S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Allison, Mr Martinus Stuart (geomorphology, plant collection)

Born: 1869, South Africa.
Died: 1901, South Africa.

Martinus Stuart ('Tutsie') Allison (or Alison), son of Captain Albert Bidden Allison, a magistrate, grew up on his father's farm "Rosenstein" near Oliviershoek Pass in the Drakensberg of KwaZulu-Natal. He collected plants in that area and about 70 species collected by him are in the herbarium of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, near London. He is commemorated in the names of the orchid species Brachycorythis allisonii and Eulophia allisonii.

In 1898, under the name Alison, he contributed a paper, "On the origin and formation of pans", to the Transactions of the Geological Society of South Africa (Vol. 4(7), pp. 159-161), in which he ascribed the origin of pans to animal trampling near water holes. His views were commented upon by August Prister* and David Draper* (pp. 167-170), with Draper supporting Allison's hypothesis particularly for pans formed on Karoo strata. Allison was a member of the Geological Society of South Africa at this time, his address being "Witkoppie", Rietfontein Station (presumably in Johannesburg). He died in action during the Anglo-Boer War.

List of sources:
Geological Society of South Africa. Transactions, 1898-9, Vol. 4.

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

The eponym dictionary of southern African plants. www.calflora.net/southafrica/1A-B.html

Compiled by: C. Plug