Intrepid Botanist Remembered
NZer Betty Molesworth Allen, OBE-awarded botanist and explorer, has died aged 89. Allen made her career in some of the harshest regions in the world; from the rainforests of Borneo, to the cliff-faces of southern Spain. In 1947 she met and married pilot and amateur ornithologist, Geoffrey Allen. The two mounted numerous biological expeditions, braving tropical disease, inhospitable terrain and, in Betty’s case, the disapproval of other “colonial wives” to collect their data. In 1965, after years of “relentless courage and curiosity,” Allen made the find of her career. Her discovery of a prehistoric sub-tropical fern growing at the southern tip of Spain sparked a dramatic reassessment of the study of plant distribution, and of physical geography itself.
Betty Molesworth Allen: died 2002