Daniel Solander

Last updated

Daniel Solander
Omai (Mai), Sir Joseph Banks and Daniel Charles Solander by William Parry.jpg
Painting by William Parry made after Captain Cook's second voyage (c. 1775–1776). This depicts Omai, a Tahitian, Sir Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander (seated).
Born(1733-02-19)19 February 1733
Piteå, Norrbotten, Sweden
Died13 May 1782(1782-05-13) (aged 49)
London, England
Nationality Swedish
Alma mater Uppsala University
Scientific career
Fields Botany
Author abbrev. (botany) Sol.

Daniel Carlsson Solander or Daniel Charles Solander (19 February 1733 – 13 May 1782) was a Swedish naturalist and an apostle of Carl Linnaeus. [1] Solander was the first university-educated scientist to set foot on Australian soil.



Solander was born in Piteå, Norrbotten, Sweden, to Rev. Carl Solander [1] a Lutheran principal, and Magdalena (née Bostadia). [1] Solander enrolled at Uppsala University in July 1750 and initially studied languages, the humanities and law. The professor of botany was the celebrated Carl Linnaeus, who was soon impressed by young Solander's ability and accordingly persuaded his father to let him study natural history. Solander travelled to England in June 1760 to promote the new Linnean system of classification. In February 1763, he began cataloguing the natural history collections of the British Museum, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in June the following year. [2]

In 1768, Solander gained leave of absence from the British Museum and with his assistant Herman Spöring accompanied Joseph Banks on James Cook's first voyage to the Pacific Ocean aboard the Endeavour . They were the botanists who inspired the name Botanist Bay (which later became Botany Bay) for the first landing place of Cook's expedition in Australia. Solander helped make and describe an important collection of Australian plants while the Endeavour was beached at the site of present-day Cooktown for nearly seven weeks, after being damaged on the Great Barrier Reef. These collections later formed the basis of Banks' Florilegium.

Dr Daniel Solander, Sir Joseph Banks, Captain James Cook, Dr John Hawkesworth and Lord Sandwich by John Hamilton Mortimer, 1771. Use a cursor to see who is who. Mortimer - Captain James Cook, Sir Joseph Banks, Lord Sandwich, Dr Daniel Solander and Dr John Hawkesworth.jpgDr Daniel SolanderSir Joseph BanksCaptain James CookDr John HawkesworthEarl of Sandwichuse button to expand image
Dr Daniel Solander, Sir Joseph Banks, Captain James Cook, Dr John Hawkesworth and Lord Sandwich by John Hamilton Mortimer, 1771. Use a cursor to see who is who.

Solander also wrote a manuscript describing all the species collected from New Zealand during the six months the 1768 expedition spent there. It was called Primitiae Florae Novae Zelandiae ('beginnings of a New Zealand flora'), [5] and was to be illustrated with the plates prepared by Banks. It was never published, but it was available for study by anyone interested, first at Banks' London home, then at the Natural History section of the British Museum. [6]

Solander's return to Britain with Cook and Banks made him the first Swede to circumnavigate the globe.

On their return in 1771, Solander resumed his duties at the British Museum but also collaborated with Banks on the Florilegium. In 1772, he accompanied Banks on his voyage to Iceland, the Hebrides and the Orkney Islands. Between 1773 and 1782 he was Keeper of the Natural History Department of the British Museum. In 1773, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Solander's grave in Brookwood Cemetery Daniel Solander Grave Brookwood 2016.jpg
Solander's grave in Brookwood Cemetery

Solander died at Banks' home in Soho Square of a stroke, aged 49, on 13 May 1782. An autopsy was performed the next day, and revealed a brain haemorrhage. [7] He is buried in the Swedish Section at Brookwood Cemetery.


Solander, by John Flaxman Jr, c. 1778, Wedgwood jasperware Dr Daniel Charles Solander, by John Flaxman Jr, c. 1778, pale blue jasper, darker blue dip, white relief, ormolu frame by Matthew Boulton - Wedgwood Museum - Barlaston, Stoke-on-Trent, England - DDSC09625.jpg
Solander, by John Flaxman Jr, c. 1778, Wedgwood jasperware

Solander's reputation has been profoundly influenced by his limited number of publications and his premature death. Although he had detailed descriptions prepared for most of the botanical specimens he collected on the Endeavour voyage, in deference to Joseph Banks, Solander held off publication waiting for the completion of over 700 engravings. However, after Solander's death, Banks, now President of the Royal Society, failed to publish his projected Florilegium. Had he done so, he would have secured Solander's posthumous reputation. It has been claimed that Banks treated Solander, and Jonas Dryander, as his servants rather than as botanists of equal standing to others in the botanical establishment. However, Banks clearly had a strong emotional bond with Solander, met his expenses and even supported his relatives in Sweden. In 1784, when he wrote to Johan Alströmer of Solander's death, Banks declared: 'This too early loss of a friend, whom I during my more mature years have loved and whom I will always miss, makes me wish to draw a veil over his death, as soon as I have ceased to speak of it. I can never think of it without feeling a mortal pain.' Solander remained an employee of the British Museum for the last decade of his life but was also paid by Banks to assist him with his collections. Banks' relationship with Robert Brown was more formal. [8]

Solander invented the book-form box known as the Solander box which is still used in libraries and archives as the most suitable way of storing prints, drawings, herbarium materials and some manuscripts.

