|Lena Struwe's Home Page||
photo: Lena Struwe
photo: Paul Maas
photo: John Mitchell
of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources
Phone: (848) 932-6343, Fax: (732) 932-9411
professional expertise: evolution, botany, economic
plants, taxonomy, nomenclature, safety of herbals, medicinal
plants, native and non-native plants, food and cooking history,
weeds, international collaborations, descriptions of new
species, classification of biodiversity and biogeography,
GIS-based evolutionary studies, ecological niche evolution,
teaching, education, interactive educational components,
informal education, bioactivity screening, conservation of
biodiversity, morphological and genetic variation in plants,
sustainable gardening and agriculture, identification of and
keys to plants, mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students
in research projects, outreach activities for K-99 ages.
One of my main research foci is the historical evolution and biodiversity of angiosperms, especially plants from the order Gentianales and its families Apocynaceae (dogbanes and milkweeds), Gelsemiaceae (Carolina jessamine), Gentianaceae (gentians), Loganiaceae (strychnine family), and Rubiaceae (coffee and madder family). I am investigating tropical plant diversity, evolution, and biogeography based on phylogenetic reconstructions using anatomical, morphological, and molecular data. Much of my recent work has focused on the classification and phylogeny of the families Gentianaceae and Loganiaceae. The gentian family is also the focus of my research in the evolution of morphology and New World biogeography.
research focus are contemporary ethnobotany; how
humanity use plants in our lives. I work with the development of
sustainable use of plants for medicinal research on an
international scale through the projects of ICBG
Central Asia (until 2008) and GIBEX.
We investigate new plants for medicinal use, based on old
traditions and scientifically investigate their phytochemical
content, variation, and safety. I teach several courses in this
area (see COURSES),
and have done research related to medicinal plants, the need for
quality control and vouchering in pharmaceutical research,
reviews of historical texts for leads for new drugs, and much
I have recently started several projects focused on weeds, these misunderstood plants that are true success stories and get around a lot. Within this area I will focus on invasive species, the psychology of our love-hate of weeds, weeds in different cultures worldwide, and of course edible and toxic weeds. I also use weeds as an important teaching tool since it is an easily accessible resources for plant biology, evolution, and ethnobotany studies in any school area, urban to rural.
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