The Economic Botany Collection, at London's wonderful Kew Gardens, houses an amazing assortment of botanical items from around the world. Many date from the Victorian period, when British colonial staff would send their discoveries back to England. There is a 'Plants & People' exhibition in the museum within Kew Gardens, but the bulk of the collection is in the nearby Joseph Banks building and open to the public by appointment only.
In July 2004 I had the pleasure of visiting the collection in order to view the preserved Microcitrus fruits sent from Australia in the 1890's.
Unfortunately, although I took several photos, their publication - even on this non-commercial web-site - is not permitted. Any published photos have to be taken by the official Kew photographer, so that copyright remains with Kew Gardens.
I have therefore prepared outline computer drawings, based on my photos, in order to give an impression of the items I saw.
If anyone is interested in seeing the original photos, please e-mail me and I will reply individually with the photos attached.
Fruits of Citrus inodora, Bail. described in the 3rd supplement to the Queensland Flora.The fruit attains a larger size than mentioned in that publication being fully three inches in length and somewhat resembling a small Lisbon Lemon with a flavour like that of a West Indian Lime.The fruit sent is from Harvey's Creek, N. Queensland.
J.M. Bailey Esq.
These are the four Microcitrus specimens from the collection. The three sealed glass jars contain fruit of the Fingerlime, Microcitrus australasica; the Round Lime, Microcitrus australis; and Microcitrus inodora, all preserved in spirit.
Interestingly, the australis and australasica labels were transposed. ( It's rather nice to be able to correct Kew!)
The small box contained dried Fingerlimes.
Fingerlimes - M. australasica
Round Limes, M. australis, about 1.5cms diameter.
Top view of jar of M. inodora fruit
I copied this text from the original 1895 entry in Kew's ledger of specimens entering the Economic Botany Collection.
F.M. Bailey (1827-1915) was the first botanist to describe and name Citrus inodora. Click here for a short biography of Bailey.
preserved in Kew Gardens' Economic Botany Collection
Note that the Australian native Microcitrus species, were originally classified as 'Citrus' and have recently been re-united back into that group. However, on this page, in order to distinguish them from the more common citrus, I have maintained the 'Microcitrus' terminology.
page created 22nd July 2004
One hunded and nine year old fruits!