Edwards was born in Swansea, South Wales, and spent much of her time at her parents’ bungalow on the Gower Peninsula.
Edwards’ work has centred on early plant fossils, the majority of which have been retrieved from the UK. Her interest in early plants was initiated after she studied plant fossils preserved in three dimensions in the mineral pyrite (fools’ gold).
She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, an honorary Fellow at the University of Wales, Swansea, a Corresponding Member of the Botanical Society of America, and has links with China, consulting for the Beijing Museum of Natural History, and working on fossils from that country.
Among Edwards’s most notable works, are the discovery of vascular tissue in Cooksonia, the description and analysis of stomata in early land plants, and very early liverwort-like plants. The charcoalified nature of many of her fossils have enabled her to prove that wildfires took place in the Siluruan period. She has also worked on several enigmatic fossils such as Nematothallus,Tortilicaulis and Prototaxites.