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Biographical entry Watts, William Walter (1856 - 1920)

5 October 1856
Ugborough, Devon, United Kingdom
September 1920
Wycherproof, Victoria, Australia
Bryologist and Clergyman


William Watts migrated to Australia in 1886 because of ill-health and was called to ministries in Queensland, New Zealand and New South Wales until 1916. His interest in mosses began in the 1890s and he collected prolifically throughout eastern Australia, New Zealand and Lord Howe Island. His specimens are of particular interest because he collected the same species in multiple locations at multiple times of year, over many years, thus providing much material for studies of variation within species and over geographic range. Many of his collections are from rainforest areas which have been destroyed. The National Herbarium of Victoria and National Herbarium of New South Wales hold most of his collections. Watts published many papers on mosses, ferns and hepatics in Australian scientific journals. He collaborated with Thomas Whitelegge to produce Census muscorum australiensium (1902-1906). The fern genus Revwattsia D.L. Jones and over 30 species were named in his honour.



Life event - Arrived in Melbourne
1899 - 1920
Career position - Fellow, Linnean Society of New South Wales
1909 - 1916
Career position - Honorary Curator of mosses and hepatics, National Herbarium of New South Wales
1915 - 1920
Career position - Fellow, Royal Society of New South Wales
1919 - 1920
Award - Elected Fellow, Linnean Society, London
Taxonomy event - Revwattsia D.L. Jones was named in his honour

Published resources

Journal Articles

  • Ramsay, H. P., 'William Walter Watts, 1856 - 1920', Australasian Bryological Newsletter, vol. 39, 1998, pp. 1-4. Details
  • Ramsay, Helen P., 'Contributions of Rev. W. W. Watts F.L.S. to Australian botany', Taxon, vol. 29, no. 4, 1980, pp. 455-69. Details

Online Resources

Helen Cohn