Image of the Library Building

Matthew C. Pace

Assistant Curator, William and Lynda Steere Herbarium

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin, 2015


Orchidaceae, especially Spiranthes, Goodyerinae, Pelexia, Platanthera, Cyclopogon, Lepanthes, and Microchilus; Plant biogeography



Research Projects

Digitizing “endless forms”: Facilitating Research on Imperiled Plants with Extreme Morphologies (NSF TCN)

Bringing Asia to digital life: mobilizing underrepresented Asian herbarium collections in the US to propel biodiversity discovery (NSF TCN) Link:

Securing and Sharing Biocultural Diversity Collections at The New York Botanical Garden (NSF Capacity) Link:


As Assistant Curator to the Herbarium, Matthew Pace serves two complementary roles: 1) Herbarium management and curation, and 2) Conduct original systematic research focusing on the megadiverse orchid family.

Matthew’s duties as Herbarium Manager include curation of the collections to reflect advances in systematic understanding, facilitate the use of the Herbarium, giving tours of the herbarium to a vast number of different groups, and grant writing to support digitization and curatorial efforts.

His research interests focus on the Orchidaceae: their evolution, relationships, morphology, taxonomy, and biogeography. My research incorporates field, molecular, and herbarium approaches to understand speciation and biodiversity, test patterns of apparent hybridization, clarify biogeographic history, and identify the conservation needs of New World Orchidaceae. Current genera of focus include Spiranthes (ca. 35 spp.), Pelexia (ca. 65 spp.), Cyclopogon (ca. 70 spp.), Platanthera (ca. 200 spp.), Microchilus (ca. 145 spp.), and Lepanthes (ca. 1000 spp.), and subtribe Goodyerinae (ca. 710 spp.).

Field research and collecting has covered much of eastern North America. Matthew has a particular interest in Florida and the Atlantic Coastal Plain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas. He also eagerly collaborates with citizen scientists in the finding and monitoring of orchid populations, and the gathering of material.

Selected Publications

Pace, M.C. 2023. Independent origins of Spiranthes ×kapnosperia (Orchidaceae) and their nomenclatural implications. PhytoKeys, 226: 89–100.

Pace, M.C. 2021. Spiranthes bightensis (Orchidaceae), a new and rare cryptic hybrid species endemic to the U. S. Mid-Atlantic Coast. Phytotaxa, 498 (3): 159–176.

Pace, M.C. 2020. A recircumscription of Goodyera (Orchidaceae), including the description of Paorchis gen. nov., and resurrection of Cionisaccus, Eucosia, and Salacistis. Brittonia, 72: 257–267.

Pace, M. C., G. Giraldo, J. Frericks, C.A. Lehnebach, & K.M. Cameron. 2018 on-line first, in print 2019. Illuminating the systematics of the Spiranthes sinensis species complex (Orchidaceae): ecological speciation with little morphological differentiation. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 189: 36–62.

Pace, M.C. & K.M. Cameron. 2017. The systematics of the Spiranthes cernua species complex (Orchidaceae): Untangling The Gordian Knot. Systematic Botany, 42: 640–669.

Pace, M.C., N. Tarnowsky, E.D. Block, A. Weiss, C. Zimmerman, & B.M. Thiers. 2016. An updated description of the collections and history of The New York Botanical Garden Herbarium (NY): 1995–2015. Brittonia, 68: 317–323.

Spalink, D., B.T. Drew, M.C. Pace, J.G. Zaborsky, P. Li, K.M. Cameron, & K.J. Sytsma. 2015. Evolution of geographical place and niche space: patterns of diversification in the North American sedge (Cyperaceae) flora. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 95:183–195.