Ira W. Clokey

(1878-1950) Ira Clokey was born in Illinois and collected plants as a high school student. He studied at Harvard, where he graduated as a mining engineer in 1903. He moved to Colorado in 1915 and worked in that field as an engineer for many years, but eventually abandoned mining for the study of plants.

Clokey obtained a botany degree at the University of Iowa in 1921.  He became an intrepid explorer and indomitable collector, collecting extensively in many areas of the Desert Southwest and Mexico. He was especially interested in the genus Carex and genetics, studying and publishing papers at the California Institute of Technology on a variety of topics. He explored the Mt. Charleston area of southern Nevada in great detail.

Many of Clokey's early collections in Mexico were lost to a fire which he lamented for the rest of his life. In 1941, he donated over 100,000 specimens to the herbarium at the University of California, Berkeley for safekeeping as he was nearing retirement age. He completed A Flora of the Charleston Mountains and died shortly thereafter in 1950. It was published in 1951. 

Clokey left his valuable collection of botanical books and publications to the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena where it is housed in the Ira W. Clokey Memorial Library.

Associated Plants