Eliza Potts (1809-1873) was a keen and talented botanist whose studies, in a field largely dominated by men, have done much to record and understand wild plants in the North West.
She was born on 11 March 1809, into a well-known Chester legal family.
She was the eldest daughter of Mr Henry Potts, of Watergate House, Chester.
Eliza’s interest in natural history came through her friendship with members of the Chester Society for Natural Sciences, who inspired her love of plants.
Eliza would spend the summer at the family country house in Glan yr Afan, near Loggerheads, Clwyd.
She collected and studied plants from this area.
She also collected from other sites in North Wales, and in Lancashire.
Her collection contains many first or early records of plants from North Wales.
A very keen and knowledgeable field botanist, Lord de Tabley refers to her in his ‘Flora of Cheshire’ (1837) saying, “She stands pre-eminently as the best lady botanist whose records are included in the present flora.”
She also contributed to Hall’s ‘Flora of Liverpool’, in 1839, with ‘Thirty Interesting Cheshire Plants of Parkgate and Hoylake”.
Her herbarium , now housed in the Grosvenor Museum in Chester, is invaluable as a record of plants from the local area in the Victorian period, and is used for research, teaching and as an environmental benchmark.