Nancy T. Burbidge Medal

The Nancy Burbidge Medal is the highest award of the Australasian Systematic Botany Society

This award is named in honour of Nancy T. Burbidge, who was a remarkable Australian plant systematist that made numerous, substantial contributions to Australian plant taxonomy, conservation, herbarium curation, and botanical collections. She made over 12,000 collections which are lodged at over 27 institutions, including 7,000 at the Australian National Herbarium (CANB) alone. 

Nancy was initially remembered by the Society through the Nancy Burbidge Memorial Lecture, a presentation given by a prominent member of ASBS during the annual conference. In 2001 the Nancy T. Burbidge Medal was established as the highest award of the Australasian Systematic Botany Society to honour those who have made a longstanding and significant contribution to Australasian systematic botany, and the Nancy T. Burbidge Memorial Lecture is delivered in response to being awarded the medal. More information about Nancy Burbidge and History of the Medal can be found here.


Nominations for the Nancy Burbidge Medal can be presented to Council at any time. Nominees do not need to be Australasian or a member of ASBS, but their contributions should have a significant Australasian focus. The nomination must be proposed and seconded by at least two current ASBS members. 

Nominations comprise a formal letter, the curriculum vitae of the nominee, and the names of two referees who have agreed to provide additional written support if invited. The Council will review submissions prior to the annual conference and will confer the award on behalf of the Society.

Normally only one medal will be presented in any calendar year, although Council retains the right to deviate from this in exceptional circumstances. For example, two medals were awarded in 2003 and again in 2011 when the XVIII International Botanical Congress was held in Melbourne. Further, an award may not necessarily be made each year. The nominee must be living when Council decides to grant the award, but the medal may be awarded posthumously if they pass away before the presentation.

Past Recipients

2022Barbara L. Rye
2021Kevin R. Thiele
2020Wendy Nelson
2019Barry Conn
2018Ilse Breitwieser
2017Patrick J. Brownsey
2016Anthony (Tony) E. Orchard
2015Jack Elix
2014Peter H. Weston
2013Philip J. Garnock-Jones
2012Bruce R. Maslin
2011Michael D. Crisp
2011Pauline Y. Ladiges
2008Stephen D. Hopper
2005Barbara G. Briggs
2004Alexander S. George
2003Robert (Bob) S. Hill
2003David J. Mabberley
2001Judy G. West

Nancy Burbidge Lecture

Barbara L. Rye (2022) 1973–2022: Taxonomic Progress in Myrtaceae. ASBS Newsletter 193–194: 13 (mention only)

Kevin Thiele (2021) 50 years back and 25 forward: success and opportunities for taxonomy and biosysytematics in Australia. ASBS Newsletter 188: 16–20

Wendy Nelson (2020) New perspectives on species recognition and the distribution of non-indigenous marine microalgae in New Zealand. This lecture was delivered at the 2021 conference.

Barry Conn (2019) Paradise Lost, or not yet discovered. ASBS Newsletter 181: 5–8

Ilse Breitwieser (2018) Reflections on Trans-Tasman systematic botany connections. ASBS Newsletter 177: 4–14

Patrick J. Brownsey (2017) A social history of the fern in New Zealand. A public lecture covering this subject can be viewed here.

Anthony (Tony) E. Orchard (2016) Allan Cunningham: botanist, explorer, ecologist, geographer (and zoologist, geologist, plant geographer, anthropologist, agricultural consultant, linguist, and social commentator). ASBS Newsletter 168–9: 21–30

Gintaras Kantvilas (on behalf of Jack Elix) (2015) Jack Elix and Australian Lichenology. ASBS Newsletter 165: 33–43

Peter H. Weston (2014) Problems and progress in plant systematics since Nancy Burbidge. ASBS Newsletter 161: 31–34

Philip J. Garnock-Jones (2013) Sex and the land plant life cycle. ASBS Newsletter 157: 2931

Bruce R. Maslin (2012). A Nancy Burbidge Memorial Speech. ASBS Newsletter 153: 25–30

Michael D. Crisp (2011) Evolution of the Australian Flora.

Stephen D. Hopper (2008) Old Australian landscapes yield new perspectives on biodiversity evolution and conservation. ASBS Newsletter 136: 15–16 (Abstract)

Robert (Bob) S. Hill (2003) Fire, air, water and earth: elemental evolution of the Australian flora.

Judy G. West (2001) Future directions of systematics in Australia.

Andrew A. Burbidge (1999) Conservation of the biota of the megadiverse South-West Botanical Province of Western Australia. ASBS Newsletter 102: 25–33

Michael D. Bennett (1998) Genomic organization and systematics in the 21st Century.

Pauline Y. Ladiges (1996) Biogeography after Burbidge.

George A.M. Scott (1994) Cryptogams: the better investment. ASBS Newsletter 80: 13–18

Elizabeth M. Truswell (1993) Vegetation change in the Australian Tertiary in response to climatic and phytogeographic forcing factors. ASBS Newsletter 74: 10 

Roger Carolin (1990) There is one thing greater than armies: an idea whose time has come. ASBS Newsletter 65: 1–7

Richard (Dick) Schodde (1989) Origins, Radiations and Sifting in the Australasian Biota – Changing Concepts from New Data and Old. ASBS Newsletter 60: 2–11

Jim H. Willis (1988) Melbourne: a focal point for early botanical activity. ASBS Newsletter 56: 1–4

David E. Symon (1986) The diversity of Solanum fruits: a world survey. ASBS Newsletter 52: 1–7

Henry E. Connor (1985) The effect of Australian dicotyledons on the taxonomy of the Angiosperms. ASBS Newsletter 43: 1–15

Brain J. Grieve (1983) History of key to Flora of temperate Western Australia. ASBS Newsletter 39: 1–7

Harrold (Trevor) Clifford (1980) Seedlings and the Australian flora.

Selwyn L. Everist (1979) The Role of Herbaria in Australia today. Search 10: 308–311


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