Mary Wharton

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Mary Wharton
Born October 12, 1912
Jessamine County, Kentucky
Died 1991
Fields Botany
Institutions Georgetown College
Alma mater University of Kentucky
University of Michigan

Mary Eugenia Wharton (October 12, 1912 – 1991) was an American botanist.


Wharton was born in Jessamine County, Kentucky on October 12, 1912. When she turned 4 years old, she moved to Lexington. She graduated from the University of Kentucky with a bachelor's degree in botany and geology. She then engaged in graduate work, receiving a master's degree and a doctorate from the University of Michigan, the latter in 1945. In 1942, she collected a dewberry from Montgomery County, Kentucky which proved to be a new species; it was named Rubus whartoniae in her honor.

After her doctoral work, she took a teaching position at Georgetown College where she spent 30 years. She collected a lot of plant species for the University of Kentucky Herbarium. Besides being an avid plant collector she was also a writer. In 1971, she, in collaboration with Roger Barbour wrote a field guide called Wildflowers and Ferns of Kentucky and Shrubs of Kentucky which was publisher two years later. Later on, she wrote two more books, this time on bluegrass called Horse World of the Bluegrass and Peach Leather and Rebel Grey and Bluegrass Land and Life. By the late 1950s she bought a land on Kentucky River and named it Floracliff.[1] She was involved in environmental activism throughout her later years until her death in 1991, in particular issues such as the proposed damming of the Red River Gorge and the expansion of the Paris Pike.[2]


  1. ^ "Dr. Mary Wharton". Floracliff. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  2. ^ Mary E. Wharton papers, 1856-1993

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