Person Details: W. B. Schofield
W. B. Schofield ( Wilfred B. Schofield )
1927 – 2008
Author, Determiner, Collector
United States of America, Canada, Alaska
Collections: UBC; Alaska (1952): NY (on DAO label)
From Flora of North America Newsletter 22(2): 25-26. 2008:

Dr. Wilfred Schofield
It is with great sadness that I report the death of
Wilf Schofield, an emeritus professor in Botany at
the University of British Columbia, Vancouver,
Canada, who died of cancer
on November 5, 2008. His
death was very sudden and
just a few months before he
died he was on Umak Island,
in the Aleutian Islands, doing
one of the things he excelled at
and loved to do the best, collect bryophytes.
Meetings and Workshops
5th Southwest Rare Plant Conference
march 16–20, 2009
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
For more information contact
Mindy Wheeler
Botany and Mycology 2009
july 25–30, 2009
Snowbird, Utah
Joint meeting with the Mycological Society of
America, ABLS, AFS, and ASPT.Flora of North America Newsletter 22 (2), July – December 2008
Wilf was born in Brooklyn Corner, Nova Scotia
on July 19, 1927. He decided he wanted to become a
school teacher so he attended Acadia University in
Wolfville, Nova Scotia (1946–50) where he graduated
with his B.A. degree. John S. Erskine, a botanist who
collected many Nova Scotia records, was on staff at
Acadia University and this was no doubt where Wilf
started his interest in bryophytes. Wilf then did some
internships and residencies, obtaining his Teacher’s
License at Normal College, Nova Scotia in 1951.
However, after doing some teaching in Nova Scotia
his passion for the bryophytes helped him decide to
go on to graduate school, so he attended Stanford
University (1954–56) where the well known bryologist William C. Steere was Dean. After receiving his
M.A. degree (Dissertation: “The Relationships and
Geographic Distribution of Canadian and Alaskan
species of Hypnum”) he attended Duke University
(1957–60) where he studied ecology under H.J.
Oosting, obtaining his Ph.D. degree (Dissertation:
“The Ecotone between Spruce-Fir and Deciduous
Forest in the Great Smoky Mountains”). The same
year after graduation in 1960 he obtained a position
in the faculty of the Botany Department at the
University of British Columbia where he eventually
became Professor in Botany in 1971, remaining there
until he retired to an Emeritus Professor position in
1992 until his death.
Wilf was an excellent teacher and well liked by
his numerous students throughout his teaching career.
He had several graduate students, including two
Ph.D. graduates that are presently scheduled to
publish genera in Volume 28 (Bryophytes: Mosses,
part 2) in the Flora of North America series.
He has over 100 publications, mostly on bryophytes, but also some on vascular plants. He was
the author of chapters in several botanical books, as
well as the sole author of three books, the most
distinguished one being, “Introduction to Bryology”
published in 1985 (revised in 2001), which was the
first comprehensive textbook in bryology. The book
received many awards from several organizations,
among them the Association of American Publishers
and the Canadian Botanical Association.
Wilf was known as one of the best collectors in
North America. He collected almost 129,000 plants
and lichens, with roughly 90% of them being bryophytes. Most of his bryophytes were collected in
Canada, many on the Queen Charlotte Islands off the
coast of British Columbia. He traveled extensively to
numerous places around the world often collecting
during his travels. Among the places where he traveled
were Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, Japan,
Europe and Hawaii. However, recent collecting for
the past 15 years of his life was in the Aleutian Islands
with Stephen Talbot (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
Anchorage, Alaska) and his wife, Sandy (U.S.
Geological Survey, Anchorage). As a result of all of
his collecting, several plants were named in his honor:
one genus and seven species of mosses, one genus and
one species of liverworts, two lichen species and one
vascular plant species. With his numerous collections
and those from other institutions with which he
exchanged specimens, the Bryophyte Herbarium of
the University of British Columbia has become the
largest in Canada and one of the largest in the world.
Professionally, he was the Vice-President (1965–67)
and President (1967–69) of the American Bryological
and Lichenological Society, Director of the Canadian
Botanical Association (1970–72), along with other
duties in a number of other societies. He held many
Bryophyte Workshops in several places in North
America and he was an invited lecturer numerous
times in many places throughout the world.
His most recent publications have been with the
bryophyte (moss) volumes of the Flora of North
America. He was the author or coauthor of treatments
of five families and six genera in volume 27, part 1,
and he will be the author or coauthor of treatments of
one family and 5 genera in volume 28, part 2 when it
is published. In addition, he will be author of three
families and three genera in volume 29 (hepatics and
hornworts) when it is published in the near future.
His research accomplishments, especially on his
specialty the family Hypnaceae (Musci), and his professional services are immense. There will be a more
complete obituary on Wilf published early this year in
the journal, The Bryologist.Flora of North America Newsletter 22 (2), July – December 2008
He was an extraordinary man with great accomplishments as a botanist, a true professional bryologist who was always willing to help anyone with their
bryological problems, and a person who had very
high human values. There is little doubt that he will
be missed by everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him personally.—Robert Ireland
Botanical Collections
Wilf Schofield