Rhododendrons in Nepal, from Joseph Hooker, Himalayan Journals, 1854.

53. Hooker, Joseph Dalton, Sir (1817-1911).
Himalayan Journals. London: J. Murray, 1854.

Joseph Hooker became Darwin’s best friend.  Hooker was a botanist, the son of William Hooker, the Director of Kew Gardens. The two met in 1839, when Joseph was heading out on his scientific voyage to Antarctica on HMS Erebus, and when Hooker returned in 1843, the two struck up a correspondence.  It was Hooker who wrote Darwin in 1845 and said that no one should write about species who has not classified thousands, perhaps sending Darwin down the long barnacle road.  Hooker then headed off to the Himalayas, writing to Darwin all the while, and sending back specimens and seeds from Nepal, including a variety of rhodendrons, which thrived in Kew Gardens and spread from there to the rest of the Western world.

Campsite in the Himalayas, from Joseph Hooker,
Himalayan Journals
, 1854.
Linda hall Library