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Darbyshire, Iain A.

Photo of Iain Darbyshire
Job title: 

Research Leader (Africa & Madagascar)

Identification and Naming
Joined Kew: 


Foreign languages: 

French (basic); Portuguese (basic)

Qualifications and appointments: 
  • BSc (Hons), Geography, Univ. Wales (Aberystwyth), 1997
  • PhD, Univ. Wales (Aberystwyth), 2001
  • East African Plant Red List Authority – Associate Member


I am responsible for developing research projects on the taxonomy, distribution and conservation of African plant species. My taxonomic research focuses upon the Acanthaceae (Acanthus and shrimp plant) family in Africa and Madagascar, with a particular interest in the species-rich genus Barleria. I also have a research interest in the application of plant species data, in particular herbarium collections-based research, to conservation planning and management. On this theme, I am currently co-ordinating Kew’s exciting new cross-departmental programme of work on Tropical Important Plant Areas (TIPAs). Working with our in-country partners, we will identify the most important sites for plant conservation on a national scale and will work to ensure that these findings are incorporated into policy development on conservation and land-use planning. As part of this work, we will conduct extensive field surveys, focusing on under-collected regions and on potential TIPAs for which contemporary data are lacking.

Selected publications: 

Darbyshire, I., Kordofani, M., Farag, I., Candiga, R. & Pickering, H. (2015). The Plants of Sudan and South Sudan. An annotated checklist. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 400 pp.

Romeires, M. M., Figueira, R., Duarte, M. C., Beja, P. & Darbyshire, I. (2014). Documenting biogeographical patterns of African timber species using herbarium records: A conservation perspective based on native trees from Angola. PLoS ONE 9(7): e103403. Available online

Tripp, E.A., Siti, F., Darbyshire, I. & McDade, L.A. (2013). Origin of African Physacanthus (Acanthaceae) via wide hybridisation. PLos ONE 8(1): e55677 Available online

Champluvier, D. & Darbyshire, I. (2012). Schaueriopsis: a new genus of Acanthaceae (Acanthoideae: Barlerieae) from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Plant Ecology and Evolution 145: 279–284. Available online

Darbyshire, I., Vollesen, K. & Ensermu Kelbessa (2010). Acanthaceae (part II). In H. Beentje (ed.) Flora of Tropical East Africa. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.