Charles Daubeny

Jewel of the Desert

Today is the birthday of the 19th-century professor of botany at Oxford University — as well as a chemist and geologist — Charles Daubeny (dow-Ben-EE). The herbarium at Oxford is named in his honor, as is the Daubenya genus (dow-Ben-ya) in the Hyacinth family.
In 1835, the genus was described by the British botanist John Lindley. Lindley named it in honor of his peer, Charles Daubeny, in recognition of his experiments in vegetable chemistry, which improved our understanding of plant physiology.
Native to South Africa, up until 2000, Daubenya was thought to have a single species, Daubenya aurea or Golden Daubenya. But then, it was expanded by John Manning and Peter Goldblatt to include additional genera ("jeh·nr·uh"). These Hyacinth varieties, with the common name "Jewel of the Desert," - Daubenya - grow flat on the ground and have a single large red or yellow bloom. Growing only on the Roggeveld ("Rog-veld" Afrikaans for "rye field") mountain range in South Africa, Daubenya blooms every  September.

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Charles Daubeny
Charles Daubeny

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