Today is the anniversary of the tragic death of the Canadian botanist Charles Budd Robinson who died on this day in 1913.
After receiving his doctorate, Charles had spent five years working at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG). His time at the Botanic Garden gave him the experience necessary to become an economic botanist with the Bureau of Science in Manila.
On this day in 1913, Charles left on an expedition to modern-day Ambon - an island in Indonesia. Setting out alone, Robinson spied a boy in a tree gathering coconuts, and he followed him to his village. The boy was alarmed to see a strangely dressed and ominous-looking European alone on the island, and the villagers were worried that Charles was a headhunter - a danger they had heard about through rumors but couldn't verify.
Overcome by the fear they were about to be beheaded, five members of the village, including the chief, killed Robinson and weighed his body down in the sea.
Robinson's death was a shock to the island nation, who had managed to make some connections in more populated areas as "Doctor Flower." His death serves as a reminder to us of the dangers faced by Plant Explorers who often had to overcome language barriers and cultural misunderstandings.