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Charlotte M. Taylor, Ph.D.
Curator
Monographic Studies
Research

Adjunct Professor, University of Missouri-St. Louis
Research Associate, National Tropical Botanical Garden

office phone: + 1 (314) 577-9436
fax: + 1 (314) 577-0830
email: charlotte.taylor@mobot.org

Missouri Botanical Garden
4344 Shaw Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63110
USA

Education
Ph.D., Duke University, 1987
M.S., Duke University, 1982
B.S., University of Michigan, 1978
My research focuses on species-level and genus-level taxonomy of the large plant family Rubiaceae, in particular Rubiaceae in the American tropics and its tribes Palicoureeae and Psychotrieae worldwide, along with Rubiaceae floristics and morphological radiations. My studies are based mainly on herbarium specimens, including many sent as gifts for identification which are always welcome. The Rubiaceae are the quinine or coffee family, and one of the largest families of vascular plants in number of species ("megadiverse"). Most of the species are shrubs and trees found in humid tropical vegetation, and this family includes some of the largest genera of plants, in particular Psychotria.

To conserve a plant species, as well as to study its ecology, morphology, human use, secondary chemistry, invasive biology, pests, and other aspects, the species has to be known to science, and that means it needs a clearly identified scientific name. If a species is studied by one researcher but cannot be re-located by someone else, then any study of it is not testable, because the work can't be repeated because other researchers cannot be sure they are studying the same plants. Thus a priority in my work is description of new species, and in fact I am one of the top 10 women in terms of numbers of plant species described as documented by the analysis by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (see the "Mind the [Gender] Gap" link, below). The other priority in my work is compiling taxonomic treatments of selected genera and regional floras. Taxonomic treatments are tools for identification that are needed in all sorts of plant-related projects, because the scientific name is the index to all the information we have about a particular species.

My main groups of speciality are the Neotropical species of Palicourea, Notopleura, and Carapichea, along with the Madagascar species of Gaertnera and the pantropical genus Psychotria. My work focusses on relatively large groups (in number of species), because these are difficult to study simply because of their size, so a curator at a museum or research institute has better facilities for this kind of work than a university professor.

Current Projects Taxonomic survey of Palicourea, Psychotria, and related genera in the Neotropics General taxonomic review of the Rubiaceae family for the World Flora On-Line Floristics of Neotropical Rubiaceae
Websites TROPICOS® Rubiaceae Project
Available upon request
Available upon request