BENTHAM, George (1800-1884); and Henry Fletcher HANCE (1827-1886)
Flora Hongkongensis: A Description of the Flowering Plants and Ferns of the Island of Hong Kong ... [Bound with:] Flora Hongkongensis ... A Compendious Supplement to Mr. Bentham's Description of the Plants of the Island of Hong Kong ... Extracted from the Linnaen Society's Journal
London: Lovell Reeve, 1861; [London: Linnaen Society, 1872]. 2 volumes in one, 8vo. (8 x 5 1/8 inches). -20*, 51, , 482pp., plus folding map; , -144pp. Reader's annotations; a few margins strengthened.
Contemporary half green morocco over green cloth covered boards, spine with raised bands in five compartments, tooled on either side of each band and lettered in the center three compartments, marbled endpaper and edges
The first comprehensive flora on any part of China and Hong Kong, bound with the separately-issued supplement.
Bentham donated his impressive herbarium to the Royal Botanic Gardens in 1854, and shortly thereafter, with the sanction of the British Government, began preparing a series of flora of the indigenous plants of British colonies and possessions, beginning with the present work. "Bentham had made use of all the botanical materials then known from Hong Kong. In the determination of the plants he was aided by several distinguished botanists: Dr. J. Lindley, Sir W. J. Hooker, Dr. J. D. Hooker, Colonel Munro, Prof. . Oliver. Dr. Boott and others ... This remarkable book exhibits on every page the vast botanical knowledge of the author and serves as a model for accurate characteristic and at the same time popular descriptions of plants" (Bretschneider). In his work, Bentham identifies 1056 species of flowering plants, of which approximately 1000 were native. His monumental work is very rare. We know of only the Plesch copy selling at auction in the last forty years.
Plesch sale 48; Pritzel 625; Bretschneider, History of European Botanical Discoveries in Asia, pp. 401-403.