Nancy Adams was a prolific artist, illustrating nearly forty publications on native plants, alpine life, trees and shrubs. Included in these publications is an article written by Ella Orr Campbell a fellow New Zealand botanist, for whom Adams drew Thallus of Marchasta bearing archegoniophres. She received international recognition for her detailed and delicate algal illustrations. Awards included the Loder Cup in 1964, the Queen's Service Order in 1989, and the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal. In 1994 she also received an award for her work Seaweeds of New Zealand: An Illustrated Guide, which held a description of 600 different plant species and illustrating 441.