Francis Kingdon-Ward

Jungle Botanist

 On this day in 1942, the newspaper in Spokane Washington had a headline that said: Noted Botanist Crosses Jungle (Takes Long Mule Route Through Tibet to Get a Few Flowers.)
The article was about the botanist Francis Kingdon-Ward who had just arrived in New Delhi after a 500 hundred mile walk over mountains and through jungles to avoid the Japanese invaders of Burma.
The article said this:

"A thin, wiry little man in his 50s, Captain Kingdon-Ward...decided that the Japanese were getting too close for comfort, so he loaded two 60-pound bags of rice on two mules... But instead of taking the short road through the Chaukan pass, [he] decided to travel the 500-mile mule trail through Tibet... He thought he might find some useful military information during his trip [and] 'besides, there is always a chance of finding some rare wildflowers on this route.'
[Kingdon-Ward tramped] knee-deep in the snow [and] crossed the Himalayas at the 14,500-foot pass....
[He said] "It was a pleasant walk and I collected some nice flowers....Your reward is in the finding of dazzling flowers never seen before. You know they may always blush unseen unless you manage to take them back and make them grow where others can admire them. They are a little bit of the enchantment of Asia transplanted into England or America. It is satisfaction enough if you can feel in an industrial age like the present that you have brought home a little beauty for others to enjoy."

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Francis Kingdon-Ward
Francis Kingdon-Ward

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