Paul Bamps (6 February 1932 – 28 February 2019)
Paul Bamps, formerly department head of the National Botanic Garden of Belgium (now Meise Botanic Garden), passed away on 28 February 2019, aged 87.
After graduating as an agricultural engineer at the Université Catholique de Louvain, in 1957 Bamps travelled to what was then the Belgian Congo, where he worked at the INEAC research stations Nioka and Yangambi. Upon the country’s independence, he returned to Belgium and was within a few years appointed as a scientific collaborator in the Botanic Garden’s herbarium.
His scientific contributions on the flora of Central Africa resulted in over 100 publications. Bamps also initiated the ‘Distributiones Plantarum Africanarum’, became Editor-in-Chief of the 'Flore d'Afrique Centrale', and compiled a botanical gazetteer for Central Africa.
After his retirement in 1997, Bamps continued to work in the herbarium, and was always willing to share his vast knowledge with visitors and colleagues.
Although Bamps never touched a computer, his exceptionally accurate work helped to make our African herbarium one of the best organised herbaria in the world, and contributed to the success of the current herbarium digitisation project (http://www.botanicalcollections.be).
Bamps collected more than 7,000 herbarium specimens from all over the world, and described 56 new species. There are 25 species of vascular plants named in dedication to him. His contribution to botany will live on for many generations.