Thursday, 13 September 2012

View into Hove

Following Ian Fraser's recent post about the naming of Hardenbergia violacea
I felt it might be interesting to give a little airtime to another purple member of the family Fabaceae currently very evident around El Rancho Carwoola.  This is Hovea heterophylla.
To my surprise the colours of the two plants have been reproduced quite well in these images, at least in relative terms.

While Hardenbergia is usually encountered straggling along the ground (hence one of its vernacular names 'Happy Wanderer') Hovea tends to go up for sunlight.
What got me interested was a note at the bottom of the Wikipedia page about Hovea that "The genus name honours Anton Pantaleon Hove, a Polish plant collector."  That information is also given in the  hardcopy book "Wildflowers of the Bush Capital" by Ian Fraser and Margaret McJannett.  However that is the only reference to Dr Hove in Wikipedia.  So I googled him and got some interesting results.

His collecting dates are given in JSTOR as 1785 -96.  His "life dates" are given as fl.1785-98 which initially flummoxed me as I had no idea how to interpret the fl..  Fortunately a Google for 'fl. abbreviation' provided the following:
" fl. is an abbreviation of the Latin verb "floruit", meaning "he flourished". (Presumably "she" may also have flourished.) You'll most likely run across fl. in biographical information on artists long dead. These two handy letters denote the date of Whomever's high water mark, career-wise, because we have records of when paintings and sculptures were executed -- even if we don't have a clue as to the artist's date of birth." 
Although that definition is from art history - who said studying art had no practical application? - it seems to fit this circumstance. 

Hove was associated with Banks and did some work at least for the British Museum.  This links into the next Google hit which details a book 'Expedition to India' by Anton Pantaleon Hove.  The entry includes 

" Guardbook of correspondence and papers relating to the expedition to India of the Polish botanist Anton Pantaleon Hove (fl. 1785-1829). Hove was sent by the Council for Trade and Plantations, under the presidency of Charles Jenkinson, 1st Baron Hawkesbury (1727-1808), with orders to follow Banks' instructions. Correspondents include A P Hove, Lord Hawkesbury, Alexander Anderson (d. 1811), Superintendent of the Botanic Garden on St Vincent, and Helenus Scott (1760-1821), EIC surgeon in Bombay."  
Note that this confirms the link to Banks, but extends his working career (if that is a reasonable interpretation of 'flourishing) by 33 years compared to JSTOR!  A site at Harvard gives the 'last date collected' for Hove as 1829 suggesting that

  1. Hove was still active in that year; and
  2. the determination of the end date for a 'fl' period is a tad rubbery.

I will assume - unless I can find otherwise - that 1785-98 is the period when he was travelling overseas  and that he actually died in 1829.  It would be nice to think he spent his sunset years in luxury but I suspect it was actually getting over the nasty diseases and malnutrition acquired in his travels.

In terms if his achievements, Hove is noted in a site about mangosteens
"... the first introduction of the mangosteen in the UK goes back to someone named Anton Pantaleon Hove. A. P. Hove (alternately Hoveau) was a Pole dispatched by Sir Joseph Banks to go and try to 'obtain' some better strains of cotton seeds from Gujarat, India. Apparently amongst his procurements were mangosteen plants that made it back to Plymouth, England in 1789 ..."
Hove didn't forget his main task was cotton.  A History of the UK cotton trade refers to him sending back regular shipments of cotton seeds.  When he returned he brought back 20 varieties of seeds.

I have found other entries in JSTOR referring to him collecting 'type specimens' in countries in Africa - specifically Ghana - as well as India. 

An interesting Australian connection is that Hove was the botanist of a voyage to Namibia assessing the suitability of 'Das Voltas' in that country as a penal colony following America becoming unavailable for that purpose,  The other contending site for the colony was Botany Bay!


Ian Fraser said...

Fascinating stuff thanks Martin - further into Hove than I'd ever delved.

Flabmeister said...

I have a suspicion that this could become an obsession. Where was he born? Where did he study? What did he do when he stopped travelling? etc etc .


Denis Wilson said...

Hi Martin.
The concept of "fl." worries me.
How will "My Brilliant Career" be determined?
As a Blogger?
As a disenchanted voter?
As a once potentially great Public Servant (until I saw the light).
As a Clerical student?
Totally different "fl." dates.
Interesting to think about Banks (and Hove's) roles as industrial pirates - taking commercially valuable plants from one British Colony to another.
Fascinating stuff you have delved into there.

Flabmeister said...

I am not sure about compartmentalising your flourishness.

With a call about "My Brilliant Career" your period of fl. must include your time bird-banding in the Brindabellas. As I know you are still hanging out with banders, that link is still active.

In the meantime you are a flourishing orchidist which will surely continue.

There is thus a period of overlap so that the entirety of Denis becomes one simple flourish!


Anonymous said...

I think Hovea, Hoves Rock to the north of Wellington and Mt Hove which is now Mt Monundilla were all named by Allan Cunningham,
Elvin A

Anonymous said...

A notice in both Latin and Polish, of a sanity hearing in London of 'Joanna' Howe, widow of Antonius Pantaleon Howe appears in the fourth page of the 25 Nov. 1837 issue of 'Gazeta Krakowska.' It says that Howe died in Bath in January of 1830.
A Google search for "antonii pantaleon howe" will bring up the link to the 'Gazeta' on the Jagiellonian Digital Library website.
Jane Howe, widow of Antoni Pantaleon Howe appears in the obituaies in 'The Gentleman's Magazine', October 1841 (page 442).