Core research interests

phylogenetic systematics • origin and maintenance of species boundaries • evolution and functional significance of plant traits, especially relating to resource acquisition • radiation of the Cape flora • community assembly and species coexistence • monographic research

Ehrharta, Danthonieae (Poaceae) • Schoeneae, especially Tetraria (Cyperaceae) • Jamesbrittenia (Scrophulariaceae) • Thesium (Santalaceae)

Professional career

1989-1992     BSc (Hons), Cape Town
1993-1995     MSc, Cape Town
1995     Curatorial Assistant, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
1996-2000     PhD, Cape Town
2000-2001     Postdoctoral fellow, University of Missouri-Saint Louis
2002-2006     Lecturer, University of Cape Town
2007-     Senior lecturer, University of Cape Town
Undergraduate teaching

At undergraduate level, I currently teach modules in vascular and flowering plant diversity, evolutionary ecology and comparative evolutionary methodology. At honours level, I teach a broad range of systematics topics, including species concepts, phylogeny inference, phylogeography and macroevolutionary analysis.

Postgraduate students


Mr Jasper Slingsby (PhD) Project: Patterns of fine-scale coexistence and niche differentiation in Cape graminoids.

Mr Matthew Britton (MSc) Project: Phylogeography of the high altitude sedge Tetraria triangularis (Cyperaceae).

Timothy Moore (MSc): Nutritional niches and the evolution of specialized foraging traits in the genus Thesium (Santalaceae).

Vera Hoffmann (MSc): Disentangling the history of the Cape flora using multiple phylogenetic and geospatial data sets.

Megan Yates (MSc, co-supervisor): The physiological significance of culm structures in fynbos plants.

Simon Power (MSc, co-supervisor): Phosphorus acquisition in fynbos legumes and non-legumes.


Ms Tracey Nowell (PhD, 2008) Project: Speciation pattern and process in Adromischus, Coyledon and Tylecodon (Crassulaceae).

Mrs Margaret Herron (MSc, 2006) Project: Phylogenetics and evolution of Jamesbrittenia (Scrophulariaceae).

Mr Jack Henning (MSc, 2003) Project: Phylogeny and evolution of Melianthus (Melianthaceae).

Postgraduate fellows


Mr Yanis Bouchenak-Khelladi (PhD) Project: C4 grass diversification: why, when and where?


Cramer, M D, H-J Hawkins and G A Verboom. 2009, published online. The importance of nutritional regulation of plant water flux. Oecologia. DOI 10.1007/s00442-009-1364-3.

Bouchenak-Khelladi, Y, G A Verboom, T R Hodkinson, N salamin, O Francois, G N Chonghaile and V Savolainen. 2009, Published online. The origins and diversification of C4 grasses and savanna-adapted ungulates. Global Change Biology. DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.01860.x.

Verboom, G A, J K Archibald, F T Bakker, D U Bellstedt, F Conrad, L L Dreyer, F Forest, C Galley, P Goldblatt, J F Henning, K Mummenhoff, H P Linder, A M Muasya, K C Oberlander, V Savolainen, D A Snijman, T van der Niet and T L Nowell. In press 2009. Origin and diversification of the Greater Cape flora: Ancient species repository, hot-bed of recent radiation, or both? Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 51: 44-53.

Verboom, G A, L L Dreyer and V Savolainen. 2009. Understanding the origins and evolution of the world's biodiversity hotspots: the biota of the African 'Cape Floristic Region' as a case study. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 51: 1-4.

Muasya, A M, D A Simpson, G A Verboom, P Goetghebeur, R F C Naczi, M W Chase and E Smets. 2009. Phylogeny of Cyperaceae based on DNA sequence data: current progress and future prospects. The Botanical Review 75: 2-21.

Cramer M D, V Hoffmann and G A Verboom. 2008. Nutrient availability moderates transpiration in Ehrharta calycina. New Phytologist 179: 1048-1057.

Pirie, M D, A M Humphreys, C Galley, N P Barker, G A Verboom, D Orlovich, , S J Draffin, K Lloyd, C M Baeza, M Negritto, E Ruiz, J H Cota Sanchez, E Reimer and H P Linder. 2008. A novel supermatrix approach improves resolution of phylogenetic relationships in a comprehensive sample of danthonioid grasses. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 48: 1106-1119.

Trinder-Smith, T H, H P Linder, T van der Niet, G A Verboom and T L Nowell. 2007. Plastid DNA sequences reveal generic polyphyly within Diosmeae (Rutoideae, Rutaceae). Systematic Botany 32: 847-855.

Barker, N P, C Galley, G A Verboom, P Mafa, M Gilbert and H P Linder. 2007. The phylogeny of the austral grass subfamily Danthonioideae: evidence from multiple data sets. Plant Systematics and Evolution 264: 135-156.

Hempson, G P, E C February and G A Verboom. 2007. Determinants of Colophospermum mopane growth form in arid savannas. Austral Ecology 32: 429-435.

Slingsby, J. A. and G. A. Verboom. 2006. Phylogenetic relatedness limits coexistence at fine spatial scales: evidence from the schoenoid sedges (Cyperaceae: Schoeneae) of the Cape Floristic Region, South Africa. The American Naturalist 168: 14-27.

Linder, H. P., T. Dlamini, J. Henning and G. A. Verboom. 2006. The evolutionary history of Melianthus (Melianthaceae), an enigmatic southern African shrub. American Journal of Botany 93: 1052-1064.

Verboom, G. A., R. Ntsohi and N. P. Barker. 2006. Molecular phylogeny of African Rytidosperma-affiliated danthonioid grasses reveals generic polyphyly and convergent evolution in spikelet morphology. Taxon 55: 337-348.

Verboom, G. A. 2006. A phylogeny of the schoenoid sedges (Cyperaceae: Schoeneae) based on plastid DNA sequences, with special reference to the genera found in Africa. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 38: 79-89.

Verboom, G. A., H. P. Linder and W. D. Stock. 2004. Testing the adaptive nature of radiation: growth form and life history divergence in the African grass genus Ehrharta (Poaceae: Ehrhartoideae). American Journal of Botany 91: 1364-1370.

Stock, W. D., D. K. Chuba and G. A. Verboom. 2004. Distribution of South African C3 and C4 species of Cyperaceae in relation to climate and phylogeny. Austral Ecology 29: 313-319.

Verboom, G. A., H. P. Linder and W. D. Stock. 2003. Phylogenetics of the grass genus Ehrharta Thunb.: evidence for radiation in the summer-arid zone of the South African Cape. Evolution 57: 1008-1021.

Verboom, G. A., W. D. Stock and H. P. Linder. 2002. Determinants of postfire flowering in the geophytic grass Ehrharta capensis. Functional Ecology 16: 705-713.

Verboom, G. A. and H. P. Linder. 1998. A re-evaluation of species limits in Chaetobromus (Danthonieae: Poaceae). Nordic Journal of Botany 18: 57-77.

Linder, H. P., G. A. Verboom and N. P. Barker. 1997. Phylogeny and evolution in the Crinipes group of grasses. (Arundinoideae: Poaceae). Kew Bulletin 52: 91-110.

Linder, H. P. and G. A. Verboom. 1996. Generic limits in the Rytidosperma (Danthonieae: Poaceae) complex. Telopea 6: 597-627.

Verboom, G. A., H. P. Linder and N. P. Barker. 1994. Haustorial synergids - an important character in the systematics of danthonioid grasses (Arundinoideae: Poaceae). American Journal of Botany 81: 1601-1610.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith