Staff Profile

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Nancy Hensold

Tropical Plant Scientist

Keller Science Action Center
Identification Tools

Nancy processes and identifies Neotropical vascular plant collections, in conjunction with the Action Center's Rapid Biological Inventories in South America. She also maintains the Neotropical Herbarium Specimens website, a plant identification tool for non-specialists, and pursues original research on tropical Pipeworts (Eriocaulaceae).

Recent Blog Posts

Additional Information


Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1986


Selected Publications

Hensold, N. 1988.  Morphology and Systematics of Paepalanthus subg. Xeractis (Eriocaulaceae). Syst. Bot. Monogr. 23: 1-150.

Giulietti A.M. & N. Hensold. 1990. Padrões de distribuição geográfica dos gêneros de  Eriocaulaceae. (Patterns of geographic distribution of the genera of Eriocaulaceae.) Acta Bot. Brasil. 4(1): 133-158.

Hensold, N. 1991.  Revisionary studies in the Eriocaulaceae of Venezuela. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 78: 424-440.

Hensold, N. & A. M. Giulietti. 1991.  Revision and redefinition of the genus Rondonanthus (Eriocaulaceae). Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 78: 441-459.

Giulietti, A.M. & N. Hensold. 1991. Synonymization of the genera Comanthera and Carptotepala with Syngonanthus (Eriocaulaceae).  Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 78: 460-464.

Dillon, M. O., A. Sagástegui, I. Sánchez V., S. Llatas Q., & N. Hensold. 1995.  Floristic inventory and biogeographic analysis of montane forests in northwestern Peru. pp. 251-270. In: S. Churchill, H. Balslev, E. Forero & J. Luteyn (eds.), Biodiversity and Conservation of Neotropical Montane Forests. Bronx, NY: The New York Botanical Garden.

Sagastegui A., A., S. Leiva, P. Lezama, M. Dillon, & N. Hensold. 1995 [1996.] Inventario Preliminar de la flora del Bosque Cachil. Arnaldoa 3(2): 19-34.

Hensold, N. 1996 [1997]. Paepalanthus subg. Xeractis (Eriocaulaceae): notes and nomenclatural changes. Phytologia 81(1): 24-27.  

Hensold, N. 1997 [1998].  Base de datos de especimenes para la investigacion y manejo de colecciones: un manual practico para usuarios de dBase® y WordPerfect®. Arnaldoa 4(2): 123-158.

Hensold, N. 1998. Eriocaulaceae. In: Dubs, B., ed. Prodromus Florae Matogrossensis, pp. 92-94. The Botany of Mato Grosso, ser. B, No. 3. Betrona Verlag, Kusnächt, Switzerland.

Hensold, N. 1998. Erythroxylaceae. In: Dubs, B., ed. Prodromus Florae Matogrossensis, pp. 94-97. The Botany of Mato Grosso, ser. B, No. 3. Betrona Verlag, Kusnächt, Switzerland.

Hensold, N. 1998.  Flora da Serra do Cipó, Minas Gerais: Paepalanthus subg. Xeractis (Eriocaulaceae). Bol. Bot. Univ.  São Paulo 17: 207-218.

Hensold, N. 1999. Eriocaulaceae. In: P. Berry, B. Holst, & K. Yatskievych, eds.  Flora of the Venezuelan Guayana, Vol. 5: 1-58. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis. 

Hensold, N. 1999 [2000]. Las angiospermas endémicas del Depto. de Cajamarca, Perú. Arnaldoa 6(2): 141-183.

Hensold, N. & B.E. Hammel. 2003. Eriocaulaceae. In: B.E.Hammel, M.H. Grayum, C. Herrera & N. Zamora (eds.), Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica. Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 92: 569-575.

Plowman, T. & N. Hensold. 2004. Names, types, and distributions of Neotropical species of Erythroxylum (Erythroxylaceae). Brittonia 56 (1): 1-53.

Hensold, N. 2004. Two new species and a new combination in South American Eriocaulaceae. Novon 14(3): 302-308.

Hensold, N. 2008. Eriocaulaceae. In: O. Hokche, P. Berry & O. Huber (eds.), Nuevo Catálogo de la Flora Vascular de Venezuela. Fundación Instituto Botánico de Venezuela, Caracas, pp. 735-741. 

Garwood, N.C., N. Hensold, & R.B. Foster. 2009. Appendix I: Revised Species List for Barro Colorado Island, with Synonyms, pp. 247-290, In: N. C. Garwood, Seedlings of Barro Colorado Island and the Neotropics. Cornell University Press, Ithaca & London.

Hensold, N., A.L.R. Oliveira & A.M. Giulietti. 2012. Syngonanthus restingensis (Eriocaulaceae): A remarkable new species endemic to Brazilian coastal shrublands. Phytotaxa 40: 1-11.

Giulietti, A.M., N. Hensold, L.R. Parra, M.J.G. Andrade, C. van den Berg & R. M. Harley. 2012. The synonymization of Philodice with Syngonanthus (Eriocaulaceae). Phytotaxa 60: 50-56.

Hensold, N. 2014. Eriocaulaceae. In: P. M. Jørgensen et al. (eds.) Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares de Bolivia. Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 127: 581-583.

Watanabe, M.T.C., L. Echternacht, N. Hensold & P. T. Sano. 2015. Two new and endangered species of Syngonanthus (Eriocaulaceae) from Chapada dos Veadeiros, Goiás, Brazil. Phytotaxa 212: 271-282.

Watanabe, M.T.C., N. Hensold & P. T. Sano. 2015. Tidying up the mess: lectotype selections, synonyms, a new status and a new species in Syngonanthus sect. Carphocephalus (Eriocaulaceae). Phytotaxa 226: 157-168.

Watanabe, M.T.C., N. Hensold & P.T. Sano. 2015. Syngonanthus androgynus, a striking new species from South America, its phylogenetic placement and implications for evolution of bisexuality in Eriocaulaceae. PLoS ONE 10(11):e0141187. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141187

Hensold, N. 2016. The Andean Paepalanthus pilosus complex (Eriocaulaceae): a revision with three new taxa. Phytokeys 64: 1-57.

Hensold, N. 2017a. The Eriocaulaceae of Peru: Three Taxonomic Novelties, and a Revised Checklist with Key. Fieldiana, Life and Earth Sciences 10: 1–25.

Hensold, N. 2017b. The Eriocaulaceae of Peru: Sample specimen photos to aid in identification. (Online supplement to Hensold 2017a).

Work experience

I’ve been working with the general identification of Neotropical flowering plants for the past 25 years, first with the Botany Department, studying project material from northern Peru. I now curate the “Neotropical Herbarium Specimens” website, which is an identification resource for neotropical botanists. I verify the identifications on our scanned specimens, and curate neotropical material in the main herbarium as needed. I also help identify plant collections from our RBI’s (Rapid Biological Inventories) in the Eastern Andes and upper Amazon basin.

I am a plant taxonomist, specializing in the family Eriocaulaceae, which occurs in wet, sunny, acidic habitats worldwide, but especially flourishes on Precambrian outcrop areas in South America. I’ve published two monographs, described 19 species, and authored some local floras and checklist treatments for Central and South America. I continue work on this family as a Research Associate.