The Flora of Forfarshire (Scotland) is an emblematic botanical work by the Scottish botanist, William Gardiner (1809-1852), a poet and botanist, well known among the botanical establishment in 19th Century Europe. Born into a poor family with little schooling as a child and being an umbrella maker for a big part of his life, Gardiner pursued his passion for plants fostered by his father and uncle, which led him to take classes by night and to do extensive readings. Despite his humble pedigree, he eventually became so well regarded that by 1849 he was enrolled as an associate in the Linnaean Society of London. He developed a reputation as an expert field botanist and supplemented his income by collecting sets of plant on commission for numerous patrons. This proved so successful that in 1841 he became a full-time plant collector and later was able to publish three books, all of which were well received. The Flora of Forfarshire was published in 1848 and comprises 300+ pages of plants, fungi, lichens, and algae growing in Forfar (Angus) County, Scotland. To fund this project, Gardiner recruited patrons who were rewarded with folios of pressed samples of representative species, each with taxonomic and locality information. Most of these volumes no longer exist, but one of them is accessioned at the University of Texas Libraries, where it has been preserved in collaboration with the UT Plant Resources Center. Given the historical and botanical value of the Flora of Forfarshire, the present project was designed to curate and interpret this rare and wonderful book.

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