Ynes Mexia: The Boss of Botany
THE BOSS OF BOTANY!
Do you know the story of Ynes Mexia aka the Boss of Botany?
Ynes Mexia is proof that it is never to late to bloom. She became the most accomplished female botanical collector of her time both in terms of the number of plant specimens she collected and the miles she traveled on her expeditions, despite not starting her career until her mid 50s! When it’s time for a Boss to Bloom, she must Bloom Big.
Ynés was born in Washington, D.C. in 1870 and was the daughter of a Mexican diplomat. Ynés always had a curious mind and a curious spirit, which led her to start her own pet and poultry stock raising business which she ran successfully until her then husband bankrupted the business.
Ynes freed herself of the neanderthal energy, got a divorce, and moved to San Francisco where her curiosity led her to enroll at UC Berkeley where her passion for Botany would begin to bloom. In 1922 Ynes joined an expedition led by E. L. Furlong, a Berkeley paleontologist, and she later enrolled in a course on flowering plants at the Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove.
It wasn’t long before Ynes would embark on her first botanical exploration, a trip to Mexico with Stanford botanist Roxana Ferris. However, a Boss flower in full bloom knows when she has outgrown her pot, and Ynes quickly recognized that she could accomplish more on her own. So she abandoned the group and headed out solo traveling the country for two years while collecting more than 1,500 plant specimens.
Ynes would make three additional expeditions to Mexico and collected throughout South America in remote areas of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru. She also collected in Alaska and other areas of the United States.
The most Beastly of Ynes explorations was her Canoe trip of the Amazon River from its delta up to its source in the Andes, covering nearly 3,000 miles over two and a half years. This woman’s blood type was WD40 and she possessed absolute legendary levels of curiosity & courage.
Throughout her career Ynes collected an incredible 145,000 specimens. Of those, 500 were new species, and 50 were named in her honor. Proof that Boss roots run deep.
Ynes passed away in 1938 from lung cancer, but her Botany career, although brief, shined bright like a star. A star that burned so hot that to this day, it still heats the hearts of young girls & boys who to dare to dream, defy the status quo, and embrace ADVENTURE!