International Carnivorous Plant Society

William Jackson Hooker

William Jackson Hooker (1785–1865)

William Jackson Hooker was an English systematic botanist, administrator, and botanical artist. Hooker held the post of Regius Professor of Botany at Glasgow University. He was the first Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He enjoyed the friendship and support of Sir Joseph Banks for his exploring, collecting and administration work.

Hooker was instrumental in convincing the British government of the day that botanists should be appointed to all their expeditions. While his projects were in progress, his herbarium received large and valuable additions from all parts of the world, and Hooker’s position as a botanist was thus vastly enhanced. He was made a Knight of Hanover in 1836, and in 1841 he was appointed director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, on the resignation of William Townsend Aiton. Under his direction, Kew gardens expanded from 10 to 75 acres (4 to 30 hectares), with an arboretum of 270 acres (1.1 km2). Many new glasshouses were erected and a museum of economic botany was established. He died in 1865 and is buried at St. Anne’s Church, Kew. He was succeeded at Kew Gardens by his son Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, a rare example of an outstanding man succeeded in his post by an equally outstanding son.

Hooker described Drosera arcturi and D. bulbosa, however it was his immense contribution to the development of Kew, as the world’s leading botanical institutions and its subsequent and continuing contribution to our knowledge and understanding of the Carnivorous Plants, that warrants his inclusion in the ICPS Hall of Fame.


For more information on the life of William Jackson Hooker please see Wikipedia.

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Annals of Natural History

William Jackson Hooker was an editor of Annals of Natural History.




William Jackson Hooker

Portrait of William Jackson Hooker by Spiridione Gambardella.