Wendy c. hodgson

Wendy C. Hodgson is Herbarium Curator, Research Botanist, and botanical illustrator at the Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona, where she has worked for nearly 40 years. Her areas of interest and research include southwest United States and northern Mexico floristics, rare and endemic plants of Arizona, taxonomy and systematics of Agave and Yucca, and Sonoran Desert ethnobotany. She is also currently documenting and investigating (1) plants within Grand Canyon National Park, including the evolution and distribution of certain plant groups as affected by the unique factors characteristic of this area; (2) plants and plant communities along the 800-mile Arizona Trail; and (3) cacti of the southwestern U.S.

Hodgson wrote and illustrated Food Plants of the Sonoran Desert, winner of the 2002 Klinger Book Award, presented by the Society for Economic Botany. Her most recent and current projects include studying and documenting plants within Grand Canyon National Park, Agua Fria National Monument, and along the 800-mile Arizona Trail, and studying pre-Columbian agave cultivars. She was coordinator for the Cactus family treatment for Intermountain Flora and is presently co-coordinator for the Cactus Family of Arizona project by Desert Botanical Garden research staff and research associates. She is an avid plant collector who strives towards assembling high-quality herbarium specimens in difficult groups like Agavaceae and Cactaceae.

Hodgson started drawing plants in college for an Arizona flora class, and she was encouraged by her professor to continue drawing. A fellow botanist recommended her to Dr. Howard Gentry who needed an illustrator for his work documenting agaves. Dr. Gentry took her on for the project without seeing her work. Hodgson created 60 detailed pen and ink drawings of agaves for Gentry's Agaves of Continental North America (1982). Her original illustrations for the project are currently archived at the University of Arizona Herbarium.

Many of Hodgson's pen and ink drawings from Food Plants of the Sonoran Desert can be seen in the online exhibit Botanical Art of the Sonoran Desert: Past and Present.