Professor Christopher Donald Pigott (born 1928)[1] is a British botanist and was the fourth Director, Cambridge University Botanic Garden (1984–1995), succeeding Max Walters.[2]

Christopher Donald Pigott
EducationCambridge University
Known forBotany, Plant physiology, Tilia
Spouse(s)Sheila Megaw
Scientific career
InstitutionsCambridge University Botanic Garden, Cambridge University Botany School
InfluencesMax Walters


Donald Pigott was educated at Cambridge (1946–) where he was taught by two previous Directors, Humphrey Gilbert-Carter (1921–1950) and Max Walters (1973–1983). Forming a friendship with the latter he was persuaded to spend the summer of 1949 in Uppsala and Helsinki universities where he was impressed by the mapping of the Scandinavian flora and returned to work with Walters on similar projects for the British Isles and used this method in his PhD thesis on Thyme. Under Professor Harry Godwin he also worked on the design of the Botanic Garden's ecological mound.[2]

After leaving Cambridge he moved to Sheffield University as Lecturer in Botany.[3] He returned to Cambridge in 1984 to become Director of the Garden. On leaving Cambridge in 1995 he was succeeded by John Parker and was appointed to the chair in Biology at Lancaster University and subsequently as Emeritus professor. He married fellow Cambridge botanist Sheila Megaw with whom he collaborated.[2]


During Pigott's tenure as Director, the great storm of 1987 caused considerable damage to the Garden. In 1990 the University carried out a review which suggested the research aspects of the garden were of decreasing relevance as plant sciences shifted in emphasis from whole plant botany to the cellular and molecular level. Pigott vigorously and successfully defended the Garden's scientific value.[2]

Donald Pigott is known for his work on the genus Tilia (lime trees, Malvaceae), and is the botanical authority for several taxa in that genus, such as:[4]

  • Tilia amurensis subsp. taquetii (C.K. Schneid.) Pigott[5]
  • Tilia dasystyla subsp. caucasica (V.Engl.) Pigott

He also carried out a number of botanical expeditions with his wife and with Anthony Hall.[4]

Selected publicationsEdit

  • Pigott, Donald (2012). Lime-trees and basswood: a biological monograph of the genus Tilia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521840545.