Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Peter H. Weston


Senior Principal Research Scientist


Science & Conservation


Plant Diversity



02 9231 8111


02 9251 7231

Research interests

  • systematics of Proteaceae, Orchidaceae, Fabaceae, Rutaceae, Lauraceae, Winteraceae
  • historical biogeography
  • evolutionary ecology
  • reproductive biology
  • co-evolution
  • history and philosophy of systematics


systematics phylogeny evolution Proteaceae Orchidaceae Fabaceae Rutaceae Lauraceae Winteraceae biogeography ecology co-evolution pollination philosophy

Current research projects

  • Phylogeny, biogeography and evolutionary ecology of the Proteaceae
  • Evolution and biogeography of selected taxa in the tribes Embothrieae, Roupaleae and Persoonieae (Proteaceae)
  • Systematics and comparative biology of the Diurideae (Orchidaceae)
  • Phylogeny of Australian Lauraceae
  • Historical biogeography of Australian and southern hemisphere floras 


  • 2014 Nancy Burbidge Medal, awarded by the Australasian Systematic Botany Society
  • 2014 ABRS-sponsored Winston Churchill Fellowship for an established career researcher in taxonomy, awarded by The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust
  • 2009 Grady L. Webster Structural Botany Publication Award for 2008 and 2009, awarded by the Botanical Society of America
  • 2006 Carrick Award for Australian University Teaching, awarded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council

