Staff Spotlight

Norris H. Williams, Ph.D.

Norris Williams portraitCurator & Keeper of the Herbarium
Florida Museum of Natural History
106 Dickinson Hall
Museum Road & Newell Drive
GainesvilleFL 32611



Ph.D. Biology, University of Miami, 1971

Full C.V.

Phylogenetics of Maxillarieae

Phylogenetics of Oncidiinae

Florida Museum Herbarium


Concurrent Appointments

Affiliate Professor of Botany


Research Interests

My research concerns the systematics and evolution of Orchidaceae, with particular emphasis on Neotropical groups. Most of the work done in my lab involves molecular systematics of various genera and tribes of Orchidaceae. Research interests include: molecular systematics and phylogenetics, systematics and evolution of the Orchidaceae, chemistry of floral fragrances, pollination mechanisms in neotropical Orchidaceae, and attraction of euglossine bees to floral fragrances and pollination of aroids, gesneriads, and orchids by euglossine bees.



Kent Perkins - Herbarium Collection Manager

Mark Whitten - Senior Biological Scientist


Representative Publications

Neubig, K.M., W. M. Whitten, N.H. Williams, M. A. Blanco, L. Endara, J. G. Burleigh, K. Silvera, J. C. Cushman, & M. W. Chase. 2012. Generic recircumscriptions of Oncidiinae (Orchidaceae: Cymbidieae) based on maximum likelihood analysis of combined DNA datasets. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 168: 117–146.

Neubig, K.M., W. M. Whitten, M. A. Blanco, L. Endara, N.H. Williams, S. Koehler, & C. van den Berg. 2011. Preliminary molecular phylogenetics of Sobralia and relatives (Orchidaceae: Sobralieae). Proceedings of the Third Scientific Conference on Andean Orchids, Quito, Ecuador. Lankesteriana 11: 307-318.

Silvera, K., K. M. Neubig, W. M. Whitten, N.H. Williams, K. Winter,& J. C. Cushman. 2010. Evolution along the crassulacean acid metabolism continuum. Functional Plant Biology 37: 995–1010.

Gajdeczka, M. T., K. M. Neubig, W. S. Judd, W. M. Whitten, N.H. Williams, & K. D. Perkins. 2010. Phylogenetic analyses of the Gaylussacia frondosa complex (Ericaceae: Vaccinieae) based on molecular and morphological characters. J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 4(1): 245 – 260. 2010.

Endara L., Williams N.,& León-Yánez S. 2009. Patrones de endemismo de orquídeas endémicas ecuatorianas: perspectivas y prioridades para la conservación. Pp 63-70, In: Pridgeon, A. M., Suarez, J.P. (eds) Proceedings of the Second Scientific Conference on Andean Orchids. Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja. Loja, Ecuador.

Neubig, K., N.H. Williams, W.M. Whitten, & F. Pupulin. 2009. Molecular phylogenetics and the evolution of fruit and leaf morphology of Dichaea (Orchidaceae: Zygopetalinae). Annals of Botany 104: 457–467.

Blanco, M. A. G. Carnevali, W. M. Whitten, R. Singer, S. Koehler,N.H. Williams, I. Ojeda, K. Neubig, & L. Endara. 2007. Generic realignments in Maxillariinae (Orchidaceae). Lankesteriana 7(3): 515-537.

Williams, N.H., J. D. Ackerman, E. M. Fernández, & J. Llamacho. 2007. Antillanorchis: Its Rediscovery and Systematic Position. ORCHIDS 76: 856-858.

Whitten, W.M., M. A. Blanco, N.H. Williams, S. Koehler, G. Carnevali, R. B. Singer, L. Endara, & K. M. Neubig. 2007. Molecular Phylogenetics of Maxillaria and Related Genera (Orchidaceae: Cymbidieae) Based Upon Combined Molecular Data Sets. American Journal of Botany 94: 1860-1889.

Ionta G. M., W. S. Judd, N.H. Williams, & W. M. Whitten. 2007. Phylogenetic relationships in Rhexia (Melastomataceae): Evidence from DNA sequence data and morphology. International Journal of Plant Sciences 168: 1055-1066.

Blanco, M. A, W. M. Whitten, D. S. Penneys, N.H. Williams, K. M. Neubig, & L. Endara. 2006. A Simple And Safe Method For Rapid Drying Of Plant Specimens Using Forced-Air Space Heaters. Selbyana27: 83-87.

Zomlefer, W. B., Judd, W. S., Whitten, W. M., and Williams, N. H.2006. A synopsis of Melanthiaceae (Liliales), with focus on character evolution in tribe Melanthieae. In J. T. Columbus, E. A. Friar, J. M. Porter, L. M. Prince, and M. G. Simpson [eds.], Comparative biology of the monocotyledons: proceedings of the Third International Conference, pp. 566-578. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Claremont, California, USA.

