This moss specimen was collected by Mr I H Burkill an Economic Botanist to the Botanical Survey of India and later Director of the Botanical Gardens in the Straits Settlements in Singapore.

It was collected 15 December 1911 on the lower rocks of the river bank at Janakmukh.

In 1911 the British Crown launched an expedition to punish Indian people in the Abor region near the Assam border for killing a British government official and his party (India was under British rule at this time). Several of the government’s scientific staff, including Burkill, accompanied the military to survey the land and its resources. It was called the Abor Expedition.

Burkill sent the specimens to HN Dixon for identification who published his findings in 1914 in the Records of the Botanical Survey of India Volume VI, 3. Dixon sent specimens to the Natural History Museum in London and the Botanic Gardens in Calcutta.

The 40 specimens at RAMM are in George Brook Savery’s (1874-1937) collection. He was a member of the Devonshire Association and had a particular interest in mosses, brambles and roses. A letter dated 27 August 1912 from Burkill to Savery gives details of where the specimens were collected. We can assume that the moss specimens were sent to Savery from Burkill.

In the journal article Dixon writes: ‘From the description of the locality for the type plant, and from specimens which I have received from southern India, it is evident that the normal habitat for this species is within the reach of, and frequently overflowed by, water. It varies very greatly, not only in the form of leaf but also in the degree of limbation, for though usually quite immarginate the vaginant lamina may sometimes show a quite distinct though narrow border. Mr. Burkill informs me that the Abor plant bears ripe fruit early in December only a month, or even less, from the date when it becomes exposed-a very interesting instance of adaptation to the special circumstances of its development.’

Object Summary

Accession Loan No.
Collection Class
Collection Area Region
South Asia
Collector Excavator
Savery, Mr George Brook (from the collection of): Burkill, Mr Isaac Henry
Common Name
Simple Name
Period Classification
Edwardian (1901-1914)

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FISSIDENTACEAE: Fissidens diversifolius Mitten