Notebook of Chinese plants [in William Purdom’s hand]

Scope and Content

Hardback notebook containing names and notes about trees and shrubs, arranged loosely alphabetically by Latin name. Names and family appear to have been entered first and any further details added at a later date. Starts with Acanthopanax ricinifolium, Ailanthus glandulosa and Albizzia lebbek. Details provided vary but frequently include Chinese or Mongol name, common English name, ‘natural order’ [family] (eg Leguminosae, Cupuliferae), description (eg ‘Tree 10 to 15 ft high, 6 inches thick. Wood is heavy and brittle. Produces small yellow flowers in May’), description of place (eg ‘Tslingling mountains, S. Kiangsi and West Hupeh’), and use ‘A thorny tree, which is used in the feeding of silkworms in Kiating (Szechwan)’. Longer entries mostly relate to trees and the quality and uses of the wood they provide. Undated [c.1912-1921; references to uses of wood to furnish railway coaches and sleepers suggest the volume may date from Purdom’s period of employment by the Chinese Forest Service]