William Roxburgh was born at Underwood in the parish of Craigie, Ayrshire. He studied medicine in Edinburgh and was 17 years old ship's doctor on a ship of the East India Company. He graduated in this position until his 21 years two trips to the East. He also studied under John Hope (1725-1786) Botany in Edinburgh. After he had entered in 1776 as an assistant surgeon in the service of the Madras Medical Service, he went there in 1780 on the ship's doctor.
After he had taken a job in Madras, he turned his attention to botany. The East India Company recognized his botanical knowledge and made him overseer in 1781 Samalkot Garden in the Northern Circars (now Andhra Pradesh ). Here he carried out a number of agricultural botany experiments and presented local artists to draw the plants. In 1790 he had thus established 700 illustrations. He was successor to Patrick Russell (1727-1805) as a naturalist in the government of Madras. Through his progress, he quickly made a name for himself, so soon invited him to the Bengal government to be two heads of Calcutta Botanical Gardens in 1787 by Colonel Robert Kyd. In 1793 he replaced Colonel Robert Kyd from overseers and in 1814 a catalog of the garden under the name Hortus bengalensis out.
1820 edited and published posthumously William Carey Volume 1 by Dr. William Roxburgh 's Flora Indica; or Descriptions of Indian Plants. Volume 2 followed four years out in collaboration with Dr. Nathaniel Wallich.
- Noltie, HJ (1999) Indian botanical drawings 1793-1868. ISBN 1-872291-23-6