As in many other scientific fields, botany was only very late in becoming feminine. This work presents and discusses the astonishing trajectory of a famous French singer from the beginning of the 20th century, Marianne Gougerot-Nicot (1882-1945) who plunged with passion into botany from the end of her brilliant artistic career, in 1920. Botany will be her outlet and she will be one of the very first women in France to create a scientific herbarium. However, she was totally forgotten and the link between this famous singer and the botanist had never been established at the scientific level. Mrs Gougerot-Nicot actively herborized between 1922 and 1943 in various regions of Europe and the Mediterranean, in the Alps, on the margins of the Sahara and even as far as Spitzberg. She will improve her floristic knowledge under the guidance of her botanist friend Aimée Camus (1879-1965), an outstanding systematist and the first botanist to have practiced in France as a professional, as a correspondent and then associated with the Phanerogamy Laboratory of the National Museum of Natural History of Paris. Marianne Gougerot-Nicot is also the first woman to have botanized in the Hyères islands (Var, France), going several times to the island of Porquerolles. Her insular field trips led to the discovery of some plant species never reported before, including three species of orchids (Orchis provincialis Balb. ex DC.; Orchis anthropophora (L.) All.; Ophrys araneola Rchb.f.) and a new station of the Requien’s Larkspur (Staphisagria picta subsp. requienii (DC.) B.Bock), a very rare subspecies endemic to the Hyères archipelago.
Aimée Camus, female botanist, herbarium, history of botany, National Museum of Natural History, Orchids of Europe, Port-Cros National Park, Mediterranean region