Ynés Mexía was a Mexican-American botanist known for her collection of novel plant specimens from areas of Mexico and South America. Furthermore, she discovered a new genus of Asteraceae and was arguably the most accomplished plant collector of her time.
Life and education
Ynes Mexia was born in Washington, D.C. on May 24, 1870, to her Mexican diplomat father, Enrique Mexia, and Sarah Wilmer. Moreover, the marriage broke up in 1873 when Ynés was three years old, and her father went back to Mexico City. Furthermore, her mother took the children, including Ynés and six others from a previous marriage. Similarly, they moved to Limestone County on an eleven-league grant that became the site of present-day Mexia, Texas.
Mexía spent most of her childhood in Texas and received her secondary education in private schools in Philadelphia and Ontario, Canada. Likewise, her early education began at the age of 15. Similarly, her education started at Saint Joseph’s Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland; after she finished there, she moved to Mexico City, where she lived at the family hacienda for 10 years and took care of her father, who died in 1896.
Career and legacy
Mexía began her career at the age of 55 with a 1925 trip to western Mexico under the tutelage of Roxanna Ferris, a botanist at Stanford University. Furthermore, over the next 12 years, she travelled to Argentina, Chile, Mount McKinley (in 1928). Similarly, Brazil (in 1929), Ecuador (since 1934), Peru and the Straits of Magellan (in 1935), and southwestern Mexico (since 1937) on seven different collecting trips discovering one new genus, Mexianthus, and many new species among her 150,000 total samples. Additionally, she frequently travelled alone, which was rare for women in the early 20th century. During her trip to Western Mexico, she collected over 33,000 samples, including 50 new species.
- Full Name: Ynés Enriquetta Julietta Mexía
- Date of Birth: May 24, 1870
- Birth Place: Washington, D.C., United States
- Date of Death: July 12, 1938
- Death Place: Berkeley, California, United States
- Education: University of California, Berkeley
- Nationality: American
- Citizenship: Mexico, United States
- Alma mater: University of California, Berkeley
- Awards: Life member of the California Academy of Sciences
- Field: Botany
CV Read More Fred McLeod
Reference Celebrating Ynés Mexía