Solander Gardens in the east end of London is named after him, as are the Solander Islands off New Zealand's South Island and Cape Solander in the Kamay Botany Bay National Park, also in the suburb of Redfern near Sydney NSW the housing commission towers include a Daniel Solander building.[ citation needed ] Also Solander Island, off the NW coast of Vancouver Island, Canada. One of the many plants named in his honour is Fuscospora solandri (black beech). Solander was associated with Banks in Illustrations of the Botany of Captain Cook's Voyage Round the World, and his The Natural History of Many Curious and Uncommon Zoophytes, Collected by the late John Ellis, (1786) was published posthumously. The 'Daniel Solander Library' in Sydney's Royal Botanic Garden, established in 1852, is the oldest botanical research library in Australia. [9]

The scientific name of the Providence Petrel, Pterodroma solandri, was given in his honour by ornithologist John Gould.

The shrub Banksia solandri is named after him.

In Solander's birth town Piteå, the Solander Science Park houses a number of cleantech companies and research organizations. [10]

The standard author abbreviation Sol. is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name. [11]

See also

Related Research Articles

Joseph Banks English naturalist and botanist (1743–1820)

Sir Joseph Banks, 1st Baronet, was an English naturalist, botanist, and patron of the natural sciences.

Sydney Parkinson

Sydney Parkinson was a Scottish botanical illustrator and natural history artist. He was the first European artist to visit Australia, New Zealand and Tahiti. Parkinson was the first Quaker to visit New Zealand. The standard author abbreviation Parkinson is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name.

Jacques Labillardière French botanist

Jacques-Julien Houtou de Labillardière was a French biologist noted for his descriptions of the flora of Australia. Labillardière was a member of a voyage in search of the La Pérouse expedition. He published a popular account of his journey and produced the first Flora on the region.

<i>Ripogonum</i> Genus of flowering plants

Ripogonum is a genus of flowering plants confined to eastern Australia, New Zealand, and New Guinea. Until recently this genus was included in the family Smilacaceae, and earlier in the family Liliaceae, but it has now been separated as its own family Ripogonaceae.

<i>Banksia robur</i> Species of shrub in the family Proteaceae from the east coast of Australia

Banksia robur, commonly known as swamp banksia, or less commonly broad-leaved banksia, grows in sand or peaty sand in coastal areas from Cooktown in north Queensland to the Illawarra region on the New South Wales south coast. It is often found in areas which are seasonally inundated.

Taxonomy of <i>Banksia</i>

As with other flowering plants, the taxonomy of Banksia has traditionally been based on anatomical and morphological properties of the Banksia flower, fruiting structure and seed, along with secondary characteristics such as leaf structure and growth habit. Increasingly, molecular evidence from DNA is providing important new insights into relationships within the genus and between this and other genera in the Proteaceae.

<i>Banksia solandri</i> Species of shrub in the family Proteaceae from southwest Western Australia.

Banksia solandri, commonly known as Stirling Range banksia, is a species of large shrub in the plant genus Banksia. It occurs only within the Stirling Range in southwest Western Australia. Its scientific name honours the botanist Daniel Solander, one of the first collectors of Banksia.

<i>Banks Florilegium</i>

Banks' Florilegium is a collection of copperplate engravings of plants collected by Sir Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander while they accompanied Captain James Cook on his voyage around the world between 1768 and 1771. They collected plants in Madeira, Brazil, Tierra del Fuego, the Society Islands, New Zealand, Australia and Java. During this voyage, Banks and Solander collected nearly 30,000 dried specimens, eventually leading to the description of 110 new genera and 1300 new species, which increased the known flora of the world by 25 per cent.

Herman Spöring Jr. 18th-century Finnish explorer, botanist and draftsman

Herman Diedrich Spöring Jr. (1733–1771) was a Finnish explorer, draughtsman, botanist and a naturalist.

Taxonomy of <i>Banksia integrifolia</i> Classification of a tree species

The taxonomy of Banksia integrifolia has a long and complex history, the result of confusion caused by the species' great variability, and similarities with some closely related species. The existence of hybrids between B. integrifolia and related species as well as early attempts to classify the species based on dried specimen material have also contributed to the confusion.

