Bryophytes

Our bryophytes holdings include the major collections of W.E. Nicholson (30,000 packets) and Tom Laflin (20,000 packets).

William Edward Nicholson (1866-1945) From the 1890s onwards Liverworts were Nicholson’s main botanical interest and his diaries, in the Cambridge University Dept. of Plant Sciences Library, record his study of bryophytes. He became an authority on the taxonomy of European mosses and European and exotic Hepaticae, adding numerous species to the British list including several rare Cephaloziellas. He was President of the British Bryological Society in 1929-30. His collection, ordered by the indefatigable Mrs. D.G. Soden over a period of 20 years, now forms the basis of our bryophyte collection.

Tom Laflin (1914-1972) was born at Mistley in Essex and brought up at Bentley in Suffolk. Later he moved to the North Riding of Yorkshire. He collected his first bryophytes on the north Yorkshire moors and went on to collect widely from Europe, North America and Africa. In 1956 he moved to Warwickshire and lived there until his death. A Computer-mapped Flora: a study of the county of Warwickshire by Dorothy A. Cadbury, J.G. Hawkes and R.C. Readett published in 1971 included a section on bryophytes by Laflin and after his death the collection of specimens and illustrations produced for this flora was deposited in the School of Botany at the University of Birmingham. The remainder of his collection was presented to Cambridge Herbarium by his widow.

One of our team of volunteers is currently working on the Cambridgeshire bryophyte collection of H.L.K. Whitehouse.