- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
- Online publication date: December 2014
- Print publication year: 2014
- Online ISBN: 9781107239180
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107239180
A Scottish doctor and botanist, George Watt (1851–1930) had studied the flora of India for more than a decade before he took on the task of compiling this monumental work. Assisted by numerous contributors, he set about organising vast amounts of information on India's commercial plants and produce, including scientific and vernacular names, properties, domestic and medical uses, trade statistics, and published sources. Watt hoped that the dictionary, 'though not a strictly scientific publication', would be found 'sufficiently accurate in its scientific details for all practical and commercial purposes'. First published in six volumes between 1889 and 1893, with an index volume completed in 1896, the whole work is now reissued in nine separate parts. Volume 5 (1891) contains entries from Linum (the flax genus) to oyster (the subcontinent's best oyster beds were to be found 'on the coast near Karachi, Bombay and Madras').