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Gwynne Shimin Lim

PhD Candidate

, Cornell University
Ithaca, New York, 2010 - Present


Plant Systematics


Tacca, plant systematics, taxonomy, myiophily

Research locations

Southern China, Malesia


My doctoral dissertation research focuses on the systematics, taxonomy and reproductive biology of Tacca (Dioscoreaceae). The genus Tacca is a pantropical group of tropical acaulescent herbaceous plants, mostly found in lowland forest understories and areas where there is continual mild human disturbance, such as forest trails, tropical tree plantations, etc. One species, Tacca leontopetaloides, has some agricultural value for its starchy tubers, although prior processing is needed to remove toxic compounds. Some species, notably T. leontopetaloides, T. integrifolia, T. chantrieri and T. plantaginea have ethnobotanical utility and are the focus of current pharmacological research.

The flowers of Tacca are thermogenic in some species. This thermogenesis is tightly regulated with anthesis and floral position. I am currently testing my hypothesis that floral thermogenesis and movement are present only in species of Tacca that have elaborate visual displays in order to attract pollinators. These are absent in non-visually showy Tacca as they are predominantly selfing.

Selected Publications

G. S. Lim, M. R. Carvalho, S. M. Stuber, S. T. Gunner & J. L. Reveal (2013, April) A reconsideration of the typification of the Rafinesque generic names allied to Salix L. (Salicaceae). Rhodora 115: 170-190.

S. M. Stuber, G. S. Lim, S. T. Gunner, M. R. Carvalho & J. L. Reveal (2012, January) (2048) Proposal to reject the name Oisodix fulva (Salicaceae). Taxon 60(1): 257

M. R. Carvalho, G. S. Lim, S. T. Gunner, S. M. Stuber & J. L. Reveal (2012, January). Typification of various western North American species of Juglans (Juglandaceae). Phytoneuron 2012-7: 1 – 12.

S. T. Gunner, S. M. Stuber, M. R. Carvalho, G. S. Lim & J. L. Reveal (2011) (2038) Proposal to conserve Malaceae, nom. cons., against Amygdalaceae, nom. cons. (Magnoliophyta), a “superconservation” proposal. Taxon 60: 1776 – 1778.

G. S. Lim, M. Balke & R. Meier (2011) Determining Species Boundaries in a World Full of Rarity: Singletons, Species Delimitation Methods. Systematic Biology 60(1): 165 – 169.