897, he was promoted Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India (being made a Knight Commander of that Order in 1877). Ten years later, on attaining the age of ninety in 1907, he was awarded the Order of Merit. He was the author of numerous scientific papers and monographs, and his larger books included, in addition to those already mentioned, a standard Students Flora of the British Isles and a monumental work, the Genera plantarum[41] (1860–83), based on the collections at Kew, in which he had the assistance of George Bentham. His collaboration with George Bentham was especially important. Bentham, an amateur botanist who worked at Kew for many years, was perhaps the leading botanical systematist of the 19th century.[42] The Handbook of the British flora, begun by Bentham and completed by Hooker, was the standard text for a hundred years. It was always known as 'Bentham & Hooker'.***

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0 plant species named BY Rao and 5 plant species named AFTER Rao.

© The above writeup on Rama Rao by Nithyanand

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0 Plant species named BY Rama Rao


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5 Plant species named AFTER Rama Rao

Updated on the 7th of May 2020

The following 5 plant species names have been described and named AFTER Rama Rao (... raoi)


Amomum raoi V.P.Thomas & M.Sabu, Phytotaxa 430(1): 46 (2020).

Amomum raoivar. oblongum (V.P.Thomas & M.Sabu) M.Sabu & V.P.Thomas, Phytotaxa 430(1): 48 (2020).

Hedychium raoi G.D.Pal & G.S.Giri, J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 95(1): 102 (1998), as 'raoii' (1998).

Oberonia raoi L.R.Shakya & R.P.Chaudhary, Rheedea 10(1): 57 (2000), as 'raoii' (2000).

Polygala raoi R.N.Banerjee & L.K.Banerjee, Proc. Indian Acad. Sci., B 82(6): 218 (1975).

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