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Margaret Stovin

This plant was collected and pressed by the botanist Margaret Stovin over 150 years ago, in 1843. It comes from Stovin’s ‘herbarium’. Created in a time before photography, this is an extraordinary record of over 2800 flowers, shrubs and other flora which she collected, pressed and annotated across 28 volumes, between 1798 and 1850. Margaret Stovin became one of the first woman to be elected to the Botanical Society in London, in 1840. At the time, it was very unusual for women to be scientists.

Deutzia scabra specimen, collected by Margaret Stovin

Margaret Stovin was a family friend of Florence Nightingale, another pioneering woman of the Victorian period. In 1833, when Florence was just 13 years old, Margaret created a special herbarium for her of over 100 pressed flowers which they had collected together in Derbyshire.

This specimen – Deutzia scabra, or fuzzy deutzia as it’s sometimes more commonly known, is a deciduous shrub, native to Japan and collected by Margaret from a garden in Nottinghamshire.

Image courtesy of Middlesbrough Museum Service