Google Doodle for today is Ynés Mexía in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Who is Ynés Mexía? Ynés Mexía is a American-Mexican born botanist who studied everything from a remote volcano to poisonous berries. She is also an explorer credited with discovering 150,000 botanical specimens.
“The life of Ynes Mexia is a prime example of how it’s never too late to find one’s calling,” wrote Latino Natural History. Her full name was Ynes Enriquetta Julietta Mexia. Mexía didn’t even start collecting specimens until she was in her 50s, and she didn’t live very long after that point. Yet, she managed to make an enduring contribution to the field of botany and to the world. SHPE National called her “arguably the most accomplished plant collector of her time.” According to Encyclopedia Brittanica, her “discoveries helped to clarify and complete botanical records.” She was “one of the early 20th century’s great botanical collectors,” Outside reports.
Ynés Mexía Unknown Facts
Ynés Mexía Traveled First to Mexico Looking for ‘Rare Botanical Species’ Ynés Enriquetta Julietta Mexía (1870 – 1938) – She had gone to Sinaloa, Mexico, Google wrote, in 1925, accompanied by Stanford University colleagues “in search of rare botanical species.” She was 55 and had joined a local Sierra Club. It was a tough journey in which she fractured her hand and ribs, but she brought back 500 specimens, 50 that were newly discovered, according to Google.
Ynés Mexía Was the Daughter of a Mexican Diplomat – Mexía was born in Washington D.C. in 1870 “as a daughter to a Mexican diplomat,” She was a social worker in California before turning to botany. She became a United States citizen in 1924.
Ynés Mexía first husband died, and the second marriage ended up in divorce, according to Latino Natural History, and she moved to California “after a nervous breakdown.” But she didn’t give up, she became a renowned botanist above her age 50.
Ynés Mexía Started Studying Botany Later in Life – It wasn’t until Mexía was in California and in her 50s that she decided to turn her love of nature into a calling and started studying botany. She was 51, Latino Natural History noted that Mexia was a “a special student at the University of California – Berkeley” when she first grew fascinated by botany.
Ynés Mexía Mexía’s Work Lives on & She Made an Important Influence on the Botany World – “More than 90 years after she started, scientists are still studying Mexía’s samples, which are now housed in a number of major institutions around the world,” wrote Google.
Ynés Mexía died at age 67, having collected specimens for only about 13 years. She died of lung cancer, according to Latino Natural History. In merely 13 years, she collected 8,800 numbers, or more than 145,000 specimens. They include two new genera, Mexianthus Robinson (Asteraceae) and Spulula Mains (Pucciniaceae).