Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences [Department of Plant Biology and Pathology]

Dr. Lena Struwe

Contact Information

Mailing Address

Rutgers University
Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources
Department of Plant Biology & Pathology
Foran Hall/ Cook Campus
59 Dudley Rd. New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Campus Location

Office: Room 237 Foran Hall, 848-932-6343
Lab: Room 237 Foran Hall, 848-932-6345
Read my C.V.

Research Interest s

I am investigating tropical plant diversity, evolution, and biogeography based on evolutionary reconstructions using morphological and molecular data. Incorporation of data from many sources (ecology, geography/GIS, museum collections, geology and molecular data) has enabled us to answer many types of questions in the areas of assessment of threatened species, classification and evolution, dispersal and vicariance in historical speciation, and evolution of particular morphological, anatomical, molecular, or chemical characters.

My research focus is mainly angiosperms, flowering plants, especially plants from the order Gentianales and its families: Apocynaceae (dogbanes and milkweeds), Gelsemiaceae (Carolina jessamine), Gentianaceae (gentians), Loganiaceae (strychnine family), and Rubiaceae (coffee, quinine and madder family). Much of my recent work has focused on the classification and phylogeny of the families Gentianaceae and Loganiaceae. The gentian family is also the focus of my research in floral and fruit development and anatomy, especially in the evolution of calyx and corolla, stamen morphology, fruit types, and pollination syndromes.

I also work with ethnobotany, people's uses of plants, both in a historical and contemporary context with the main focus being medicinal plants. I am part of the Global Institute for BioExploration (GIBEX) and have worked with plants and collaborators from many countries (for example; Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Peru, Philippines, South Afri ca, Sweden, Uzbekistan, and Venezuela). My main focus in this area is 1) documentation of existing ethnobotanical knowledge, especially in Gentianaceae, 2) contemporary ethnobotany in United States, and 3) sustainable and ethical bioprospecting for medicinal plants in developing countries (especially Central Asia, Latin America, and Africa).


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Rutgers Affiliations

  1. Struwe Website
  2. Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources
  3. Plant Biology Graduate Program
  4. Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolution
  5. Chrysler Herbarium
  6. ICBG Central Asia web pages
  7. Evolution at Rutgers

Other Affiliations


Dr. Lena Struwe joined the department in 2001 and was promoted to associate professor in 2007. She holds a joint appointment with the Department of Ecology, Evolution & Natura l Resources and is the Director for the Chrysler Herbarium.