The career and achievements of Nathaniel Wallich were deeply influenced by his habitats and time. Notwithstanding the contributions of Denmark & Serampore to Wallich’s career, he exercised very little voluntary choice in the selection of his first two habitats. In direct contrast he voluntarily selected and actively worked to secure his next two habitats. He used official positions, social benchmarks, travel, networking, publication and service to British East India Company to establish his place in the scientific (read non medical) world of the 19th century Calcutta & London. So successful were his endeavors, that he served as Professor of Botany in Calcutta Medical College and later as vice president of both the Linnaean & Royal Societies in London. Yet there remain discordant notes in his career that easily lend themselves to less than objective evaluation. His original letters put online by Kew Garden are central to a fresh appraisal.
Keywords Nathaniel Wallich, Botany, Denmark, Serampore, Calcutta, London