I am a botanist with the Illinois Natural History Survey. Professionally, I am a plant systematist (taxonomist), which means that I study how plants are classified and related to each other. I am also interested in natural areas in Illinois, especially prairies, and in botanical gardens and arboreta. The photograph on the right was taken by my daughter Amanda in a prairie. The plants with the large leaves are called "Prairie Dock;" the Latin name is quite a mouthful: Silphium terebinthinaceum, which belongs to the sunflower family (Asteraceae or Compositae) The background on my homepage is based on a color slide of the leaves of Prairie Dock and of Compass Plant, Silphium laciniatum.
Here are quick links to webpages that I have developed or made significant contributions.
I am an avid photographer and take many photographs of plants, nature, and gardens. A few digitized images can be accessed below.
Kenneth R. Robertson,
Illinois Natural History Survey
607 East Peabody Drive
Champaign, IL 61820 USA
Due to budget cuts, my office phone has been disconnected and it is best to contact me by e-mail. However you may leave a message with a secretary at
1971-1976, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Assistant Curator
1976-1980, Illinois Natural History Survey, Assistant Botanist
1980-1984, Illinois Natural History Survey, Associate Botanist
1984-present, Illinois Natural History Survey, Botanist
1982-present, University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, Department of Plant Biology, Member of the Graduate Faculty
My research specialty is plant systematics (taxonomy). I am especially interested in the classification and evolutionary relationships of the rose family (Rosaceae), especially the apple subfamily (Rosaceae subfamily Maloideae), the pigweed family (Amaranthaceae), and the genus Jacquemontia of the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae). I am also interested in the preservation of natural areas in Illinois and rare and endangered species. Several recent projects have involved hill prairies in Illinois.
Click here to see a list of grants and contracts.
- Journal articles, reports, books, and other publications
- The Tallgrass Prairie in Illinois
- Other Web Site Publications
I am a co-author of a book published in 1995 entitled "Illinois Wilds," which has 160 color photographs as well as text describing 15 different major habitats in Illinois; it was published by Phoenix Press but is now distributed by the University of Illinois Press.
SEMINARS AND PRESENTATIONS
Each year, I spend considerable time conducting field work in natural areas in Illinois, and I give frequent presentations on the state's native plants, prairies, natural areas, and plant photography. I also give presentations about some of my travels to other parts of the United States, England, the island of Madeira, Jamaica, and Brazil.
Here is the projector setup that I normally use for presentations. This consists of two 35mm slide projectors that project two images side-by-side on a large screen.
Click here to see a list of presentations given since 1994.
COMMITTEES AND SUCH
It seems that I am always on too many committees, but here are a few current ones. I serve as a consultant to the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission and am a member of the Technical Advisory Committee for Plants to the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board. At the University of Illinois, I am a faculty advisor to the International Agriculture Students Association, a member of the Access Advisory Committee at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and am on the Advisory Committee on International Student Affairs under the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs.
- American Society of Plant Taxonomists. Currently, I am editor of the ASPT Newsletter, which is available electronically from the Society's homepage
- Botanical Society of America
- Grand Prairie Friends of Illinois
- Illinois Native Plant Society
- National Wildflower Research Center
- Royal Horticultural Society
- Southern Appalachian Botanical Club
"Systematics of Flowering Plants", Integrative Biology 335
A neat project entitled Grocery Store Botany, which was prepared by Britt Wilms, a student in PB260
Note: I retired June 30, 2008! However, I will still have my office at the Illinois Natural History Survey and plan to come in regularly. However, it may take me longer to respond to e-mails, and I may forward some inquiries on to other INHS staff.
Please e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: 30 June 2008