Mary McCallum Webster

31 December 1906 - 7 November 1985

Mary McCallum Webster was a self-taught botanist who became a leading field botanist in the British Isles. Born in Sussex to Scottish parents, she became interested in botany at a young age.

Initially trained as a children's nurse, she joined the Auxillary Territorial Service at the outbreak of WWII and was trained as a cook at Aldershot. After the war she continued to work as a cook, but her love of plants took over and she chose to work during the winters only, spending her summers botanising. She walked a hundred miles a week for several summers, recording plant species across the north of Scotland for the Botanical Society of the British Isles' Atlas of British Flora.

She moved to Moray in 1966 and lived there for the rest of her life, documenting the flora of the area. Her masterpiece, the Flora of Moray, Nairn and East Inverness, was published in 1978. She led botanical outings for the Moray Field Club.

McCallum-Webster was a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London and of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh

The photograph below shows a page from one of her notebooks which is on display in Elgin Museum

Part of display at Elgin Museum
Bennet, Byatt, Main, Oliver &Trythall (eds), Women of Moray, Luath Press, 2012
The entry on Mary McCallum Webster is on pages 259-263.
Information from display at Elgin Museum