WE notice with regret the death, at the age of sixty-eight, of Mr. James M‘Nab, the well-known curator of the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden. Mr. M‘Nab's, father was also curator of the Edinburgh Botanic Garden, where the son was trained. In 1834 Mr. M‘Nab paid a visit to the United States and Canada, the fruits of which appeared in a variety of contributions, descriptive of the more interesting plants found during the journey, in the Edinburgh Philosophical Journal for 1835, and in the Transactions of that period of the Edinburgh Botanical Society. On the death of his father, in December, 1848, after thirty-eight years' superintendence of the Botanic Garden, Mr. M‘Nab was promoted by the Regius Professor (Dr. Balfour) to the responsible post thus vacated. The extent of the Garden at that time was not more than fourteen imperial acres. Ten years later, however, two acres were added on the west side, which were laid out and planted by Mr. M‘Nab, under the superintendence of Prof. Balfour. After the lapse of five more years the Experimental Garden, extending to ten acres, was thrown into the Botanic Garden, and planted with conifers and other kinds of evergreens. On a portion of the ground so acquired a Rock Garden was, on the suggestion of Mr. M‘Nab, begun towards the end of 1860. The Rockery has now upwards of 5,442 “compartments” for the cultivation of Alpine and dwarf herbaceous plants, and is yearly being added to; while of late years portions of the southern slopes have been set apart for the rearing of bulbous and other plants, whose roots require to be well ripened before flowering. Mr. M‘Nab was a frequent contributor to horticultural and other magazines, his writings including papers, not only on botanical subjects, but on vegetable climatology, landscape gardening, and arboriculture. One of the original members of the Edinburgh Botanical Society, founded in 1836, he was a voluminous writer in its Transactions; and in 1872 he was elected to the presidency of the society—a position rarely held by a practical gardener. In November of the following year Mr. M‘Nab delivered his presidential address on “The Effects of Climate during the last Half-Century with Reference to the Cultivation of Plants in the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh and elsewhere in Scotland” a paper which excited a good deal of discussion at the time, the writer having adduced facts with the view of showing that a change in our climate had taken place during the period in question. Mr. M‘Nab also contributed to the Society a monthly report on thermometrical readings and progress of open-air vegetation in the Botanic Garden, which was highly valued, alike by horticulturists and meteorologists, for the practical information it conveyed. Prof. M‘Nab, of the Royal College of Science, Dublin, is a son of the late Mr. M‘Nab.

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    Notes . Nature 19, 84–87 (1878).

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