Laurent Garcin (ca. 1681–1751), a Dutch East India Company ship's surgeon, Fellow of the Royal Society and corresponding member of the Académie royale des sciences (Paris), has largely vanished from the annals of botanical and medical science. Yet data presented in this article demonstrate that ca. 1740 he gave some or all of his plant collections from his Asian travels in the 1720s to J. Burman, a correspondent in Amsterdam. Those collections in turn greatly enriched Flora Indica by N. Burman (hereafter Burman fil.) to the tune of 98 specimens. Burman's work is an important historical source for the botany not only of modern-day India, as the title suggests, but also of Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Iran—the “Indies” as they were understood in the eighteenth century. So far only a handful of Garcin's specimens have come to light (G-Burman). These few extant specimens testify to Garcin's collecting zeal and keen eye for materia medica.
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Vol. 21 • No. 1