Here you can read more about our research!

Our research focusses on using evolutionary methods to understand the origins of biodiversity with medicinal interest, as well as the processes that have shaped human knowledge around medicinal plants.


Evolution and Ethnobiology

Dobzhansky famously said that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”. Ethnobiology is no different, and evolutionary applications have made their way into the field in recent years.

Some lineages are richer in medicinal plants than others. We investigate phylogenetic patterns in medicinal plant use to explore the use of phylogenetic tools in the discovery of new plant medicines.

There are similarities in medicinal floras between geographic regions and cultures at different spatial scales. We utilise evolutionary methodologies to investigate cross-cultural patterns in medicinal plant use. We aim to provide new insights into how traditional knowledge of medicinal plants has evolved along human history.

We are interested in studying plants and traditional knowledge from all parts of the world.


Financial support for our research has been provided by the EU’s Seventh Framework for Research, the Australian Research Council, the Swiss National Science Foundation and the John Spedan Lewis Foundation. They are gratefully acknowledged for their support.

Natural History Museum of Denmark