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Celebrating Women's History Month: Elsie Maud Wakefield

Elsie Wakefield

Elsie Maud Wakefield was a mycologist and plant pathologist who published over 100 papers on her work including new species descriptions and scientific illustrations. 

Elsie Wakefield (1886-1972) attended Sommerville College in Oxford, UK and received a first class honors degree in Botany (equivalent to a bachelor's degree). She continued her studies of fungi, in Munich, Germany focusing on fungal taxonomy and plant disease. In 1910 Elsie returned to England and became the assistant to the head of the mycology and cryptogams at the Royal Botanical Gardens.  She was promoted to head of the mycology collection in 1915.  Her research included taxonomy of both British and tropical fungi. Wakefield also spent 6 months working in the West Indies, gathering information about local fungal taxonomy and plant disease. She specialized in species from the genera Cortiiuma and Tomentella, and published multiple catalogs of British fungi.  Elsie is also well known for stunning scientific illustrations of the fungi she studied.  

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