Kenneth R. Robertson


Affiliate Professor Plant Biology
Plant Systematics and Administrative Curator of the Herbarium
Division of Biodiversity and Economic Entomology, Illinois Natural History Survey
393 Natural Resources Building,

607 East Peabody Drive, Champaign, MC-652
1816 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 244-2171


B.A., 1964, University of Kansas
M.S., 1966, University of Kansas
Ph.D.,1971, Washington University, St. Louis, and Missouri Botanical Garden
Postdoctoral, 1971-1976, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University


IB355, Plant Systematics


I am a botanist with the Illinois Natural History Survey, which is a Division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and located on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign.  My research specialties include the classification and evolutionary relationships of the rose family, especially the apple subfamily (Rosaceae subfamily Maloideae), the pigweed family (Amaranthaceae), and the genus Jacquemontia of the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae).  I am currently editor of the ASPT (American Society of Plant Taxonomists) Newsletter.


I am also  interested in the preservation of natural areas in Illinois and rare and endangered species.  I serve as a consultant to the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission and am a member of the Technical Advisory Committee for Plants to the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board.  Each year, I spend considerable time conducting field work in natural areas in Illinois, especially prairies, and gives frequent presentations on the state’s native plants. 


I have an affiliate appointment with the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Illinois, and I co-teach the plant systematics course at the University.  I have also developed numerous web sites to make information about plants and prairies more widely available.  


Prairie page:
Images of prairie plants:
Fruits, Seeds, and Seedlings of Prairie Plants:
Plant Systematics Course, with Stephen Downie:
Digital Flowers: 
Rosaceae page:


Potter, D, T. Eriksson, R. C. Evans, S.-H. Oh, J. Smedmark, D. R. Morgan, M. Kerr, K. R. Robertson, M. Arsenault, and C. S. Campbell. 2007. Phylogeny and classification of Rosaceae. Plant Systematics and Evolution 266: 5–43.

Robertson, K. R. Amaranthaceae. In K. Heil, S. O'Kane, and L. Reeves, editors. A New Flora of the Four Corners Region (San Juan River Drainage).  Missouri Botanical Garden Press (in press).

Taft, J. B., C. Hauser, and K. R. Robertson. 2006. Estimating floristic integrity in tallgrass prairie. Biological Conservation 131: 42–51.

Ebinger, J. E., L. R. Phillippe, R. W. Nÿboer, W. E. McClain, D. T. Busemeyer, K. R. Robertson, and G. A. Levin. 2006. Vegetation and flora of the sand deposits of the Mississippi River Valley in northwestern Illinois. Submitted to Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin 37 (6): 191–238.

Gu Cuizhi and K. R. Robertson. 2003. Rosa (Rosaceae) in: Wu Zhengyi, P. H. Raven, and Hong Diana, editors, Flora of China. Vol. 9 (Pittosporaceae–Connaraceae): 339–381. Science Press, Beijing and Missouri Botanical Garden.

Robertson, K. R. and S. E. Clemants. 2003. Amaranthaceae (Description, discussion, key to genera). Flora of North America 4(1): 405–406.

Robertson, K. R. 2003. Celosia and Hermbstaedtia. Flora of North America 4(1): 407–409.

Robertson, K. R. and S. Mosyakin. 2003. Amaranthus. Flora of North America 4(1): 410–425.

Robertson, K. R. 2003. Achyranthes. Flora of North America 4(1): 435–437.

Robertson, K. R. 2002. Haemodoraceae. Flora of North America 26: 47–49.

Allen, G. and K. R. Robertson, K. R. 2002. Erythronium (Liliaceae). Flora of North America 26: 153–164.

Robertson, K. R. 2001. Planning with Plants in Illinois. Pp. 28–45, In: J. B. Phipps and P. M. Catling, editors. Bioconservation and Systematics: Proceedings of the Canadian Botanical Association Conference Symposium in London Ontario, June 2000. Canadian Botanical Association Special Publication.

Gardner, D. and K. R. Robertson. 2000. Effects of annual burning on populations of Cassia fasciculata (Fabaceae: Caesalpinoideae), with a review of its taxonomy and biology. Erigenia 18: 22–29