For fifteen years Spruce explored South America, discovering on his plant hunting expeditions, from Brazil to Ecuador, thousands of new plants and compiling information on the several different cultures he encountered.
Spruce is also noted as being one of those responsible for providing the British government with seeds of the Cinchona tree, the bark from which the drug quinine was made, and for his helping to establish plantations from it in the British colonies, thus assisting millions of people in the fight against malaria.
Spruce died in Coneysthorpe, Yorkshire on 28 December 1893.
Natural History Museum, 'Richard Spruce Collection' < http://www.nhm.ac.uk/jdsml/research-curation/research/projects/spruce/ > [accessed 7 December 2008]
Boulger, G.S., ‘Spruce, Richard (1817-1893)', rev. Ian Francis Locke, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2008) < http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/26184 > [accessed 7 December 2008]
National Archives, National Regsister of Archives, Person Details, 'Spruce, Richard (1817-1893) Botanist, GB/NNAF/P126875' < http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nra/searches/subjectView.asp?ID=P26915 > [accessed 7 December 2008]