Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Karen Wilson AM


Senior Research Scientist


Science & Public Programs


Plant Diversity


61-2-9231 8111

61-2-9251 7231

karen.wilson [at]

Research interests

Systematics, anatomy, phylogeny and biogeography (Casuarinaceae, Cyperaceae, Juncaceae, Polygonaceae, especially in Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Malesia); electronic publication and dissemination of systematics data (Species 2000 and ITIS Catalogue of Life); botanical history; botanical nomenclature


Casuarinaceae, Cyperaceae, Juncaceae, Polygonaceae, IOPI Global Plant Checklist, Species 2000, Catalogue of Life, Cariceae Working Group, General Committee for Nomenclature

Current research projects

  • Cyperaceae - Carpha, Caustis, Cyathochaeta, Lepidosperma, Tricostularia, Chorizandra, Cyperus, Schoenus, Rhynchospora, Eleocharis, Fimbristylis, Abildgaardia, Scleria, Uncinia - some of these jointly with Jeremy Bruhl (UNE) and students and other associates at UNE (Kerri Clarke, Kioumars Ghamkhar, Xiufu Zhang, John Hodgon, Adele Gibbs, Paul Musili, George Plunkett) and elsewhere (Russell Barrett - Perth; Tony Verboom, Muthama Muasya and associates - University of Cape Town; David Simpson - RBG Kew)
  • Cyperaceae - World revision of Carex (Cariceae Working Group) - see and
  • Casuarinaceae - Flora treatments for Malesia and New Caledonia (extension of projects with the late Lawrie Johnson)
  • Juncaceae - Revision of Australasian species and Flora of Australia treatment (extension of projects with the late Lawrie Johnson)
  • Polygonaceae - Revision of Muehlenbeckia in Australia - with Bob Makinson and Tanja Schuster
  • Polygonaceae - Flora of Australia treatment - with Gillian Perry and Bob Makinson - submitted but not yet published

