Nicol Alexander Dalzell

Nicol (or Nicholas) Alexander Dalzell FRSE FLS (21 April 1817 – January 1878) was a Scottish botanist.[1] He was one of the first persons to form the link between forest denudation and the impact of rainfall upon the wider countryside.


Born in Edinburgh, Scotland,[2] his early education was at the High School in Edinburgh.

Dalzell studied divinity (rather than botany) at university, under Rev Thomas Chalmers, and received an M.A. at the University of Edinburgh in 1837.[1] He served as the assistant commissioner of customs in Bombay, India in 1841, and later that year became conservator of forests in Bombay.[1] He ended as superintendent of the Botanical Gardens in Bombay. He published The Bombay Flora (1861), and other works on Indian botany, and retired in 1870.[1]

In 1862 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh his proposer being John Hutton Balfour.[3]

He retired in 1870 due to the ongoing effects of malaria and returned to Scotland.

He died in Edinburgh in January 1878, leaving a widow (Emily Harriet Duthy) and six children, including Pultency William Dalzell.[4]


A number of plant species are named for him, such as the grass, I. dalzelli.[5]


The standard author abbreviation Dalzell is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name.[6]

  • Nicol Alexander Dalzell; Alexander Gibson (1861). The Bombay Flora: Or, Short Descriptions of All the Indigenous Plants Hitherto Discovered in Or Near the Bombay Presidency : Together with a Supplement of Introduced and Naturalised Species. Education Society's Press.


  1. ^ a b c d Hunt, Robert (1888). "Dalzell, Nicol Alexander" . In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 13. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  2. ^ Botanical Society of Edinburgh, Annual Report and Proceedings of the Botanical Society: 1836/37 (1840), Session 1837-8, p. 7.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Umberto Quattrocchi, CRC World Dictionary of Grasses (2006), p. 1130.
  6. ^ IPNI.  Dalzell.


External linksEdit

Works by Nicol Alexander Dalzell at Open Library