Dorothy King Young was born on a ranch near Corvallis, Oregon, into a large family. She and her many older siblings studied the wildflowers on and around the family ranch. She graduated in 1923 from Humboldt State University (then called Arcata Normal School) and began teaching throughout the state, including many rural areas of Humboldt County. Throughout her teaching career, she continued her study of native flowers. She retired from teaching in 1961 but continued to work as a special education consultant. She also wrote a weekly column on plant topics for The Coast Observer. She named several horticultural strains and cultivars, and quite a few were named in her honor. For many years, she and her husband Charles Young worked together to conserve and share all the wildflowers they could, and traveled around Oregon and California with a slide show they developed. Her best known book is Redwood Empire Wildflowers, first published in 1964.