Mary Somerset

The Beaufort Botanist and Her “Innocent Diversion”

Despite the twelve volume herbarium she created, this seventeenth-century scientist earned little recognition. 
A plate from Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium, by Maria Sibylla Merian

The Metamorphosis of a 17th-Century Insect Artist

Maria Sibylla Merian's work in the natural sciences was overlooked for centuries. Now a rare butterfly has been named in her honor.
Orchids in a Wardian Case

The Accidental Invention of Terrariums

Victorian London became obsessed with Ward's cases, which protected plants from the city's toxic pollution -- and piqued peoples' imaginations.
Cranberries in a strainer

Seven Things You Might Not Know About Cranberries

They're red, tart, and mostly eaten at Thanksgiving. Love them or hate them, here are seven things you might not have known about the humble cranberry.
Constantine Samuel Rafinesque

The Raffish and Radical Constantine Samuel Rafinesque

Constantine Samuel Rafinesque was an adventuring naturalist who named 2,700 genera and wrote about evolution before Darwin. Why has he been forgotten?
Peter Rabbit Beatrix Potter

The Other Side of Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter biography covers a lot more than than just cute bunnies getting into trouble in mean old Mr. McGregor's farm, not that there's anything wrong with that.
Anna Atkins cyanotype

The Artful Science of Anna Atkins

Anna Atkins reportedly created the first photographically illustrated and printed book in response to another monograph she thought was shoddily done.
Agnes Chase

Women’s Fight For Scientific Fieldwork

How did women scientists fit into the naturalists and botanist mix during their earliest days in the field?

The Delicious Origins of the Domesticated Blueberry

Frederick Coville and Elizabeth White, two strangers, domesticated the blueberry together. They valued beauty and worked to support local communities.
Holotype of Diplazium grammatoides Fée; Verified by George R. Proctor, 1985/10

Botanist and Murderer? The Strange End of George R. Proctor

The obituary of noted botanist George R. Proctor reveals a surprising story.