A self-taught botanist and plant collector, the first paid botanist of the Grand Canyon National Park.
Rose Eudora Collom was born in Georgia in 1870. She attended Lindenwood College and trained as a teacher, and a few years after she got married and the couple moved to Gila County in Arizona, where her husband worked in a mine. Collom, then 44 years old, found herself in an isolated area, spending her days cooking and mending clothes. She said that there was nothing for her to do except sit and gaze out the window. To relieve her boredom, she began taking long walks around the area and study the local plants, started collecting seeds, cuttings and specimens, and wrote her observations.
To deepen her knowledge, Collom ordered botany books and wrote to notable botanists. She became an expert on Arizona flora and was acknowledged by renowned botanists. She also discovered several unknown plants and had new observations on the environmental conditions and their effects on the native Arizona plants. Collom had a belief that some high altitude plants can adapt themselves to lower altitudes, and by proving this theory, she encouraged the use of native species in landscaping private gardens and beside highways.
At 68, she started a correspondence with the co-founder of the Grand Canyon National History Association, who offered her a research grant to collect specimens in the Grand Canyon area. By accepting the grant, she became the first paid botanist of the Grand Canyon National Park, as well as serving as the Horticultural Chairman of the Arizona Federation of Garden Clubs, and a member of the Arizona Cactus and Native Flora Society. Due to her contribution in this field, several plant species are named after her.