Image of the Library Building

Matthew C. Pace

Assistant Curator, William and Lynda Steere Herbarium

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


New World Orchidaceae, especially Spiranthes, Pelexia, Platanthera, Cyclopogon, and Lepanthes; New World plant biogeography


New World Orchidaceae


As Assistant Curator to the Herbarium, I serve two complimentary roles: 1) Herbarium management and curation, and 2) Conduct original systematic research focusing on the megadiverse orchid family.

My duties as an herbarium manager include curation of the collections to reflect advances in systematic understanding, processing of newly collected and acquired specimens, giving tours of the herbarium to a vast number of different groups, and grant writing to support digitization and curatorial efforts.

My 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.), and Lepanthes (ca. 1000 spp.).

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

Selected Publications

Pace, M.C., and 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., S.L. Orzell, E.L. Bridges, and K.M. Cameron. 2017. Spiranthes igniorchis (Orchidaceae), a new and rare cryptic species from the south-central Florida subtropical grasslands. Brittonia. 69(3), 323-339. DOI 10.1007/s12228-017-9483-3

Pace, M.C., and K.M. Cameron. 2016. Reinstatement, Redescription, and Emending of Spiranthes triloba (Orchidaceae): Solving a 118 year old cryptic puzzle. Systematic Botany, 41(4): 924–939.

Spalink, D. B.T. Drew, M.C. Pace, J.G. Zaborsky, J.R. Starr, K.M. Cameron, T.J. Givnish, K.J. Sytsma. 2016. Biogeography of the cosmopolitan sedges (Cyperaceae) and the area-richness correlation in plants. Journal of Biogeography, doi: 10.1111/jbi.12802.

Pace, M.C., An updated description of the collections and history of The New York Botanical Garden Herbarium (NY): 1995–2015. Brittonia, 68(3): 317–323