Skip to main content

You are here

Facebook icon
Pinterest icon
Twitter icon

Klitgard, Bente B.

Photo of Bente Klitgaard
Job title: 

Senior Research Botanist & Assistant Curator

Regional Teams
Joined Kew: 


Foreign languages: 

Danish (mother tongue), English (fluent), Spanish (fluent), Portuguese (working), German (understand), French (understand).

Qualifications and appointments: 
  • Bifag (BSc equivalent), Biology, Univ. of Aarhus, Denmark, 1985.
  • Cand. Scient. (MSc equivalent), Bioloby, Univ. of Aarhus, Denmark, 1990.
  • PhD, Univ. of Aarhus, 1995.
  • Marie Curie Research Fellow (Kew) (1993–1995).
  • Honorary Research Associate (Kew) (1998–1999).
  • Director's Research Assistant (Kew) (1999–2001).
  • Honorary Research Associate (Kew) (2001–2008).
  • IUCN-SSC, Tropical Tree Specialist Group (1999–).
  • Systematic Botany - Associate Editor (2010–).
  • Systematics Association - SRF Awards Secretary (2010–).
  • Nordic Phylogenetics Network, founding committee member (1992–2001).
  • Elected member of the board of education, Institute of Biological Sciences, AU (1984–1985); 1985 as vice chair.
  • Founding member of Nepenthes (Danish foundation for the protection of tropical rain forests) (1982–1993) 1990–93 editor of the journal Regnskov published quarterly.

Role: research; teaching morphology, taxonomy and plant identification; science communication; and herbarium management and curation.

Neotropical Plant Biodiversity – discovery, taxonomy, evolution, and conservation

The Neotropics is the most species-rich region on Earth, estimated to contain a third of flowering plant species. Large Neotropical areas remain undiscovered while habitats are destroyed. Targeted research efforts are needed to better understand Neotropical biodiversity. My systematic and taxonomic research is focussed on the Detarioid and Dalbergioid legumes centred in the Neotropics and includes fieldwork, monography and floristics, and evolution combining morphological and molecular data sets to solve evolutionary questions. My current research focus is the poorly understood genus Pterocarpus with 20-40 woody species, used for medicine, reforestation, timber, and ornamentals. Neotropikey, a Kew-lead collaborative project, publishes online identification tools for Neotropical flowering plants ( I manage the development of electronic keys and family webpages. In Bolivia, I manage the BES component of the DARWIN Initiative-funded project “Future Forests: Livelihoods and sustainable forest management in Bolivian Amazon” (

Selected publications: 

Bruneau, A., Klitgaard, B.B., Prenner, G., Fougére-Danezan, M. & Tucker, S. (2014). Floral evolution in the Detarieae (Leguminosae): phylogenetic evidence for labile floral development in an early-diverging legume lineage. International journal of Plant Science 175(4): 392-417.

Klitgaard, B.B., Forest, F., Booth, T.J. & Saslis-Lagoudakis, C.H. (2013). A detailed investigation of the Pterocarpus clade (Leguminosae: Dalbergieae): Etaballia with radially symmetric flowers is nested within the papilionoid-flowered Pterocarpus. South African Journal of Botany 89: 128-142.

Klitgaard, B.B. (2012). Catoferia, Chaunostoma, Lepechinia, Salvia, Teucrium. In: Flora Mesoamericana 4(2), Rubiaceae to Verbenaceae, ed. G. Davidse, M. Sousa S., S. Knapp & F. Chiang, pp. 363-364, 391-392, 396-424, 450-451. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.

Saslis-Lagoudakis, C.H., Klitgård, B.B., Forest, F., Francis, L., Savolainen, V., Williamson, E.M. & Hawkins, J.A. (2011). The Use of Phylogeny to Interpret Cross-Cultural Patterns in Plant Use and Guide Medicinal Plant Discovery: An Example from Pterocarpus (Leguminosae). PLoS ONE 6(7): e22275.

Milliken, W., Klitgaard, B. & Baracat, A. (2010). Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.