S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Wolley-Dod, Major Anthony Hurt (botany)

Born: 17 November 1861, Eton College, Buckinghamshire, England.
Died: 21 June 1948, Mayfield, Surrey, England.

Anthony H. Wolley-Dod, soldier and amateur botanist, was the son of Reverend Charles Wolley-Dod, a master at Eton College. In 1879 he entered the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich (near London) and was commissioned in the Royal Artillery in February 1881. He was promoted to captain in 1889 and retired with the rank of major in 1901. During the eighteen-nineties he started collecting plants in the neighbourhood of Woolwich and published a number of papers on the flora of Kent, Cheshire, and other parts of England.

Wolley-Dod was posted to the Cape as assistant inspector in the Ordnance Department from 1896 to 1898. During this time he wrote a Reconnaissance report on the lines of advance through the Orange Free State. Part II (London, 1897), for the Intelligence Division of the War Office, presumably as part of the British preparations for the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). He also collected about 2000 plants, mainly on the Cape Peninsula, in collaboration with Harry Bolus*. One of his discoveries near Simon's Town was a small shrub of the family Bruniaceae, popularly known as Diamond eyes, which was named Staavia dodii by Bolus and was illustrated by J.D. Hooker* in Icones Plantarum (1898). Its habitat is now confined to one small part of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. He also collected some new species of the genus Crassula, which were described by S. Schonland* and E.G. Baker* in the Journal of Botany (1898). The species Erica dodii was named after him by F. Guthrie* and Bolus, while Serruria dodii, Ehrharta dodii and Pelargonium dodii also commemorate him. Most of his specimens are in the herbarium at Kew Gardens, in the British Natural History Museum, and the Bolus Herbarium at the University of Cape Town. In the preface to Volume 7 of the Flora Capensis (1897-1900) William T. Thiselton-Dyer* acknowledged a large collection of plants from the Cape Peninsula presented to Kew Gardens by Wolley-Dod, which contained unexpectedly many new species. After his return to England Wolley-Dod reported on "New Cape plants" in the Journal of botany (1900). Later Bolus and he published "A list of the flowering plants and ferns of the Cape Peninsula" in the Transactions of the South African Philosophical Society (1903, Vol. 14, pp. 207-373). At the time this paper was the most thorough review of the flora of any region in South Africa.

Back in England Wolley-Dod became an authority on the identification and classification of British roses and published The British roses (London, 1910, 141 p), The roses of Britain (London, 1924, 112 p), and "A revision of the British roses" (Journal of Botany, 1930-1931). While in Gibraltar during 1913-1914 he again collected plants and published A flora of Gibraltar and the neighbourhood (London, 1914, 131p). During World War I (1914-1918) he served with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. In 1921 he collected plants in California and later edited the Flora of Sussex (Hastings, 1937, 571 p).

List of sources:
Gunn, M. and Codd, L.E. Botanical exploration of southern Africa. Cape Town: Balkema, 1981.

National Union Catalogue, pre-1956 imprints. London: Mansell, 1968-1980.

Royal Society of London. Catalogue of scientific papers[1800-1900]. London: Royal Society, 1867-1925.

South African bibliography to the year 1925. London: Mansell, 1979.

Standard encyclopaedia of southern Africa (SESA). Cape Town: NASOU, 1970-1976.

Summaries of some recent botanical and zoological papers referring to South Africa. Transactions of the South African Philosophical Society, 1902, Vol. 11(4), pp. 383-418.

Thiselton-Dyer, W.T. (ed.) Flora Capensis(Vol. 7, Preface). London: Lowell Reeve, 1897-1900.

Compiled by: C. Plug