S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Hutton, Mrs Caroline (plant collection)

Born: 14 November 1826, Cape Town, South Africa .
Died: 12 March 1908, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa .

Caroline Hutton (born Atherstone) was a daughter of Dr John Atherstone*, and a sister of the well known Grahamstown medical practitioner Dr William G. Atherstone*. In 1848 she married Henry Hutton*. Both Caroline and her husband collected plants at various places in the Eastern Cape for many years. As early as 1859 their contributions were acknowledged by W.H. Harvey* in his Thesaurus Capensis (Vol. 1, p. 4), and the next year also in the Flora Capensis (Vol. 1, p. ix). Caroline found an orchid belonging to a new genus on the Katberg (north of Fort Beaufort) and in 1863 Harvey named the genus Huttonaea in her honour. Most of the specimens that Caroline and her husband collected were donated to the herbarium of the Albany Museum, Grahamstown, particularly during 1891 and 1895. Those sent in during 1895 included plants that they had collected on the Witwatersrand that year.

After the death of her husband in 1896 Caroline continued collecting on her own. By 1900 she was living in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal, from where she sent 186 species to the Albany Museum, followed by further collections over the next few years. Her contributions were again acknowledged by the museum in its Report for 1908, the year of her death.

In addition to the genus Huttonaea, the species Schizoglossum huttoniae, Nerine huttoniae, and Calamagrostis huttoniae were named after her.

List of sources:

Cape of Hood Hope. Report on the Albany Museum, 1891, 1894, 1895, 1900-1903, 1905, 1908.

Gunn, M. & Codd, L.E. Botanical exploration of southern Africa. Cape Town: Balkema, 1981.

Malherbe, D.F. du T. Family register of the South African nation (3rd ed.) Stellenbosch: Tegniek, 1966.

Compiled by: C. Plug