His real name was E. H. Wilson, and he was one of the great "Plant Explorers" around the turn of the last century. Dr. Wilson was sent to the Orient to "discover" new plants, and sent back thousands of them to England, and then later to the US, since he worked for Boston's Arnold Arboretum later in life. His nickname "Chinese" was obviously because he was the champ for sending plants home from China. His most famous "discovery" was the famous Regal Lily, Lilium regale, (see photo) one that's so beautiful in the wild form it's still a worldwide favorite even today. For Wilson's story and many more, visit a great new site I've found: PlantExplorers.com. And who exactly was Erasmus Darwin? Yes, Erasmus, not Charles. You have to go to PlantExplorers.com to find out. Enjoy!
January 4, 2005.