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Grace, Olwen M.

Photo of Olwen Grace
Job title: 

Research Assistant to Head of Sustainable Uses Group

Sustainable Uses
Joined Kew: 


Foreign languages: 


Qualifications and appointments: 
  • BSc (Hons), University Natal, 1999
  • MSc, University Natal, 2002
  • PhD University of Pretoria, 2009

Research into the systematics and conservation of useful plants in Africa

My research interest is in the classification and conservation of useful plants in Africa, combining systematics with ethnobotany and conservation biology. Recent studies have focussed on Aloe (Xanthorrhoeaceae), a group of great economic and cultural importance and taxonomic complexity. Improved understanding of both classification and use patterns in Aloe will help to address the utility potential of some species and conservation concerns for others.

I also assist the Head of the Sustainable Uses Group in delivering the research objectives of the team with a geographic focus on Africa, engaging with our varied collaborators to gather data and disseminate information. I contribute to teaching the Kew-University of Kent MSc in Ethnobotany.

Selected publications: 

Grace, O.M., Dzajic, A., Jäger, A.K., Nyberg, N.T., Onder, A. & Rønsted, N. (2013) Monosaccharide analysis of succulent leaf tissue in Aloe. Phytochemistry 93: 79-87 Available online

Grace, O.M., Klopper, R.R., Smith, G.F., Crouch, N.R., Figueiredo, E., Rønsted, N., Van Wyk, A.E. (2013) A revised generic classification for Aloe (Xanthorrhoeaceae subfam. Asphodeloideae). Phytotaxa 76: 7-14

Grace, O.M. (2011) Current perspectives on the economic botany of the genus Aloe L. (Xanthorrhoeaceae). South African Journal of Botany 77: 980-987 Available online

Grace, O.M., Simmonds, M.S.J., Smith, G.F. & Van Wyk, A.E. (2009) Documented utility and biocultural value of Aloe L. (Asphodelaceae): a review. Economic Botany 63: 167-178 Available online