Alexander Brown was a ship's surgeon to the Honourable (English) East India Company. He collected plants in India, Spain, Arabia, and at the Cape of Good Hope (during 1692-1698), and built up a vast herbarium of East Indian plants. He presented specimens to Plukenet, Petiver, and Charles du Bois, treasurer to the H.E.I.C., and collections by him ended up in the herbarium of the British Museum and at Oxford. He is credited with collecting several new species.
Plants collected by Brown, J. Hartog*, J. Heurnius* and B. Oldenland* were described in a thesis, Plantae rariores africanae by J. Printz, under the promotorship of Linnaeus, in 1760. Linnaeus named the genus Brunia after Brown.