The area of the Botanists Way has been a treasure trove for past and present scientific explorers. Many local plants are named after botanists who collected in this area, between the Hawkesbury and Lithgow. Some of the most notable of these botanists are described below (n alphabetical order).
Caroline Louisa Atkinson (1834-1872)
A renowned botanical illustrator, collector, novelist and writer of popular science articles, Caroline Atkinson lived at Kurrajong from the 1850s. A friend of Ferdinand Mueller and the Reverend Doctor Woolls, she collected extensively in the Southern Highlands and in the diverse environments around Kurrajong. Atkinson married the explorer James Calvert in 1870 but tragically died just two years later. Atkinsonia ligustrina is a small and primitive shrub which parasitises the roots of other plants and was first collected by Atkinson. It is restricted to only a few places in the Blue Mountains. Atkinson is also remembered by her married name in Epacris calvertiana and Helichrysum calvertianum, both named by Mueller.
Wilhelm Baeuerlen (1845-1917)
Wilhelm Baeuerlen ranged widely as a contract collector for both Ferdinand Mueller (Melbourne Botanic Garden) and Joseph Maiden. He co-authored a book on NSW wildflowers and collected in the Grose Valley in 1899. Eucalyptus baeuerlenii is a small gum that prefers sheltered cliff ledges in the Blue Mountains as far north as Wentworth Falls.
Robert Brown (1773-1858)
Robert Brown was a Scottish botanist who worked in Australia from 1801-1805, sharing some field trips with George Caley. He collected in the lower Grose River and is remembered in Browns Ridge (although he never went so far into the Grose).
Ernest Constable (1903-1986)
Ernest Constable worked for Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens and collected specimens in the Mount Tomah area from 1950 to 1967. Hakea constablei is a prickly shrub found only in the Mount Wilson-Bell area.
Allan Cunningham (1791-1839)
The well known colonial explorer and botanist Allan Cunningham quickly exploited Hoddle’s survey of Bells Line to investigate plants as far west as Mount Tomah in 1823. Alania endlicheri is a small, cliff-dwelling lily found only in the higher Blue Mountains and one other place.
Henry Deane (1847-1924).
Henry Deane was a man of many talents who arrived from Britain in 1880. As an engineer he designed the famous Newnes Railway which connected the western railway at Clarence to the oil shale works in the Wolgan Valley, including the remarkable curved tunnels used to breach the cliffline. As a keen amateur botanist, Deane collected in the Blue Mountains and around Sydney. Eucalyptus deanei, the Mountain Blue Gum, is one of the tallest and grandest trees in the area, growing throughout the wild sandstone gorges. Boronia deanei is a rare shrub first recorded by Deane from Newnes Plateau - presumably during idle days on the railway construction. It has been found in swampy highland heaths from the Blue Mountains south nearly to the Victorian border and was named by Maiden and Ernst Betche.
Joseph Fletcher (1850-1926)
Joseph Fletcher, a teacher and botanist with Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden, collected at Kurrajong in 1886. Isopogon fletcheri is a rare plant that grows on wet cliffs near Blackheath.
Joseph Maiden (1859-1925)
Joseph Maiden was another giant of Australian botany, and something of a fan of Caley’s pioneering work. He was the Director of Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens and researched plants from Kurrajong to Mount Tomah in the 1890s. Acacia maidenii is a large wattle of forest environments.
William Woolls (1814-1893)
William Woolls was a Reverend Doctor, school master and botanist who collected from Richmond to Mount Tomah in 1861. Woollsia pungens is the only species in the genus, but a common flowering shrub in heath and open forest.