Blanco, M. A., W. M. Whitten, N.H. Williams, and S. Koehler. 2006. Capillitial extrusion from fruits of Maxillaria nardoides (Orchidaceae: Maxillariinae). ORCHIDS (Lindleyana) 75: 685-691.

Whitten, W.M., M. A. Blanco, and N.H. Williams. 2006. Recircumscription of Pityphyllum (Orchidaceae: Maxillariinae). ORCHIDS (Lindleyana) 75:452-456.

Zomlefer, W.B., W.M. Whitten, N.H. Williams, and W.S. Judd. 2006. Infrageneric phylogeny of Schoenocaulon (Liliales: Melanthiaceae) with clarification of cryptic species based on ITS sequence data and geographical distribution. American Journal of Botany 93: 1178-1192.

Carlsward,B.S., W. M. Whitten, N.H. Williams, and B. Bytebie 2006. Molecular phylogenetics of Vandeae (Orchidaceae) and the evolution of leaflessness. American Journal of Botany 93: 770-786.

Williams, N.H., W.M. Whitten, and R. L. Dressler. 2005. Molecular systematics of Telipogon (Orchidaceae: Oncidiinae) and its allies: nuclear and plastid dna sequence data. Lankesteriana 5: 163-184.

Whitten, W.M., N.H. Williams, R. L. Dressler, G. Gerlach, and F. Pupulin. 2005. Generic relationships of Zygopetalinae (Orchidaceae: Cymbidieae): combined molecular evidence.Lankesteriana 5: 87-108.

Damián Loayza, M., N.H. Williams, and W M. Whitten. 2005. Phragmipedium kovachii: Molecular systematics of a new world orchid. Orchids 74: 132-137.

Chase, M. W., L. Hanson, V. A. Albert, W. M. Whitten, and N.H. Williams. 2005. Life history evolution and genome size in subtribe Oncidiinae (Orchidaceae). Annals of Botany 95: 191-199.

Dressler, R. L., Whitten, W. M., and N.H. Williams. 2004. Molecular systematics of Scaphyglottis and related genera (Orchidaceae).Brittonia 56: 58-66.

Carlsward, B. S., W. M. Whitten, and N.H. Williams. 2003. Molecular phylogenetics of neotropical leafless Angraecinae (Orchidaceae): reevaluation of generic concepts. International Journal of Plant Sciences 164(1): 43-51.

Koehler, S., N.H. Williams, W.M. Whitten, and M.E. do Amaral. 2002. Phylogeny of the Bifrenaria (Orchidaceae) complex based on morphology and sequence data from nuclear rDNA internal transcribed spacers (ITS) and chloroplast trnL-F region.International Journal of Plant Sciences 163:1055-1066.

Williams, N.H., M. W. Chase, and W. M. Whitten. 2001. Phylogenetic position of Miltoniopsis, Caucaea, a new genus, Cyrtochiloides, and relationship of Oncidium phymatochilum based on nuclear and chloroplast dna sequence data (Orchidaceae: Oncidiinae). Lindleyana 16: 272-285.

Zomlefer, W.B., N.H. Williams, W.M. Whitten, and W.S. Judd. 2001. Generic circumscription and relationships in the tribe Melanthieae (Liliales, Melanthiaceae), with emphasis on Zigadenus: evidence from ITS and trnL-F sequence data. American Journal of Botany 88: 1657-1669.

Williams, N.H., M. W. Chase, T. Fulcher, and W. M. Whitten. 2001. Molecular systematics of the Oncidiinae based on evidence from four DNA sequence regions: expanded circumscriptions ofCyrtochilum, Erycina, Otoglossum, and Trichocentrum and a new genus (Orchidaceae). Lindleyana 16: 113-139.

Whitten, W. M., N.H. Williams, and M. W. Chase. 2000. Subtribal and generic relationships of Maxillarieae (Orchidaceae) with emphasis on Stanhopeinae: Combined molecular evidence.American Journal of Botany 87:1842-1856.

Williams, N.H. and W.M. Whitten. 1999. Molecular phylogeny and floral fragrances of male euglossine bee pollinated orchids: a study of Stanhopea. Plant Species Biology 14: 129-137.

Rodríguez Caballero, R.L., D.E. Mora, M.E. Barahona, and N.H. Williams. 1986. Géneros de Orquídeas de Costa Rica. Editorial Universidad de Costa Rica. 334 pp. In addition to my work on the Spanish botanical portion of the text, I translated the work into English.