Dr Chris Thorogood

My research broadly centres on evolutionary genetics, plant taxonomy and biodiversity hotspots. Specifically, I am interested in speciation and adaptive radiations in cryptic parasitic and carnivorous plant groups, as well as taxonomic diversity in biodiversity hotspots including the Mediterranean Basin region and Japan. My research examines fundamental processes using molecular tools, with a specific focus on:

  • host specificity in parasitic plants and how this can drive speciation
  • novel ecological processes driving speciation and adaptive radiation in tropical carnivorous Nepenthes pitcher plants
  • taxonomic circumscription of the Mediterranean Basin and Japanese floristic regions.

I am also responsible for Public Engagement linked to research at the Botanic Garden and Arboretum in collaboration with the Department of Plant Sciences.

Chris won a scholarship in 2005 to carry out his PhD research on speciation in parasitic plants at the University of Bristol, for which he won the Irene Manton Prize for botany in 2009. Chris is a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London.

Featured publications

Chomicki G, Thorogood CJ, Naikatini A, Renner SS. 2019. Squamellaria : Plants domesticated by ants. PLANTS, PEOPLE, PLANET 1(4):302-305.


Thorogood CJ, 2019. Oxygyne: An extraordinarily elusive flower. Plants, People, Planet. 


Box F, Thorogood C, Hui Guan J, 2019. Guided droplet transport on synthetic slippery surfaces inspired by a pitcher plant. Journal of the Royal Society, Interface 16(158):20190323.


Thorogood CJ, Bougoure JJ, Hiscock SJ. 2019. Rhizanthella : Orchids unseen. PLANTS, PEOPLE, PLANET 1(3):153-156.


Thorogood CJ, 2019. Oxygyne: An extraordinarily elusive flower. Plants, People, Planet. DOI: 10.1002/ppp3.26


Thorogood CJ, 2019. Hydnora: The strangest plant in the world? Plants People Planet. DOI: 10.1002/ppp3.9

Thorogood CJ, Dalton N, Irvine, A, Hiscock, SJ, 2018. The reproductive biology of two poorly known relatives of the fig (Ficus) and insights into the evolution of the fig syconium. Nordic Journal of Botany in press.     

Thorogood CJ, Bauer U, Hiscock SJ (2017). Convergent and divergent evolution in carnivorous pitcher plant traps. New Phytologist 217:1035-1041.

Thorogood CJ (2016) Field Guide to the wild flowers of the western Mediterranean. London: Kew Publishing.

Thorogood CJ (2014) Parasitic plants in the Algarve region of Portugal. Haustorium 65: 3-4.

Thorogood CJ, Hiscock SJ (2014) Field Guide to Wildflowers of the Algarve. London: Kew Publishing.

Allen AM, Thorogood CJ, Hegarty MJ, Lexer C, Hiscock SJ (2011) Pollen-pistil interactions and self-incompatibility in the Asteraceae: new insights from studies of Senecio squalidus L. (Oxford ragwort). Annals of Botany 108: 687-698.

Thorogood CJ, Hiscock SJ (2010) Compatibility interactions at the cellular level provide the basis for host specificity in the parasitic plant Orobanche. New Phytologist 186: 571–575.

Thorogood CJ, Hiscock SJ (2010). 'Host specificity and speciation in parasitic plants' in Rutgers (ed.), Phylogeography: Concepts, Intraspecific Patterns and Speciation Processes. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Thorogood CJ (2010). The Malaysian Nepenthes: Evolutionary and Taxonomic Perspectives. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Thorogood CJ, Hiscock SJ (2010). Specific developmental pathways underlie host specificity in the parasitic plant Orobanche. Plant Signaling and Behaviour 14: 5(3).

Thorogood CJ, Rumsey FJ, Hiscock SJ (2009). Seed viability determination in parasitic broomrapes (Orobanche and Phelipanche) using fluorescein diacetate staining. Weed Research 49: 461-468.

Thorogood CJ, Rumsey FJ, Harris S and Hiscock SJ (2009). Host-mediated gene flow in the parasitic angiosperm Orobanche minor (Orobanchaceae). Plant Systematics and Evolution 282: 31-42.

Thorogood CJ (2008). Host specificity and speciation in parasitic plants. Haustorium 54: 1-3.

Thorogood CJ, Rumsey FJ, Hiscock SJ (2008). Host-specific races in the holoparasitic angiosperm Orobanche minor: implications for speciation in parasitic plants. Annals of Botany 103: 1005-1014.

Thorogood CJ, Rumsey FJ, Harris S and Hiscock SJ (2008). Host driven divergence in the parasitic plant Orobanche minor sm. Molecular Ecology 17: 4289-4303.

Thorogood CJ, Hiscock SJ (2007). Host Specificity in the Parasitic Plant Cytinus hypocistis. Research Letters in Ecology 84234.