National Records of Scotland

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David Douglas (1799-1834)

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David Douglas (1799-1834)

Plant collector

David Douglas started his career as an apprentice in the gardens of the earl of Mansfield at Scone before moving on to Valleyfield in Perthshire and Glasgow Botanic Gardens. There he assisted the eminent botanist, William Jackson Hooker, to survey the native flora of the Highlands. This led to his employment by the Horticultural Society in London. In 1823 he went to the eastern United States and Canada as a plant collector and in 1825 started a much longer exploration of the north-west based at Fort Vancouver. The many specimens he returned, including seeds of the Douglas fir, were much admired. In 1829 he travelled to California and the Sandwich Islands. He died on 12 July 1834 after falling into a pit trap on Hawaii and being gored by a wild bull. He was buried at Honolulu.

David Douglas is one of the famous Scots commemorated in our Archivists' Garden. The entry on quamash (camassia), one of his many introductions, provides further information about his legacy.

Birth in 1799

David Douglas was baptised on 30 June 1799, the son of John Douglas and Jean Drummond. The entry in the Old Parish Register (OPR) for Scone gives his father’s occupation as mason in Scone.

Baptism entry for David Douglas

Baptism entry for David Douglas (19 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 394A/1