Henfield bryophyte meeting

Field meeting reports
Picture of Potwell, the birthplace of William Borrer
Borrer’s birthplace, Henfield

Meeting date: 10 March 2019

(Leader: Brad Scott)

The first meeting of the year was an opportunity to combine botany and history as we explored the area that would have been well known to the great Sussex botanist William Borrer (1781-1862). Though he published little, Borrer was a major figure in British botany in the first half of the nineteenth century, described by Joseph Hooker as “the Nestor of British botanists”. With his expertise spanning vascular plants, lichens, bryophytes and algae, Borrer supplied specimens and information to James Edward Smith for English Botany, and to Dawson Turner and Lewis Dillwyn for The Botanist’s Guide Through England and Wales. At present, we have very few of Borrer’s own records in the Sussex bryophyte data, and Henfield was very poorly recorded, so a visit enabled us to introduce many members to this group of plants and at the same time improve our data for the county. The circuit took us on a route past Potwell, where Borrer was born, and then south of the town, and back via the site of the house where he lived for most of his life. In all, we recorded 64 taxa, including a few small arable species, though many common ones still remain to be discovered in Borrer’s home square.

See also: Brad Scott ‘Borrerlands’. Sussex Bryophytes. 14 March 2019 https://sussexbryophytes.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/borrerlands/

Picture of bryologists looking in an arable field
Freezing while looking for tiny arable bryophytes. Photo: Nick Sturt