Key publications

  • Thomas, N., Bruhl, J.J., Ford, A., & Weston, P.H. (2014) Molecular dating of Winteraceae reveals a complex biogeographic history involving both ancient Gondwanan vicariance and long-distance dispersal. Journal of Biogeography 41: 894-904.
  • Weston, P.H., Perkins, A.J., Indsto, J.O., & Clements, M.A. (2014) Phylogeny of Orchidaceae tribe Diurideae and its implications for the evolution of pollination systems. Pp. 91-154 in P. Bernhardt & Edens-Meier, R. (eds.) Darwin's Orchids: Then and Now (University of Chicago Press: Chicago).
  • Kooyman, R.M., Wilf, P., Barreda, V.D., Carpenter, R.J., Jordan, G.J., Sniderman, J.M.K., Allen, A., Brodribb, T.J., Crayn, D., Feild, T.S., Laffan, S.W., Lusk, C., Rossetto, M., & Weston, P.H. (2014) Paleo-Antarctic rainforest into the modern Old World tropics: the rich past and threatened future of the ‘southern wet forest survivors’. American Journal of Botany 101: 2121-2135.
  • Weston, P.H. (2014) What has molecular systematics contributed to our knowledge of the Proteaceae? Pp. 365-397 in P. Besse (ed.) Molecular Plant Taxonomy: Methods and Protocols, Methods in Molecular Biology, vol. 1115 (Springer: New York).
  • McIntosh, E., Rossetto, M., Weston, P.H., & Wardle, G. (2014) Maintenance of strong morphological differentiation despite ongoing natural hybridization between sympatric species of Lomatia (Proteaceae). Annals of Botany 113: 861-872.
  • Jordan, G.J., Brodribb, T.J., Blackman, C.J., & Weston, P.H. (2013) Climate drives vein anatomy in Proteaceae. American Journal of Botany 100: 1483-1493.
  • Weston, P.H. & Hill, R.S. (2013) Southern (austral) ecosystems. Pp. 612-619 in S.A. Levin (ed.) Encyclopedia of Biodiversity second edition, vol. 6 (Academic Press: Waltham, MA).
  • Milner, M.L., Rossetto, M., Crisp, M.D., & Weston, P.H. (2012) The impact of multiple biogeographic barriers and hybridization on species-level differentiation. American Journal of Botany 99: 2045–2057.
  • Mast, A.R., Milton, E.F., Jones, E.H., Barker, R.M., Barker, W.R., & Weston, P.H. (2012) Time-calibrated phylogeny of the woody Australian genus Hakea (Proteaceae) supports multiple origins of insect-pollination among bird-pollinated ancestors. American Journal of Botany 99: 472-487.
  • Byrne, M., Steane, D., Joseph, L., Yeates, D., Jordan, G.J., Crayn, D., Aplin, K., Cantrill D., Cook, L.G., Crisp, M.D., Keogh, J.S., Melville, J., Moritz, C., Porch, N., Sniderman, J.M.K., Sunnucks P., & Weston, P.H. (2011) Decline of a biome: evolution, contraction, fragmentation, extinction and invasion of the Australian mesic zone biota. Journal of Biogeography 38: 1635–1656.
  • Crisp, M.D., Arroyo, M.T.K., Cook, L.G., Gandolfo, M.A., Jordan, G.J., McGlone, M.S., Weston, P.H., Westoby, M., Wilf, P., & Linder, H.P. (2009) Phylogenetic habitat conservatism on a global scale. Nature 458: 754-758.
  • Sauquet, H., Weston, P.H., Anderson, C.L., Barker, N.P. Cantrill, D.J., Mast, A.R., & Savolainen, V. (2009) Contrasted patterns of hyperdiversification in Mediterranean hotspots. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. 106: 221-225.
  • Mast, A.R., Crystal L. Willis, C.L., Jones, E.H., Downs, K.M., & Weston, P.H. (2008) A smaller Macadamia from a more vagile tribe: Inference of phylogenetic relationships and divergence times in Macadamia and relatives (tribe Macadamieae; Proteaceae). American Journal of Botany 95: 843-870.
  • Jordan, G.J. Weston, P.H., Carpenter, R.J., Dillon, R.A. & Brodribb, T.J. (2008) The evolutionary relations of sunken, covered, and encrypted stomata to dry habitats in Proteaceae. American Journal of Botany 95:521-530.
  • Staedler, Y.M., Weston, P.H. & Endress, P.K. (2007) Floral phyllotaxis and floral architecture in Calycanthaceae (Laurales). International Journal of Plant Sciences 168: 285-306.
  • Barker, N.P., Weston, P.H., Rutschmann, F. & Sauquet, H. (2007) Molecular dating of the 'Gondwanan' plant family Proteaceae is only partially congruent with the timing of Gondwanan break-up. Journal of Biogeography 34: 2012-2027.
  • Weston, P.H. (2007) Proteaceae. Pp. 364-404 in K. Kubitzki (ed.) Families and Genera of Vascular Plants Volume IX (Springer Verlag: Berlin).
  • Weston, P.H. & Barker, N.P. (2006) A New Suprageneric Classification of the Proteaceae, with an Annotated Checklist of Genera. Telopea 11(3): 314-344.
  • Indsto, J.O., Weston, P.H., Clements, M.A., Dyer, A.G., Batley, M. & Whelan, R.J. (2006) Pollination of Diuris maculata (Orchidaceae) by male Trichocolletes venustus bees. Australian Journal of Botany 54: 669-679.