Selected publications

  • J-A.Viljoen, A.M. Muasya, R.L. Barrett, J.J. Bruhl, A.K. Gibbs, J.A. Slingsby, K.L. Wilson, and G.A. Verboom (2013) Radiation and repeated transoceanic dispersal of Schoeneae (Cyperaceae) through the Southern Hemisphere. American J. Bot. 100 (12): 2494-2508. (view online)
  • G.T. Plunkett, K.L. Wilson and J.J. Bruhl (2013) Sedges in the mist: a new species of Lepidosperma (Cyperaceae, Schoeneae) from the mountains of Tasmania. PhytoKeys 28: 19-59. (view online)
  • R.L. Barrett and K.L. Wilson (2013) Two new species of Lepidosperma (Cyperaceae) occurring in the Perth area of Western Australia. Nuytsia 23: 173-187. (view pdf)
  • R.L. Barrett and K.L. Wilson (2012) A review of the genus Lepidosperma (Cyperaceae: Schoeneae). Australian Systematic Botany 25(4): 225-294. (view online)
  • K.L. Wilson (2012) Report of the General Committee [of Nomenclature]. Taxon 61: 878-879. (view online)
  • T.M. Schuster, K.L. Wilson and K.A. Kron (2011) Phylogenetic relationships of Muehlenbeckia, Fallopia, and Reynoutria (Polygonaceae) investigated with chloroplast and nuclear sequence data. International Journal of Plant Science 172(8): 1053-1066. (view online)
  • K.L. Wilson (2011) New species of Eleocharis (Cyperaceae) in Australia. Telopea 13: 295-312. (view pdf)
  • J.Gaikwad, K. Wilson, J. Kohen, S.Vemulpad, J. Jamie, and S. Ranganathan (2010) Combining ethnobotany and informatics to discover knowledge from data. Pp. 444-457 in M. Rai, D. Acharya, J.L. Rios (eds), Ethnomedicinal Plants: Revitalization of Traditional Knowledge of Herbs. (Science Publishers: New Hampshire).
  • K. Ghamkhar, A.D. Marchant, K.L. Wilson and J.J. Bruhl (2007) Phylogeny of Abildgaardieae (Cyperaceae) inferred from ITS and trnL-F data. Pp. 149-164 in J.T. Columbus, E.A. Friar, C.W. Hamilton, J.M. Porter, L.M. Prince and M.G. Simpson (eds), Monocots: comparative biology and evolution, 2 vols. Published as Aliso 23: 149-164.
  • J.J. Bruhl and K.L. Wilson (2007) Towards a comprehensive survey of C3 and C4 photosynthetic pathways in Cyperaceae. Pp. 99-148 in Columbus et al. (eds).
  • X. Zhang, J.J. Bruhl, KL. Wilson and A. Marchant (2007) Phylogeny of Carpha and related genera (Schoeneae, Cyperaceae) inferred from morphological and molecular data. Australian Systematic Botany 20(2): 93-106. (view pdf)
  • R. Govaerts, D.A. Simpson, J.J. Bruhl, T. Egorova, P. Goetghebeur and K. Wilson (2007) World Checklist of Cyperaceae. Sedges. 765 pp.
  • X. Zhang, K.L. Wilson and J.J. Bruhl (2006) Species limits in Carpha (Schoeneae, Cyperaceae) based on phenetic analyses. Australian J. Botany 19(5): 437-465. (view pdf)
  • J.H. Richards, J.J. Bruhl, and K.L. Wilson (2006) Flower or spikelet? Understanding the morphology and development of reproductive structures in Exocarya (Cyperaceae, Mapanioideae, Chrysitricheae). American J. Botany 93(9): 1081-1090. (view pdf)
  • J. Hodgon, J.J. Bruhl and K.L. Wilson (2006) Systematic studies in Lepidosperma (Cyperaceae: Schoeneae) with particular reference to L. laterale. Australian Systematic Botany 19(3): 273-288. (view pdf)
  • S. Knapp, K. Wilson and M. Watson (2006) Electronic publication. Taxon 55(1): 2-3.
  • K.L. Wilson, D. Gordon, S.S. Sastroutomo and J. Shimura (eds) (2005) Taxonomy for Biodiversity in Asia-Oceania. Report from 2nd Global Taxonomy Initiative Regional Workshop in Asia-Oceania, Wellington, New Zealand, 9-10 October 2004.
  • F.A. Bisby, M.A. Ruggiero, K.L. Wilson et al. (eds) (2005) Species 2000 and ITIS Catalogue of Life: Indexing the world's known species. On-line, CD-ROM and booklet.
  • X. Zhang, A. Marchant, K.L. Wilson and J.J. Bruhl (2004) Phylogenetic relationships of Carpha and its relatives (Schoeneae, Cyperaceae) inferred from chloroplast trnL intron and trnL-trnF intergenic spacer sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 31(2): 647-657. (view pdf)
  • X. Zhang, K.L. Wilson and J.J. Bruhl (2004) Sympodial structure of spikelets in tribe Schoeneae (Cyperacaceae). American J. Botany 91(1): 24-36.
  • D.A. Steane, K.L. Wilson and R.S. Hill (2003) Using matK sequence data to unravel the phylogeny of Casuarinaceae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 28: 47-59. (view pdf)
  • S.W.L. Jacobs and K.L. Wilson (2003) Poales (Grasses). In Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. John Wiley & Sons: Chichester. View electronic resource (doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0003708). Article posted online 26 March 2003.
  • K.L. Wilson, I. Cresswell, C.H.C. Lyal and J. Shimura (eds) (2003) Building Capacity: From Bangladesh to Bali and Beyond. Report from 1st Global Taxonomy Initiative Regional Workshop in Asia, Putrajaya, Malaysia, 10-17 September 2002.
  • M. Ruggiero, F.Bisby, K. Wilson and J. Shimura (2002) Towards a 'Catalogue of Life'. Final Report of the GBIF Scientific and Technical Group (STAG) Workshop on An Electronic Catalogue of Names of Known Organisms, Sydney, Australia, 15-16 March 2002
  • J. Kirschner (compiler) (2002) Species Plantarum - Flora of the World Parts 6-8, Juncaceae. [KLW one of numerous contributors of text to this treatment]
  • Wilson, K.L. and L.A.S. Johnson† (2001) The genus Juncus (Juncaceae) in Malesia and allied septate-leaved species in adjoining regions. Telopea 9(2): 357-397.
  • DIVERSITAS (2000) Implementing the GTI: Recommendations from DIVERSITAS core programme element 3, including an assessment of present knowledge of key species groups. 22 pp. (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA /4/INF6) [KLW member of the expert panel that wrote this report]
  • Wilson, K.L. and D.A. Morrison (eds) (2000) Monocots: Systematics and Evolution(CSIRO: Melbourne)
  • Jacobs, S.W.L. and K.L. Wilson (1996) Biogeographical analysis of the freshwater plants of Australasia. Australian Systematic Botany 9(2): 169-183.
  • K.L. Wilson (1997) New species of Cyperaceae in Western Australia. Nuytsia 11(2): 269-282.
  • K.L. Wilson (1996) Nomenclatural notes on Polygonaceae in Australia. Telopea 7(1): 83-94.
  • K.L. Wilson (1994) New taxa and combinations in family Cyperaceae in eastern Australia. Telopea 5(4): 589-625.
  • Wilson, K.L. (ed.) (1994) IOPI Global Plant Checklist Project Plan, version 1.2.
  • Wilson, K.L. (1993) Phormiaceae, Doryanthaceae, Juncaceae, Cyperaceae. Pp. 73-81, 266-396 in G.J. Harden (ed.), Flora of New South Wales, vol. 4. [Updated online since then as NSW Flora Online at]
  • K.L. Wilson (1992) A new species and a neotypification in Australian Tribulus (Zygophyllaceae). Telopea 5(1): 21-29.
  • Wilson, K.L. (1991) Systematic studies in Cyperus section Pinnati (Cyperaceae).Telopea 4(3): 361-496.
  • Wilson, K.L. (1990) Some widespread species of Persicaria (Polygonaceae) and their allies. Kew Bulletin 45: 621-636.
  • Johnson, L.A.S. and K.L. Wilson (1989) Casuarinaceae: a synopsis. Pp. 167-188 in P.R. Crane & S. Blackmore (eds), Evolution, systematics and fossil history of the Hamamelidae, vol. 2.
  • Wilson, K.L. and L.A.S.Johnson (1989) Casuarinaceae. Pp. 100-174 in A.S. George (ed.), Flora of Australia, vol. 3.
  • K.L. Wilson (1988) Polygonum sensu latu (Polygonaceae) in Australia. Telopea 3: 177-182.
  • Wilson, K.L. (1986) Alpine species of Cyperaceae and Juncaceae. Pp. 471-488 in B. Barlow (ed.), Origin and evolution of the Australasian alpine biota. (CSIRO/Brill: Melbourne)
  • Harborne, J.B., C.A.Williams and K.L. Wilson (1985) Flavonoids in leaves and inflorescences of Australian Cyperaceae. Phytochemistry 24: 751-766.
  • Wilson, K.L. (1981) A synopsis of the genus Scirpus sens. lat. in Australia. Telopea 2: 153-172.
  • K.L. Wilson (1980) Notes on some Australian species of Cyperaceae. Telopea 1: 457-467, pl. 26-27.