Ruth Mason

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Ruth Mason (7 November 1913 – 14 May 1990) was a New Zealand botanist specialising in the taxonomy and ecology of freshwater plants. She was born in Auckland, New Zealand, on 7 November 1913.[1][2][3]

Mason was educated at the University of Auckland (then known as Auckland University College, part of the University of New Zealand) where she completed a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and Master of Science.[1]

In 1939, Mason was appointed to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) as an assistant botanist.[1] Mason was the first to record Wolffia in New Zealand (in 1949) and her most long-standing research interest was in the freshwater algae commonly known as stoneworts.[2] Her research also included establishing a seed herbarium, and identifying food preferences of moa through gizzard contents.

Due to her extensive fieldwork, Mason pioneered new techniques for plant preservation in the field.[2] Over the course of her career, Mason collected over 13,000 specimens.[2]

She worked at DSIR until her retirement in 1974.[2]

Lucy Moore described Hebe pauciramosa var. masoniae in honor of Mason.[4]

Mason died in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1990.[1][2][3]


  1. ^ a b c d Thomson, A. D. "Ruth Mason". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Moar, N. T. (1990). "Ruth Mason, M.Sc. 1913–1990". New Zealand Journal of Botany. 28 (4): 485–490. doi:10.1080/0028825X.1990.10412335.
  3. ^ a b "Obituary" (PDF). New Zealand Botanical Society Newsletter. 20. June 1990. Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  4. ^ Smith, Val (2015). Common Ground: Who's who in New Zealand botanical names. New Zealand: Wordsmith. p. 225. ISBN 9780473308476.