Dr John Hope

Rhubarb, rhubarb. It's easy to forget that many plants have had to be deliberately introduced into a country. John Hope, born in Edinburgh, introduced rhubard to the unsuspecting Scottish public. He studied botany in Paris, before graduating in medicine at Glasgow University. Returning to Edinburgh, he became a member of the Royal College of Physicians and began to practise medicine.

From 1761 he took on the joint appointments of Professor of Botany and material medica at the University, as well as being King's Botanist and Superintendent at the Royal Botanic Gardens. He became well known in both experimental and field botany and was an early supporter of the Linnaean system of classification.

A fine teacher, one of his pupils, William Roxburgh, later named an important tree genus Hopea in his honour. Hope died in 1786.