Solander box

A Solander box, or clamshell case, is a book-form case used for storing manuscripts, maps, prints, documents, old and precious books, etc. It is commonly used in archives, print rooms and libraries. It is named after the Swedish botanist Daniel Solander (1733–1782), who is credited with its construction while working at the British Museum, where he catalogued the natural history collection between 1763 and 1782.

National Herbarium of Victoria Australian herbaria and scientific institution in Victoria

The National Herbarium of Victoria is one of Australia's earliest herbaria and the oldest scientific institution in Victoria. Its 1.5 million specimens of preserved plants, fungi and algae—collectively known as the State Botanical Collection of Victoria—comprise the largest herbarium collection in Australia and Oceania.

Edward Duyker

Edward Duyker is an Australian historian, biographer and author born in Melbourne.

<i>Ripogonum scandens</i> Species of flowering plant

Ripogonum scandens, is a common rainforest vine native to New Zealand. It can also grow in areas of swamp.

National Herbarium of New South Wales Centre for plant research in Sydney, Australia

The National Herbarium of New South Wales was established in 1853. The Herbarium has a collection of more than 1.4 million plant specimens, making it the second largest collection of pressed, dried plant specimens in Australia, including scientific and historically significant collections and samples of Australian flora gathered by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander during the voyage of HMS Endeavour in 1770.

The Flora Tasmaniae is a description of the plants discovered in Tasmania during the Ross expedition written by Joseph Dalton Hooker and published by Reeve Brothers in London between 1855 and 1860. Hooker sailed on HMS Erebus as assistant surgeon. Written in two volumes, it was the last in a series of four Floras in the Flora Antarctica, the others being the Flora of Lord Auckland and Campbell's Islands (1843–45), the Flora of Fuegia, the Falkland Islands, etc (1845-47), and the Flora Novae-Zelandiae (1851–53). They were "splendidly" illustrated by Walter Hood Fitch.

<i>Decaisnina brittenii</i> Species of epiphyte

Decaisnina brittenii is a species of flowering plant, an epiphytic hemiparasitic plant of the family Loranthaceae native to the Northern Territory, Queensland and northern Western Australia.

<i>Characteres generum plantarum</i> Book by Johann Reinhold Forster and Georg Forster

Characteres generum plantarum is a 1775/1776 book by Johann Reinhold Forster and Georg Forster about the botanical discoveries they made during the second voyage of James Cook. The book, which contains 78 plates, introduced 94 binomial names from 75 genera, of which 43 are still the accepted names today.

<i>A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas</i> 1773 book about the first voyage of James Cook

A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty's ship, the Endeavour is a 1773 book based on the papers of Sydney Parkinson, who accompanied Joseph Banks as botanical illustrator on the first voyage of James Cook. Parkinson died at sea in 1771 on the return voyage, and the Journal was compiled by William Kenrick for Parkinson's brother Stanfield, who quarrelled with Banks about his brother's papers and belongings and attacked Banks and others in the book's preface. A legal injunction prevented the publication of the Journal until after the official account of Cook's voyage, edited by John Hawkesworth, had appeared. A second edition appeared in 1784 with explanatory remarks by John Fothergill.


  1. 1 2 3 Gilbert, L. A. (1967). "Solander, Daniel (1733 - 1782)". Australian Dictionary of Biography . Vol. 2. Melbourne University Press. ISSN   1833-7538 . Retrieved 25 February 2010 via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  2. "Fellow Details". The Royal Society. 2019. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  3. Digital Collection, National Library of Australia
  4. Catalogue, National Library of Australia, accessed February 2010
  5. "Primitiae Florae Novae Zelandiae [First Fruits of the Flora of New Zealand]". Celebrating Botany (1924-2014). University of Otago. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  6. "Topic: Banks' Florilegium". Museum of New Zealand: Te Papa Tongarewa. Museum of New Zealand. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  7. Chambers, Neil, ed. (2000). The Letters of Sir Joseph Banks: A Selection, 1768-1820. London: Imperial College Press. p. 81. ISBN   1860942040.
  8. Barker, R. M.; Barker, W. R. (1990). "Botanical contributions overlooked: the role and recognition of collectors, horticulturists, explorers and others in the early documentation of the Australian flora". In Short, P. S. (ed.). History of systematic botany in Australia. Australian Systematic Botany Society. pp. 37–86. ISBN   0-7316-8463-X.
  9. "Daniel Solander Library". Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  10. "Solander Science Park website". Archived from the original on 8 February 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  11. IPNI.  Sol.

Further reading