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Marie Taylor

Marie Taylor

Botanist (1930-1999)

MarieTaylor1Known for her meticulous and beautiful water colour illustrations of mushrooms and other fungi, Marie Taylor’s biggest impact on the general public was her 1981 book Mushrooms and Toadstools. Published as part of the New Zealand Mobil Nature Guide series the book was reprinted many times, made identification easy, and popularised species such as the blue pinkgill (Marie’s original water colour at right), this mushroom now adorns our fifty dollar note.

Taylor began collecting plants while at high school and studied the life-history of a native flower for her MSc at Victoria University College.1 After a year of teaching high school and an OE, she worked as a lecturer at Victoria – it was here that mycologist Greta Stevenson-Cone suggested Taylor study fungi. This love of fungi grew during a stint living in the South Island and later, working as a senior tutor at Auckland University, Taylor was a committed leader of national fungal forays and often the first port of call for visiting mycologists.2

Image: Taylor's painting of the blue pinkgill. Source: Spores, moulds, and fungi blog.

References:

1. “NZBotSoc No 57 Dec 1999,” accessed September 18, 2017, http://www.nzbotanicalsociety.org.nz/newsletter/nzbotsoc-1999-57.pdf.

2. Australian Mycologist, Journal of the Australasian Mycological Society Inc, Volume 18 (3), December 1999.

This profile is part of the series 150 Women in 150 Words that celebrates women’s contributions to expanding knowledge in New Zealand, running as part of our 150th Anniversary.