Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Ethnobotany


Wendy L. Applequist, Ph.D.

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Wendy L. Applequist, Ph.D.

Associate Curator
William L. Brown Center

Research Interests
• Malagasy flora
• Plant systematics
• Identification, quality control, and systematics of medicinal plants

Revisionary studies of Malagasy Salicaceae. Dr. Applequist is an expert on medicinal plants and works on the flora of Madagascar, which is about 90% endemic to the island and includes numerous undescribed and/or endangered species. She has been conducting or working with students on a series of revisionary studies of Malagasy Salicaceae, a family that formerly only included willows and poplars but now includes a large group of tropical genera. Two of the genera of Salicaceae present in Madagascar, Casearia and Flacourtia, are widespread genera that supposedly have only two species each in Madagascar. In the case of Casearia, five species were once recognized but the most recent treatment, by a very conservative taxonomist, recognizes only two. Available herbarium material clearly suggests that more than two species of each are present. Since species that are not recognized to exist are not taken into consideration in conservation efforts, it is important that the regional taxonomy of these genera should be sorted out. A student collaborating with Dr. Applequist will study herbarium material to identify and describe new species and will co-author a manuscript.

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