Barbara Joe Hoshizaki, born June 14, 1928, in Oakland, Calif., died at age 83 on May 30, 2012 in Los Angeles, Calif. Barbara attended public schools in Los Angeles and received her BS from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1951. There she met Mildred Mathias, a botany professor, who became Barbara’s mentor and encouraged her to study ferns. Her MS was awarded by UCLA in 1954. Barbara was professor of biology and taught 28 years at Los Angeles City College. She was also Curator of Ferns at the UCLA Herbarium.
Barbara traveled widely. Early in her career she spent three months in Costa Rica studying ferns with the Organization for Tropical Studies. She continually worked with and developed close relationships with her academic colleagues and also with amateur and professional growers around the world. She introduced many fern species into cultivation and wrote numerous scientific and popular papers on ferns. An avid taxonomist, she corrected scientific names of misidentified ferns through extensive research.
Barbara was president of the American Fern Society, the Southern California Horticultural Institute, the Los Angeles International Fern Society, and vice president of the Pacific Horticultural Foundation. She served on the boards of many horticultural and botanical organizations. She was an honorary member of the American Fern Society, the Los Angeles International Fern Society, and the Tropical Fern and Exotic Plant Society, Inc.
She is well known for The Fern Grower’s Manual, published in 1975. This seminal work established a benchmark for ferns in cultivation in the United States. A revised and expanded seconded edition with co-author Robbin C. Moran of the NY Botanical Garden was published in 2001.
Barbara was an academic who didn’t confine her work to the herbarium; a gardener who actually grew the ferns she wrote about. Her garden, many years in the making, was her research library. The hands-on experience informed her work and made her an in-demand speaker for professional meetings and for amateur groups. It was a fabulous garden that was both a pleasure and a privilege to visit. Barbara was a good friend who shared her knowledge, expertise, and plants from her garden. We will miss her generosity and kindness.
She is survived by her husband, Takashi; two children, Carol (George Brooks), and Jon (Madeleine Takii); a grandson, Daniel; a sister, Sylvia Louie; and a brother, Curtis Joe (Virginia Shing); and numerous nieces and nephews. Services will be private. The family requests that donations be made to the Organization for Tropical Studies, Box 90630, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0630, “OTS in Memory of Barbara Hoshizaki.”