Study of Coco de Mer - Lodicea sechellarum
Illustration of the germinating nut, a snake twined around one of the trees and also a drawing of the cross section of the nut. The illustration includes hand written notes by Gordon on different aspects of the plant.
Major Charles George Gordon, (Charley Gordon and later Chinese Gordon') was one of the most celebrated soldiers and diplomats of the Victorian era. A somewhat eccentric character, Gladstone described him as a hero, and a "hero of heroes". His violent death at Khartoum was commemorated by George William Joy's painting General Gordon's Last Stand (1885). Sir Joseph Hooker enlisted Gordon's services in the collection of plants while Charles was appointed Governor of the Egyptian Equatorial Provinces. In 1881, Gordon went as Commanding Royal Engineer to Mauritius, and while visiting the Seychelles became interested in the Coco-de-mer. Specimens of both this tree and the breadfruit tree were sent by Gordon to Kew. In 1882 Gordon also sent an illustrated letter to Kew outlining the possibility of the Seychelles being the site of the Biblical Garden of Eden, also suggesting that the breadfruit tree was the Tree of Life and the Coc-de-Mer the Tree of Knowledge
© The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew