Borrer, William (DNB00)

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BORRER, WILLIAM (1781–1862), botanist, was born at Henfield, Sussex, on 13 June 1781, and died there on 10 Jan. 1862. He received his earlier education in private schools at Hurstpierpoint and Carshalton in Surrey. Although he left school at an early age, he continued his studies under tutors, and obtained a good knowledge of the classics and French. His father wished him to adopt agriculture as a pursuit, though his own proclivities were towards medicine; but, being possessed of an ample fortune, he devoted himself to the study of botany, especially of his own country. He made repeated journeys in all parts of Britain, and endeavoured to cultivate every critical British species and all the hardy exotic plants he could obtain, having at one time as many as 6,660 species. His knowledge of the difficult genera Salix, Rubus, and Rosa was great, and his help was eagerly sought and willingly rendered both by purse and time.

He published but little—a few pages in the ‘Phytologist,' some descriptions in the supplement to ‘English Botany,’ and his share with Dawson Turner in the privately printed ‘Lichenographia. Britannica,’ of which only a few sheets were printed and issued long after, in 1839. He wrote the descriptions of the species of Myosotis. Rosa, and nearly all of Rubus for Sir W. Hooker's ‘British Flora’ in 1830 and subsequent editions. He was a fellow of the Royal, Linnean, and Wernerian societies, and justice of the peace for Sussex. Several plants were named after him, and the genus Borreria of Acharius amongst lichens, but the genus Borreria of G. W. Meyer is now merged in Spermacoce. The following species were named after him: Rubus Borreri, Poa Borreri, Parmelia Borreri, Hypnum Borrerianum, Callithamnion Borreri. His rich and critical herbarium of British plants is kept at the Royal Gardens, Kew.

[Proc Linn. Soc. (1862), pp. lxxxv-xc; Seemann's Jour. Bot. (1863), i. 31; Cat. Scientific Papers, i. 499.]

B. D. J.