  • Rymer, P.D., Whelan, R.J., Ayre, D.J. & Weston, P.H. (2005) Reproductive success and pollinator effectiveness differ in common and rare Persoonia species (Proteaceae). Biological Conservation 123: 521-532.
  • Mant, J., Brown, G.R. & Weston, P.H. (2005) Opportunistic pollinator shifts among sexually deceptive orchids indicated by a phylogeny of pollinating and non-pollinating thynnine wasps (Tiphiidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 86: 381-395.
  • Jordan, G.J., Dillon, R.A. & Weston, P.H. (2005) Solar radiation as a factor in the evolution of scleromorphic leaf anatomy in Proteaceae. American Journal of Botany 92: 789-796.
  • Bernhardt, P., Sage, T., Weston, P.H., Azuma, H., Lam, M., Thien, L.B., & Bruhl, J. (2003) The pollination of Trimenia moorei (Trimeniaceae): floral volatiles, insect/wind pollen vectors, and stigmatic self-incompatibility in a basal angiosperm. Annals of Botany 92: 445-458.
  • Thien, L.B., Sage, T.L., Jaffré, T., Bernhardt, P., Pontieri, V., Weston, P.H., Malloch, D., Azuma, H., Graham, S.W., McPherson, M.A., Rai, H.S., Sage, R.F., & Duprey, J.-L. (2003) The population structure and floral biology of Amborella trichopoda Baillon (Amborellaceae). Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 90(3): 466-490.
  • Mant, J.G., Schiestl, F.P., Peakall, R., & Weston, P.H. (2002) A phylogenetic study of pollinator conservatism among sexually deceptive orchids. Evolution 56: 888-898.
  • Barker, N.P., Weston, P.H., Rourke, J.P., & Reeves, G. (2002) The relationships of the southern African Proteaceae as elucidated by internal transcribed spacer (ITS) DNA sequence data. Kew Bulletin 57: 867-883.
  • Kores, P.J., Molvray, M., Weston, P.H., Hopper, S.D., Brown, A., Cameron, K.M., and Chase, M.W (2001) A phylogenetic analysis of Diurideae (Orchidaceae) based on plastid DNA sequence data. American Journal of Botany 88: 1903-1914.
  • Weston, P.H. (2000) Process morphology from a cladistic perspective. Pp. 124-144 in R. Scotland & T. Pennington (eds.) Homology and Systematics: Coding Characters for Phylogenetic Analysis (Taylor & Francis: Basingstoke).
  • Savolainen, V., Fay, M.F., Albach, D.C., Backlund, A., van der Bank, M., Cameron, K.M., Johnson, S.A., Lledo, M.D., Pintaud, J.-C., Powell, M., Sheahan, M.C., Soltis, D.E., Soltis, P.S., Weston, P., Whitten, W.M., Wurdack, K.J., & Chase, M.W., (2000) Phylogeny of the eudicots: a nearly complete familial analysis based on rbcL gene sequences. Kew Bulletin 55: 257-309.
  • Bernhardt, P. & Weston, P.H. (1996) The pollination ecology of Persoonia (Proteaceae) in eastern Australia. Telopea 6: 775-804.
  • Crisp, M.D., Linder, H.P. & Weston, P.H. (1995) Cladistic biogeography of plants in Australia and New Guinea: congruent pattern reveals two endemic tropical tracks. Systematic Biology 44: 457-473.
  • Crisp, M.D. & Weston, P.H. (1995) Mirbelieae. Pp. 245-282, in J.J. Doyle and M.D. Crisp (eds.) Advances in Legume Systematics Part 7: Phylogeny (Royal Botanic Gardens: Kew).
  • Weston, P.H. (1994) The Western Australian species of subtribe Persooniinae (Proteaceae: Persoonioideae: Persoonieae). Telopea 6: 51-165. 
  • Weston, P.H. (1994) Methods for rooting cladistic trees. Pp. 125-155, in D.J. Siebert, R.W. Scotland and D.M. Williams (eds.) Models in Phylogeny Reconstruction (Oxford Univ. Press: Oxford).
  • Weston, P.H. & Crisp, M.D. (1994) Cladistic biogeography of Waratahs and their allies (Embothrieae: Proteaceae) across the Pacific. Australian Systematic Botany 7: 225-249.
  • Crisp, M.D. & Weston, P.H. (1993) Geographic and ontogenetic variation in morphology of Australian waratahs (Telopea: Proteaceae). Systematic Biology 42: 49-76.
  • Weston, P.H. & Crisp, M.D. (1991) Alloxylon (Proteaceae), a new genus from New Guinea and eastern Australia. Telopea 4: 497-507.
  • Weston, P.H. (1988) Indirect and direct methods in systematics. Pp. 27 56 in C.J. Humphries (ed.) Ontogeny and Systematics (Columbia Univ. Press: New York).
  • Crisp, M.D. & Weston, P.H. (1987) Cladistics and legume systematics, with an analysis of the Bossiaeeae, Brongniartieae and Mirbelieae. Pp. 65 130, in C.H. Stirton (ed.) Advances in Legume Systematics Part 3 (Royal Botanic Gardens: Kew).
  • Weston, P.H., Carolin, R.C. & Armstrong, J.A. (1984) A cladistic analysis of Boronia Sm. and Boronella Baill. (Rutaceae). Australian Journal of Botany 32: 187 203.
  • Craw, R.C. & Weston, P.H. (1984) Panbiogeography: a progressive research program? Systematic Zoology 33: 1 13.