Gulielma Lister

Queen of Slime Molds

Today is the birthday of the original Queen of Slime Molds, Gulielma Lister, who was born on this day in 1860.

Gulielma was born into a Quaker family in England, and her family and friends called her Gulie. Her mom and dad were a classic match of opposites. Her mother was a right-brained creative - an artist - and her father was a left-brained scientist who was the world authority on slime mold.
Gulie studied at home and learned from both her parents.
The Lister family home was called Sycamore House, and it was located on Leytonstone High Road. She spent her summers at the family summer house in Lyme Regis. Both houses just happened to be near nature areas rich with slime mold. Slime molds are pulsing giant amebas that slowly move through soil or along the tree trunks hunting for their food. Gulie called them “[her] creepies”!
Gulie ended up shadowing her father, and she became very involved with his work. Together, Gulie and her father prepared the world's primary study on Slime Mold. Drawing from skills she learned from her mom, Gulie painted many gorgeous watercolors of her slime mold specimens. When her father died in 1908, Gulie was ready to fill his shoes as the world authority on slime mold.
Over her lifetime, Gulie helped found the British Mycological Society and served as it's president twice in 1912 and 1932. Gulie was among the first women fellows of the Linnean Society.

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Gulielma Lister
Gulielma Lister


  1. Wendy Booth on May 23, 2023 at 2:08 pm

    I just heard Bob Gilbert, a former urban nature columnist, on bbc radio 4 on his book The missing musk. The fragrant flowering plant has lost its scent all over the world , a natural world mystery.
    Please does anyone know about this? His book also includes slime mold studies by scientist Ms Lister who painted them. Her mum was an artist and her dad a slime mold specialist. This slime mold is interesting.

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