Copy of 人物 — 查理·約瑟夫·布蘭.jpg

Charles Joseph Braine
(1814 – 1890)

  • Merchant

  • Period of stay in Hong Kong: 1841–1850

  • Interest in natural history:
    Botany, ferns and orchids

The Horticulturalist of
Lan Kwai Fong


Among the new species discovered by Eyre, the most notable is Hong Kong Camellia. It is a shrub with raspberry red flowers, about 5cm in diameter, and is the only species with red flowers among Hong Kong's native camellias. It was first discovered by Eyre in 1849 at Victoria Peak where he found only three of them in a ravine. The following year, Seemann brought the collected specimens to Kew, where they were confirmed as a species new to science and named Camellia hongkongensis in 1859. After years of conservation, Hong Kong Camellia can now be found on the Peak, Pokfulam, and Mount Parker, though it is still considered an endangered species. 


A painting of Green Bank

In The Cree Journals: The Voyages of Edward H. Cree, Surgeon R.N. as Related in his Private Journals 1837–1856 

By Edward H. Cree and edited by Michael Levien

The University of Hong Kong Libraries Collection

Excerpt of Journey to the Tea Countries of China (1852)

By Robert Fortune

The first chapter of the book describes the plants in various areas of Green Bank. Fortune had once proposed to the Hong Kong Government to plant trees on Hong Kong Island. Trees planted in Green Bank, including Chinese Banyan and India-rubber Tree, later became common throughout Hong Kong. Fortune was commissioned by The British East India Company to smuggle tea plants from China to British India. 

Replica of The Flora of Green Bank Hong Kong (1848)

Botanical watercolour (31.8 x 21.7 cm), 1848
© Peter and Renate Nahum

There are 35 botanical paintings that depict the flowers at Green Bank. The source of these paintings remains unknown, but they are presumably commissioned by the Horticultural Society of London as a token of appreciation to Braine. Bamboo Orchid (No. 12) and Susan Orchid (No. 16) are two native orchids in Hong Kong, which Fortune once recalled seeing on Orchid Walk. The Blood-red Melastoma (No. 20) is also native to Hong Kong, commonly found in the wild.