Rose E. Collom, 1870-1956

  • Grand-Canyon-where-Rose-E.-Collom-worked-WWP

Woman Category: Science & TechnologyWoman Tags: Scientist

  • HerStory

    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.

  • More About Her Legacy

    * Inducted into the Arizona Women's Hall of Fame

  • Watch and Learn More

  • One of Her Landmarks

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  • Woman Tags: Scientist

    The Grand Canyon's First Botanist

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    Today Claire discusses the pioneering Arizona botanist Rose E. Collom. The first botanist to be employed by Grand Canyon National Park, Rose was an authority on native Arizona plants and made lasting contributions to herbaria and horticulture.

    Smithsonian Transcription Center Letters:

    A huge thank you to Siobhan Leachman, the Smithsonian Transcription Center and the Grand Canyon Museum for their research help.

    Twitter: @brilliantbotany

    Have a question about the video, or anything botany-related? Post it in the comments and I'll answer it in a future video.

    Portrait of Rose: Grand Canyon Museum Collection, #52846

    Garland, Liz. (2013). “Helen Sekaquaptewa to be inducted into Arizona Hall of Fame.” The Hopi Tutuveni. 21(5): 2.
    Gentry, Mary A. (1082). "Women Botanists and Plant Collectors of Arizona" (PDF). Central Arizona Cactus and Succulent Society Newsletter, The Central Spine 2 (4): 2. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
    Spendens, F. [pseudonym of Quartaroli, R. D.] (2013). "Grand Canyon's Other Rose and First Botanist". Grand Canyon River Runner. Spring (15): 12 – 13.
    Arizona Producer (1930), “Woman of the Wilderness”, Arizona Producer, September 15, p. 4

  • Grand Canyon panorama. Photo credit - Highsmith, Carol M. @ Library of Congress.

  • Citations and Additional References:
    Brilliant Botany blog.
    Wikipedia page.