Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Born in Brisbane, Queensland in 1930.
Joan Winifred Cribb, botanist and author, was born in Brisbane, daughter of Desmond A. Herbert, botanist (later Foundation Professor of Botany at the University of Queensland), and Vera McNeilance, nee Prowse, also a botanist. After completing her education at the Brisbane Girls' Grammar School, Joan studied botany at the University of Queensland, graduating Bachelor of Science Honours in 1952. She obtained her Master of Science degree in 1954, the year she married Alan B. Cribb, then lecturer in botany at the University. Joan later worked part-time as a tutor and lecturer in biology and microbiology while raising two sons. She retired from teaching in 1989.
Joan is an expert on the fungi of Queensland. She first studied the gasteromycetes (puffballs, stinkhorns and related fungi) for her university degrees. She has described 21 new species of gasteromycetes, a rust fungus on mistletoe and three truffle-like fungi. For more than 45 years she has travelled widely in Queensland, collecting and recording gasteromycetes. Her collections are now lodged in the Plant Protection Unit of the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and at the Commonwealth Mycological Institute, Kew, England. She has written some 30 scientific papers as sole author and co-written another 20 papers. Her contribution to fungal taxonomy is acknowledged in the naming of the genus Cribbea.
Joan and Alan Cribb have worked closely as a team, both professionally and in pursuing their wider interests in natural history. Alan's expertise in algae led Joan to broadening her interest to marine fungi, of which she has described 14 new species. Joan and Alan Cribb have also recorded the occurrence of freshwater fungi from Queensland streams and shared their life-long interest in native plants. Together they have published a definitive series of books on native plants and their properties: Wild Food in Australia (1975, 1982, 1987), Useful Wild Plants in Australia (1981) and Wild Medicine in Australia (1981). A fourth book, Plant Life of the Great Barrier Reef and Adjacent Shores (1985), was the outcome of many excursions to the area.
Joan joined the Queensland Naturalists' Club In 1949 and since then has been a club stalwart, serving twice as president and editing the Queensland Naturalist. She received the inaugural Queensland Natural History Award in 1992 and the Australian Natural History Medallion two years later.
Source: R. W. Johnson in Brilliant
Careers, Judith McKay (ed) 1997, Queensland Museum