Helen Isobel Aston (26 March 1934 – 17 March 2020[1]) was an Australian botanist[2] and ornithologist.


Aston completed her Bachelor of Science in 1957 with majors in botany and zoology from the University of Melbourne.[3]

Aston worked at the National Herbarium of Victoria from 1956 to 1991, where she became one of Australia's leading authorities on freshwater vascular plants.[4] The National Herbarium of Victoria holds the majority of Aston's herbarium, almost 3,000 specimens, with duplicates distributed around Australian Herbaria including AD, BRI, CANB, HO, NE, NSW and PERTH.

Aston is probably best known for her book Aquatic Plants of Australia published in 1973 by Melbourne University Press.

Aston has represented Australian herbaria as the Australian Botanical Liaison Officer in 1974 with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, United Kingdom.

Aston edited the in-house journal, Muelleria, from 1977 to 1988.

Standard author abbreviation

The standard author abbreviation Aston is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name.[5]

Selected published names


Awards and honours

In 1979, Aston was awarded the Australian Natural History Medallion by the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria.[7]

Selected publications


  • Aquatic Plants of Australia (1973)[8]
  • A bird atlas of the Melbourne Region (1978)[9]

Journal articles


The following plants have been named in her honour:




  1. ^ "Helen Isobel Aston Death Notice - Melbourne, Victoria | the Age".
  2. ^ "Harvard University Herbaria & Libraries - Index of Botanists - Aston, Helen I." Harvard University Herbaria & Libraries. Harvard University. Retrieved 21 November 2021.
  3. ^ "BOCA BIOGRAPHY 2005" (PDF). Birdlife Australia. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Aston, Helen I." Australian National Botanic Gardens. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  5. ^ IPNI.  Aston.
  6. ^ "Australian Plant Name Index". Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  7. ^ "The victorian naturalist". archive.org. South Yarra, [Vic.] : Field Naturalists Club of Victoria. 1884. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  8. ^ Aston, Helen I. (1973). Aquatic plants of Australia; a guide to the identification of the aquatic ferns and flowering plants of Australia, both native and naturalized. Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press. ISBN 978-0522840445. OCLC 3241613.
  9. ^ Aston, Helen I. (1978). A bird atlas of the Melbourne Region. Balmford, Rosemary., Victorian Ornithological Research Group. Melbourne: Victorian Ornithological Research Group. ISBN 978-0959591408. OCLC 4962542.
  10. ^ Jacobs, Surrey (1997). "Astonia (Alismataceae), a new genus for Australia". Telopea. 7 (2): 139–141. doi:10.7751/telopea19971004.
  11. ^ Barrett, M.D.; Barrett, R.L (3 November 2015). "Twenty-seven new species of vascular plants from Western Australia". Nuytsia. 26: 67–70.