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Mexia, Ynes (1870-1938) | University and Jepson Herbaria Archives, University of California, Berkeley

Name: Mexia, Ynes (1870-1938)

Historical Note:

Botanical collector and explorer Ynes Enriquetta Julietta Mexia was born on May 24, 1870, in Georgetown, D. C to General Enrique A. and Sarah R. (Wilmer) Mexia. She spent much of her childhood in Limestone County, Texas.  She attended private schools in Philadelphia and Ontario, California and St. Joseph’s College in Maryland. Later in life she took classes at the University of California, Berkeley.

She married Herman E. Laue in 1898, and after his death in 1904 she married Augustin A. de Reygados in Mexico City in 1908. They later divorced and she returned to using her maiden name.

After taking a Flowering Plants class with LeRoy Abrams at the Hopkins Marine Station in 1925, Mexia accompanied Stanford botanist Roxana Ferris on a botanical collecting trip to western Mexico. Over the next thirteen years she made three additional expeditions to Mexico as well as visiting Alaska and South America, visiting many remote areas. She collected for the University of California and the Untied States Department of Agriculture and visited many remote areas, collecting 8800 numbers and approximately 145,000 individual specimens, 500 of which were found to be new species. Her specimens were often prepared by her assistant, Mrs. N. Floy Bracelin at the University of California, Berkeley and sets were distributed widely to herbaria in the United States and Western Europe.  In addition to the specimens, she wrote numerous articles detailed her adventures exploring the Amazon and other remote areas.

She was a member of the California Botanical Society, the Sierra Club, the Audubon Association, of the Pacific, the Sociedad Geographica de Lima, Peru, a life member of the California Academy of Sciences,

In 1938 she became ill while on a collecting expedition in Oaxaca, Mexico and reurned home to San Francisco. Her health did not improve and she died of lung cancer on July 12, 1938 in Berkeley, California.

Sources: Bracelin, Mrs. H. P. (1938). Ynes Mexia. Madroño v.4 pp. 273-275.

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