Dr Mark Spencer

Dr Mark Spencer

Senior Curator, British and Irish Herbarium

Department: Life Sciences
Division: LS Plants Division
Contact: email
Phone: +44 (0)20 7942 5787


Currently, my curatorial and research interests are focused upon environmental change and its impact upon the UK's flora, as well as investigating novel approaches to incorporating botanical data into the forensic investigative environment. I also have an interest in historic botany, particularly 17th and 18th century herbariums as well.as non-native invasive species. My life-long passion for plants was fueled by a childhood spent wandering the Lizard peninsula, Cornwall and the Northamptonshire countryside. In 1989 I moved to London to study Horticulture at Kew Gardens. My first degree was in Botany, and my PhD (both at the University of Reading) was on the systematics of Peronospromycetes (water mould fungi). I am committed to engaging with and educating the wider British public about the value and interest of Britain’s flora. My botanical interests are wide-ranging but currently are particularly focused on the historic and non-native floras of London and the Isles of Scilly. I am the Botanical Society of the British Isles vice-county recorder for Middlesex and the Vascular Plant Recorder for the London Natural History Society.



PhD - ‘Molecular phylogenies and systematics of the Peronosporomycetes’, University of Reading, United Kingdon, 1998 - 2002

Employment history


Senior Curator, British and Irish Herbarium, Natural History Museum, Life Sciences - Plants Division, United Kingdom, 2004 - ongoing


Calvo J, Spencer MA, Aedo C (2014) (2335) Proposal to conserve the name Senecio macrophyllus against S. orientalis (Compositae). Taxon, 63 (6): 1377 - 1378. doi: 10.12705/636.26

Calvo J, Spencer MA, Aedo C (2014) Lectotypification of names of Eurasian-African Senecio (Compositae). TAXON, 63 (2): 423 - 426.

JARVIS C, SPENCER M, HUXLEY R (2012) Sloane’s plant specimens at the Natural History Museum (with a supplementary account of Sloane’s fossils by Cyrille Delmer). , Walker A, MacGregor A, Hunter M, From Books to Bezoars - Sir Hans Sloane and his Collections., pp. 137 - 157. British Library. London.

RUMSEY FJ, SPENCER M (2012) Is Equisetum ramosissimum Desf. (Equisetaceae: Equisetophyta) Native to the British Isles?. Fern Gazette, 19 : 37 - 46.

Johnson KG, Brooks SJ, Fenberg PB, Glover AG, James KE, Lister AM, Michel E, Spencer M, Todd JA, Valsami-Jones E (2011) Climate change and biosphere response: unlocking the collections vault. Bioscience, 61 (2): 147 - 153. doi: 10.1525/bio.2011.61.2.10

Lister AM, Brooks SJ, Fenberg PB, Glover AG, James KE, Johnson KG, Michel E, Okamura B, Spencer M, Stewart JR, Todd JA, Valsami-Jones E, Young J (2011) Natural history collections as sources of long-term datasets. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 26 (3): 153 - 154. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2010.12.009

Grundmann M, Rumsey FJ, Ansell SW, Russell SJ, Darwin SC, Vogel JC, Spencer M, Squirrell J, Hollingsworth PM, Ortiz S, Schneider H (2010) Phylogeny and taxonomy of the bluebell genus Hyacinthoides, Asparagaceae [Hyacinthaceae]. TAXON, 59 (1): 68 - 82.

GRUNDMANN M, RUMSEY F, ANSELL SW, RUSSELL SJ, DARWIN SC, VOGEL JC, SPENCER M, Squirrell J, Hollingsworth P, Ortiz S, SCHNEIDER H (2010) Molecular phylogeny of bluebells, Hyacinthoides (Asparagaceae). Taxon, 59 : 68 - 82.

Brown JM, Brummitt RK, Spencer M, Carine MA (2009) Disentangling the bindweeds: hybridization and taxonomic diversity in British Calystegia (Convolvulaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 160 (4): 388 - 401. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00987.x

Brown JM, Brummitt RK, SPENCER M, CARINE MA (2009) Disentangling the bindweeds: hybridization and taxonomic diversity in Calystegia R.Br.. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 160 : 388 - 401.

SPENCER M, IRVINE LM, JARVIS CE (2009) Typification of Linnaean names relevant to algal nomenclature. Taxon, 58 (1): 237 - 260.

Compton JA, Culham A, SPENCER M (2008) Typification of the names of Cyclamen hederifolium Aiton, C. coum Miller, C. orbiculatum Miller, C. persicum Miller, C. purpurascens Miller and C. vernale Miller (Myrsinaceae). Cyclamen, : 75 - 83.

Martinez-Azorin M, Crespo MB, Spencer M (2006) Typification of names of taxa in Ornithogalum L. subg. Cathissa (Salisb.) Baker (Hyacinthaceae). TAXON, 55 (4): 1014 - 1018.

JARVIS CE, Reduron JP, SPENCER MA, CAFFERTY S (2006) Typification of Linnaean plant names in Apiaceae. Taxon, 55 (1): 207 - 217.

JARVIS CE, SPENCER M, CAFFERTY S (2005) Typification of Linnaean plant names in Ranunculaceae. Taxon, 54 (2): 467 - 471.

JARVIS CE (2003) The Linnaean Plant Name Typification Project. The Linnean Society Annual Report 2002, 109 (4): 15 - 17. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8339.1992.tb01447.x