James Dickson

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James Dickson

James Dickson Short Bio

James J. Dickson (also appears as “Jacobus”) (1738, Traquair, Peebles – 1822) was a Scottish botanist, collector and mycologist.

The son of a prosperous horticulturist, Dickson made his own greenhouses in Perth, before moving to London to work in landscaping businesses in Kensington and Hammersmith.

In 1772, he opened his company of “plants and seeds” in Covent Garden, and became commercially linked with the horticulturist William Forsyth (1737 – 1804), who began to provide him with novelties.

He was particularly interested in mosses and other bryophytes, making numerous expeditions in Scotland, as well as in Hebrides.

He was a friend of botanist Joseph Banks (1743-1820), who gives him access to his botanical library, and gets him work in the garden of the British Museum. In 1786, his first wife dies, remarrying the sister of the explorer and colleague Mungo Park (1771 – 1806). Dickson introduces Park to Banks, who is going to sponsor Park’s expedition to West Africa in 1795.

In 1788 Dickson was co-founder of the Linnaean Society, and of the “Royal Horticultural Society” in 1804.

He retires to Croydon, where he will die in 1822.

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