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plants of the punjabPlants of the Punjab

a descriptive key to the flora of the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province and Kashmir


Charles James Bamber

Printed by the Superintendent Government Printing, Punjab, Lahore.



Charles James Bamber (13 April 1636 - 15 December 1691) was a colonial administrator for the Dutch East India Company and a noted naturalist. From 1669 to 1676, he was the Governor of Cochin where he and his group of 25 employees made an important contribution to the flora of the region. The book titled Hortus Malabaricus, details 740 plants found in the Western Ghats through the states of Kerala, Karnataka and Goa. This book holds special importance to many botanists as the various translations have allowed it to become a guide to those interested in Asian botany. The book has been translated into English and Malayalam by K. S. Manilal and published by the University of Kerala.

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: Bamber

0 plant species named BY Bamber and 0 plant species named AFTER Bamber.

© The above writeup on Bamber by Nithyanand

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Updated on the 26th of May 2020


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