Dr. Jianhua Li

Associate Professor of Biology
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Dr. Jianhua Li joined the Hope biology faculty in 2009 after workingas a senior research scientist at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University for 10 years. He is currently on the executive committee of MiCOB (Michigan Consortium of Botanists) and the editorial board of the Journal of Systematics and Evolution.

Dr. Li works on plant systematics of various plant groups that are distributed mainly in the Northern Hemisphere, with a focus on those that show a disjunct distribution between the Old and New Worlds. He has taught several courses at Hope, including:


Dr. Li is interested in understanding the taxonomy, phylogenetic relationships, classification, biogeography and evolution of important traits of various plant groups. He has used data from morphology, anatomy, chemistry and molecular biology to study plant groups such as conifers, maples, birches, lilacs and privets, and witch-hazels.


  • Postdoctorate, plant systematics, Harvard University, 1998
  • Ph.D., plant biology, University of New Hampshire, 1997
  • M.S., plant biology, Huazhong Normal University, 1987
  • B.S., biology, Henan Normal University, 1984


  • Sargent Fellow of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, 2015
  • Michigan Space Grant (PI), 2013
  • Hope College Faculty Development Grants,  2011–2014
  • Michigan Botanical Foundation (PI), 2011
  • Hanes Foundation (PI), 2010
  • Michigan Botanical Foundation (PI), 2010
  • International Lilac Society Research grant (PI), 2008–2010
  • Assoc. Editor of the Journal of Systematics and Evolution, 2007–present
  • NSF: Tree of Life of Gymnosperms (co-PI), 2006–2010
  • Member of the Executive Committee of Michigan Botanist Consortium, 2004–present
  • Member of the Editorial Committee of Arnoldia, 2003–2009
  • Affiliate Assistant Professor (University of New Hampshire), 2000–2007
  • Adjunct Professor (University of Maine), 1999–2004

Selected Publications

See full citations and additional publications in Digital Commons.

  • “The Tree of Life: China Project,” with Zhi-Duan Chen et al., Journal of Systematics and Evolution, 54 (4), 2016
  • “Tree of life for the genera of Chinese vascular plants,” with Zhi-Duan Chen et al., Journal of Systematics and Evolution, 54 (4), 2016
  • “Global versus Chinese perspectives on the phylogeny of the N-fixing clade,” with Hong-Lei Li et al., Journal of Systematics and Evolution, 54 (4), 2016
  • “Phylogenetics and biogeography of Apios (Fabaceae) inferred from nuclear and plastid genes,” with J. Jiang, Z. Chen, A. Homkes, H. Vander Stel, J. Corajod and K.Brown, International Journal of Plant Science 175, 2014
  • “Molecular systematics and biogeography of Wisteria inferred from nucleotide sequences of nuclear and plastid genes,” with J. Jiang, C. Fu and S. Tang, Journal of Sysematics and Evolution, 52, 2014
  • “Diversification of the phaseoloid legumes: effects of climate change, range expansion and habit shift,” with H. Li, W. Wang, L. Lin, X. Zhu, X. Zhu and Z. Chen, Frontiers in Plant Science, 4, 2013
  • “Phylogenetics and biogeography of Theaceae based on sequences of plastid genes,” with M. Li, P. Del Tredici, J.Corajod and C. Fu, Journal of Systematics and Evolution, 51, 2013
  • “Development of microsatellite markers for the dove tree, Davidia involucrata (Nyssaceae), a rare endemic from China,” with Y. Du, Q. Dai, L. Zhang, Y. Qiu and C. Fu, American Journal of Botany, e206-e209, 2012
  • “Generic limits of Pyrinae: insights from ribosomal DNA sequences,” with Q. Li, W. Liao, W. Guo and J. Macklin, Botanical Studies, 53, 2012
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Dr. Jianhua Li

Phone Number616.395.7460

Schaap Science Center Room 3017 35 East 12th Street Holland, MI 49423-3605
A map showing the location for Dr. Jianhua Li Schaap Science Center Room 3017 35 East 12th Street Holland MI 49423-3605