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Arnold Arboretum

Ernest Henry Wilson’s photographs

These 14 images, with their original captions, were the first glass plate negatives by Arnold Arboretum plant explorer Ernest Henry Wilson to be digitized through a grant from Harvard University. The Arboretum holds more than 4,500 photographs that document the flora, landscapes, culture of eastern Asia, now cataloged on VIA, Harvard’s Visual Image Catalog.

The photographs below link to their corresponding holdings records in VIA, which include large interactive image files.

First expedition 1907-1909

Ficus lacor Ficus lacor
Ficus lacor
Ficus lacor Hamilton. Wan Hsien, Yangtsze River, China. Height 50 ft. Circumference 15 ft. Head 90 ft. through.
April 1, 1908
Ficus lacor
Ficus lacor Hamilton. Near Feng-tu Hsein, Yangtsze River, Western Szechuan, China. Height 40 ft. Circumference 12 ft. Head 60 ft. through. With wayside shrine and opium poppy.
April 6, 1908
N.E. of Tachien-lu Tachien-lu river
China – N.E. of Tachien-lu
View of snow-clad peaks (21,000 ft. or more), of the Ta-p’ao-shan range from the foot of pass. N.E. of Tachien-lu. Altitude 13,500 ft.
July 7, 1908
China – Tachien-lu river
Western Szechuan. View in ravine of the Tachien-lu river. This stream falls 4,000 ft. in less than 20 miles! Altitude 6,000 ft.
July 30, 1908
Tea Carriers Diospyrus lotus
China – Tea Carriers
Western Szechuan. Men laden with “Brick Tea” for Thibet. One man’s load weighs 317 lbs. avoird. the other’s 298 lbs. avoird.! Men carry this tea as far as Tachien-lu accomplishing about six miles per day over vile roads. Altitude 5,000 ft.
July 30, 1908
Diospyrus lotus
Diospyrus lotus Linn. Foot of Fei-Yueh-ling, ching Chi Hsien, W. Szechuan, China. Height 80 ft. Circum. 12 ft. Altitude 5000 ft.
August 3, 1908
"Pai-lu" memorial arch Chentu City Ching Yang Temple
China – “Pai-lu” memorial arch
Western Szechuan. “Pai-lu” memorial arch to the memory of a virtuous widow—a common wayside feature in the west. Near Kuing-Chou. Altitude 2,000 ft.
August 8, 1908
China – Chentu City Ching Yang Temple
China – Chentu Ching Yang Temple. Pavillion with ornate pillars and trunks of Cypressus funebris Endl. Altitude 1700 ft.
August 18, 1908
Chentu City Ormosia Hosiei
China – Chentu City
China – Chentu Fu. Typical lane in Tartar City. Altitude 1700 ft.
August 22, 1908
Ormosia Hosiei
Ormosia Hosiei Hemsl. & E.H. Wils. (Hung-tou-shu). Tree 60 ft. X 20 ft. the original tree on which the species is based. Near Chentu City, China. Altitude 1,800 ft.
November 11, 1908

Second expedition 1910-1911

Yungyang Hsien Pa-chou
China – Yungyang Hsien
Eastern Szechuan. “A study in architecture.” Castle of rich family named T’ao. Woods of Pinus Massoniana Lamb. behind. Yungyang Hsien. Altitude 3,000 ft.
July 2, 1910
China – Pa-chou
Sandstone bridge with Cypress. Bamboo and Pistacia chinensis Bunge. Pa-chou. Altitude 2,100 ft.
July 14, 1910
Pistacia chinensis Shih-chuan Hsien suspension bridge
Pistacia chinensis
Pistacia chinensis Bunge. A magnificent wayside specimen 60 ft. high, 18 ft. girth. Note buttressed roots and protuberances. Pao-ning Fu, China.
Altitude 2,000 ft.
July 19, 1910
China – Shih-chuan Hsien suspension bridge
Western Szechuan. Showing structure of Bamboo suspension bridge, laid on 8 cables each a foot in diameter and suspended from two similar cables on either side. Floor of rough wicker work. Shih-chuan Hsien. Altitude 2,700 ft.
August 12, 1910
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