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Alfred Prentice Young (1841–1919), an overlooked plant collector in India, and description of the new species, Commelina youngii (Commelinaceae)


The life and work of geologist and botanist Alfred Prentice Young (1841–1919) are outlined. His collection of plants from Western India, Kashmir and Pakistan (1878–1881) was given to the Natural History Museum, London (BM) in 1884. Details of his botanical collections and new taxa based on them are provided, and a new species, Commelina youngii, is described.

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This research was carried out as a part of an in-house project funded by the Pirojsha Godrej Foundation and I thank Vijay Crishna, Director, Naoroji Godrej Centre for Plant Research (NGCPR) for the institutional support. I thank Dr. Henry Noltie at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (E) for his numerous comments and precise editing of the final draft, and two anonymous reviewers (particulary the reviwer at BM for drawing my attention to Young’s Ph.D. thesis and obituary by Spencer) for their suggestions to improve the text. At the Natural History Museum, London (BM) I am grateful to Dr. Norbert Holstein for his help and for arranging to digitise the specimen, and Ranee Prakash for her generous help during my visit. I extend my thanks to authorities at BM, BSI, CAL, K and MH for their permission to consult the Indian Commelinaceae collection and L for making their Alfred Young collections available online. I also thank Colleen Slater (Family Genealogist, Regina, Saskatchewan) for her help in identifying Young’s remaining family and Francesca Hillier (Senior Archivist, British Museum Archive) for her assistance in finding the donation records.

Websources used

Harvard Index of Botanists:

Index Herbariorum:

Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, Leiden:

Natural History Museum (2014). Dataset: Collection specimens. Resource: Specimens. Natural History Museum Data Portal (

Taxonomic Literature II:

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Correspondence to Mayur Dhondiram Nandikar.

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Nandikar, M.D. Alfred Prentice Young (1841–1919), an overlooked plant collector in India, and description of the new species, Commelina youngii (Commelinaceae). Brittonia 73, 178–188 (2021).

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