Professor Shiu-Ying Hu, emeritus senior research fellow of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, passed away in Hong Kong on May 22 at age 102. An eminent scholar and plant taxonomist, Hu was also a beloved teacher who served as honorary professor of Chinese medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and senior college tutor of Chung Chi College. Over her long career, she collected and identified as many as 185,000 plant specimens, published more than 160 papers, and was an internationally recognized authority on Ilex (hollies), Hemerocaulis (daylilies), Paulownia, Compositae (daisies), and Orchidaceae (orchids).
Born in China, Hu graduated from Ginling College in Nanking in 1933 and received her master’s degree from Lingnan University in 1937. In 1949, she became the first Chinese female to obtain a doctoral degree in botany at Harvard, and worked as an herbarium assistant at the Arboretum. Named a research assistant by Arboretum Director Richard Howard in 1953, Hu devoted herself full time for the next four years to the Flora of China Project. In 1968, Hu took up the position as senior lecturer in the Department of Biology of Chung Chi College and continued her work investigating the botanical diversity of Hong Kong. She was appointed adviser to the Sunyatsen Botanical Garden in Nanjing, honorary professor of South China Agriculture University in Guangzhou, adviser to the Fairy Lake Botanical Garden in Shenzhen, and honorary professor of Chinese medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1999.