Two hundred years ago a new chapter of British-Nepali relations was beginning and one of the first Western scientists to be able to explore Nepal was the Scottish physician and botanist Francis Buchanan-Hamilton.
Mark Watson, who heads up the Flora of Nepal project at the Botanics, was in London last week to meet Bhagirath Yogi, a producer with the BBC Nepali Service, to talk about Buchanan-Hamilton’s legacy as “Father of Nepali Botany”.
The botanical exploration of Nepal is perhaps the oldest tangible link of collaboration between the two countries. Mark explained how Buchanan-Hamilton worked, what he found and how this is still important to botanical and cultural studies today.
Bhagirath has a particular interest in the scientific study of Nepal and is preparing a piece for the Nepali Service to appear in January 2018.
They met in the library of the Linnean Society in Burlington House on Piccadilly. The Linnean Society itself is the oldest extant botanical society in the world and houses many treasures including specimens collected by Buchanan-Hamilton in Nepal.