William Graham McIvor

William Graham McIvor (1824 - 8 June 1876) was a Scottish gardener and superintendent of the Neilgherry Cinchona plantations in Ootacamund, India who was responsible for the successful introduction of cinchona plants in the Nilgiris in the 1860s.

Drawing of the Cinchona plantations from Illustrated London News 6 December 1862. Sir William Denison sits with W.G. McIvor to his left (with a spade in his left hand and hat in right).
Tomb of McIvor at Ootacamund with relief showing Cinchona plants

McIvor was born in Dollar in Scotland where his father John had settled after working to establish a nursery garden at Crieff. McIvor trained in horticulture and arboriculture and worked at Kew before taking up in 1848, a position in southern India as superintendent of the yet to be established Ootacamund botanical garden. At Kew, McIvor took an interest in bryophytes and published a pocket herbarium of British hepatics in 1847. He established the botanical garden at Ootacamund and worked there until his death. He married Anne, eldest daughter of Colonel Edwards of Iscoed, Denbighshire on 31 May 1850.[1][2] McIvor received cinchona plants in 1861 that had been brought from South America by Clements Markham. The first set of plants died but later batches consisting of other species (especially Cinchona succirubra) did well.[3] McIvor found that removing strips of barks and allowing them to heal by covering them in moss improved the sustainability of harvesting bark from the trees.[4]

McIvor ran into troubles with the Madras Government on handling a subordinate who was given to drinking. He also faced labour shortages which were for a while solved by importing Chinese convicts from the Straits Settlements. The labour situation eased in 1877 due to the famine in the plains and an influx into the Niligiris.[5]

Memorial tablet to Anne McIvor at Ooty

His funeral was attended by most government officers and among those present included Colonel R. H. Beddome.[2]

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


  1. ^ Account of The Clan-Iver. Aberdeen. 1873. p. 108.
  2. ^ a b Anonymous (1876). "Obituary". The Gardeners' Chronicle. 6: 150.
  3. ^ King, George (1880). A manual of Cinchona cultivation in India (2 ed.). Calcutta: Government Press. pp. 16–27.
  4. ^ Van Gorkom, Karel Wessel (1889). A handbook of Cinchona culture. London: Trubner & Co. p. 114.
  5. ^ Veale, Lucy (2010). An historical geography of the Nilgiri cinchona plantations, 1860-1900 (PhD). University of Nottingham.
  6. ^ IPNI.  McIvor.

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