Department of Geography and the Environment

Blanca León

Affiliated FacultyPh.D., Aarhus University, Denmark

Research Fellow
Blanca León


  • Phone: 512-475-6159
  • Office: Plant Resources Center, Main Building Rm 127, 110 Inner Campus Drive Stop F0404
  • Office Hours: by appointment
  • Campus Mail Code: C0930


biogeography, plant conservation


Blanca is a plant taxonomist by training. Her main research interests are plant diversity, Neotropical plant conservation, and biogeography. She is interested in the fern Andean flora, particularly in the family Polypodiaceae. She continues her work on compiling records on plant endemism in Peru for future evaluation of their conservation status.

Together with Kenneth R. Young (University of Texas), and several colleagues and students in Peru, are working on field evaluation of populations of some highly restricted species, like Orthopterygium huaucui see: "Evaluación del estado poblacional del huaucui y de las comunidades vegetales que integra"- León, Young & Roque 2013 Report to CI-APECO)

Blanca, as a co-author, and Dr. John H. Wiersema (USDA-ARS-PSI) completed a second edition of “World Economic plants. A standard reference” (CRC Press, 2013).  The initial work and all updates is searchable on-line (, and provides information for over 12500 plant species used worldwide.

In 2008, Blanca and Dr. Wiersema began working on a project on Crop Wild Relatives for important crops. The work continuous with Dr. Melanie Shori, and over 200 crops have been completed and the data is searchable at the USDA webpage (





P. H. Labiak, B. León & R. C. Moran. 2020. Campyloneurum atrosquamatum (Polypodiaceae), a new species from Amazonia. Brittonia 72:248–256.

C. K. Khoury, D. Amariles, J. S. Soto, M. V. Diaz, S. Sotelo, C. C. Sosa, J. Ramirez-Villegas, H. A. Achicano, J. Velasquez-Tibata, L. Guarino, B. León, C. Navarro-Racines, N. P. Castañeda-Alvarez, H. Dempewolf, J. H. Wiersema, A. Jarvis. 2019. Comprehensiveness of conservation of useful wild plants: An operational indicator for biodiversity and sustainable development targets. Ecological Indicators 98: 420–429.

C. Ulloa Ulloa, P. Acevedo-Rodríguez, S. Beck, M. J. Belgrano, R. Bernal, P. E. Berry, L. Brako, M. Celis, G. Davidse, R. C. Forzza, S. R. Gradstein, O. Hokche, B. León, S. León-Yánez, R. E. Magill, D. A. Neill, M. Nee, P. H. Raven, H. Stimmel, M. T. Strong, J. L. Villaseñor, J. L. Zarucchi, F. O. Zuloaga, P. M. Jørgensen. 2017. An integrated assessment of the vascular plant species of the Americas. Science 358(6370):1614–1617.(DOI: 10.1126/science.aao0398)

E. Schuettpelz, H. Schneider, A.R. Smith, P. Hovenkamp et al. (project organizers), B. León (collaborator). 2016. A community-derived classification for extant lycophytes and ferns. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 54: 563–603.

B. León & M. Kessler. 2013. Campyloneurum poloense. Phytotaxa 119:59—60. (

H. Vincent, J. Wiersema, S. Kell, H. Fiedler, S. Dobbie, N.P. Castañeda-Alvarez, L. Guarino, R. Eastwood,  B. León & N. Maxted. 2013. A prioritized crop wild relative inventory to help underpin global food security. Biological Conservation 167: 265–275.

B. León, C. Rothfels, M. Arakaki, K.R. Young & K. Pryer. 2013. Revealing a cryptic fern distribution through DNA sequencing: Pityrogramma trifoliata in the western Andes of Peru. American Fern Journal 103( Submitted Nov 2012. Accepted Feb 2013):40—48.

B. León. 2013. La cola de caballo (Equisetum, Equisetaceae) comercializada y exportada del Perú. Revista peruana de biología 19(3):341—34 2 [2012]

H. Trinidad, A. Cano & B. León. 2012. Thalictrum peruvianum (Ranunculaceae), una especie nueva de Lima, Perú. Revista peruana de biología 18(3):271—264 [2011]

B. León, K.R. Young, J. Roque & A. Cano. 2011. Nuevos registros de plantas de la zona alta del Parque Nacional Río Abiseo, Perú. Arnaldoa 17(1):51—83. [2010]

B. Gould, B. León, A.M. Buffen & L.G. Thompson. 2010. Evidence of a high-Andean, mid-Holocene plant community: an ancient DNA analysis of glacially preserved remains. American Journal of Botany 97:1579-1584.

B. León & K.R. Young. 2010. A fortuitous ant-fern association in the Amazon lowlands of Peru. Revista peruana de Biologia 17: 245-247.

B. León & A. Sagástegui. (2008) General overview of Tillandsia subgenus Tillandsia in Peru: The three pinnate species and the case of two endemic species. Revista peruana de Biología 15:25-30.

B. León, H. Beltrán. & P. Fine. 2005 Sobre el género Schizaea (Schizaeaceae) en el Perú. Revista peruana de Biología 12(1): 97-102.

B. León & A.R. Smith. 2003 New species and new combinations of Grammitidaceae from Peru. American Fern Journal.

B. León & H. Beltrán. 2002 A new Microgramma subgenus Solanopteris (Polypodiaceae) from Peru and a new combination in the subgenus. Novon 12: 481-485.

Curriculum Vitae

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  • Department of Geography and the Environment

    The University of Texas at Austin
    305 E. 23rd Street, A3100
    RLP 3.306
    Austin, TX 78712