Bruce Kirchoff

Bruce Kirchoff

Professor Emeritus

(336) 334-4953
404 Eberhart Building


Plant morphology and development, systematics


Ph.D., Duke University


My research focuses on plant evolution from structural and developmental standpoints. My current work is focused on flower structure and development in the plant order Zingiberales, the order that contains the culinary gingers and bananas. I have also developed and am testing methods for improving the use of morphological characters in evolutionary studies. My past work includes the development of visual learning software for teaching plant identification. The software is now distributed by the Apereo foundation as part of their Image Quiz Project. A short video introduction to this work can be found here, with a longer introduction at this website.

Recent Publications:

Kirchoff B and Bruenn R (2018) How Do Banana Flowers Develop?. Front.
Young Minds. 6:60. doi: 10.3389/frym.2018.00060

Kirchoff, B. K. 2017. Inflorescence and flower development in Musa velutina H. Wendl. & Drude (Musaceae), with a consideration of developmental variability, restricted phyllotactic direction, and hand initiation. International Journal of the Plant Sciences 178: 259-272. DOI: 10.1086/691143. Dryad Digital Repository DOI: 10.5061/dryad.5j8p8

Kirchoff, B. K. 2016. An Experimental Test of a Biodynamic Method of Weed Suppression: The Biodynamic Seed Peppers. Organic Farming 2 (1): 17-20

Kirchoff, B. K. 2016. Algae, Fungi, & Higher Plant Life Cycles. PlantEd Digital Library

Kirchoff, B. K., P. Delaney, M. Horton and R. Dellinger-Johnston. 2014. Optimizing Learning of Scientific Category Knowledge in the Classroom: The Case of Plant Identification. CBE Life Sciences Education 13: 425-436 (DOI: 10.1187/cbe.13-11-0224)

Burrows, G., G. L. Krebs and B. K. Kirchoff. 2014. ‘Visual Learning – Agricultural Plants of the Riverina’ – a new application for helping veterinary students recognize poisonous plants. Bioscience Education DOI: 10.11120/beej.2014.00028

Kirchoff, B.K. and R. Claßen-Bockhoff. 2013. Inflorescences: Concepts, function, development and evolution. Annals of Botany 112: 1471-1476

Huang, S-S, Kirchoff, B.K., and J-P Liao. 2013. Effect of heat shock on ultrastructure and calcium distribution in Lavandula pinnata L. glandular trichomes. Protoplasma 250: 185-196.

Specht, C. D., Y. Roxana, A. M. Almeida, B. K. Kirchoff, W. J. Kress. 2012. Homoplasy, pollination, and emerging complexity during the evolution of floral development in the tropical gingers (Zingiberales). Botanical Review 78: 440–462.

Kirchoff, B. K., M. Nobis, and D. Remington. 2012. Secondary Woodiness and Paedomorphosis. In F. H. Schweingruber, A. Börner, and E-D Schulze, Atlas of Stem Anatomy in Herbs, Shrubs and Trees, Vol. 2. pp. 383-385. Springer, Hidelberg.

Kitin P, B. K. Kirchoff, B. Hardy, S. Du, and H. Beeckman. 2012. Wood Anatomy and Visual Identification Key for Central African Woods. Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium

Kuang, Y-F, Kirchoff, B. K. and J-P Liao.2012. Presence of the protruding oncus is affected by developmental stage and acetolysis technique. Grana DOI: 10.1080/00173134.2012.660984

Huang, S-S, Kirchoff, B.K., and J-P Liao. 2012. Effect of heat shock on ultrastructure and calcium distribution in Lavandula pinnata L. glandular trichomes. Protoplasma DOI 10.1007/s00709-012-0393-7

Kirchoff, B.K. 2011. Atlas of Stem Anatomy in Herbs, Shrubs and Trees (Review). Plant Science Bulletin 57: 114-118 (This is a peer-reviewed book review.)

Kirchoff, B.K., Leggett, R., Her, V., Morrison, J., and Poole, C. 2011. Principles of visual key construction – with a visual identification key to the Fagaceae of the southeastern United States. AoB Plants. 1-60. DOI 10.1093/aobpla/plr005.

Leggett, R. and Kirchoff, B.K. 2011. Image use in field guides and identification keys: review and recommendations. AoB Plants. 1-97. DOI 10.1093/aobpla/plr004.

Dulin, M.W. and Kirchoff, B.K. 2010. Paedomorphosis, Secondary Woodiness, and Insular Woodiness in Plants. Botanical Review (86 pages). DOI 10.1007/s12229-010-9057-5.

Huang, S-S., Liao, J-P. and Kirchoff, B.K. 2010. Calcium distribution and function in the glandular trichomes of Lavandula pinnata L. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 137:1-15.

Wang, H.-F., Kirchoff, B. K., Qin, H.-N., Zhu, Z.-X. 2009. Reproductive morphology of Sargentodoxa cuneata (Lardizabalaceae) and its systematic implications. Plant Systematics and Evolution 280: 207–217.

Kirchoff, B. K., L.P. Lagomarsino, W. H. Newman, M. E. Bartlett and C. D. Specht. 2009. Early floral development of Heliconia latispatha Benth., a key taxon for understanding the evolution of flower development in the Zingiberales. American Journal of Botany 96: 580-593.

Kuang, Yan-Feng, and B. K. Kirchoff, Yuan-Jiang Tang, Yuan-Hui Liang, and Jing-Ping Liao. 2008. Palynological characters and their systematic significance in Naucleeae (Cinchonoideae, Rubiaceae). Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 151: 123-135

Kirchoff, B. K., D. L. Remington, Lixin Fu, F. Sadri. 2008. A New Type of Image-Based Key. Proceedings of the International Conference on BioMedical Engineering and Informatics, 2008. BMEI2008. 1: 825-829. DOI 10.1109/BMEI.2008.301

Chen, S. H., J. P. Liao, M. Z. Luo, and B. K. Kirchoff. Calcium distribution and function during anther development of Torenia fournieri L. Annales Botanici Fennici 45: 195–203.

Huang, Shan-Shan, B. K. Kirchoff and Jing-Ping Liao. 2008. The Capitate and Peltate Glandular Trichomes of Lavandula pinnata L. (Lamiaceae): Histochemistry, Ultrastructure and Secretion. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 135: 155–167.

Baskauf, S. J. and B. K. Kirchoff.  2008. Digital plant images as specimens: Toward standards for photographing living plants. Vulpia 7: 16-30.

Xu, Feng-Xia, and B. K. Kirchoff. 2008. Pollen morphology and ultrastructure of selected species of Magnoliaceae. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 150: 140-153

Kirchoff, B. K. 2008. Woody Plants of the Southeastern United States : A Field Course on CD. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis , MO (ISBN: 978-1-930723-62-7)

Bartlett , M. E, B. K. Kirchoff and C. D. Specht. 2008. Epi-illuminescence microscopy coupled to in situ hybridization and its utility in the study of evolution and development in non-model species. Development Genes and Evolution

Liu, H., Kirchoff, B. K., Wu, G., Liao, J. 2007. Microsporogenesis and male gametogenesis in Jatropha curcas L. (Euphorbiaceae). Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 134: 335-343. Click here for a reprint in Adobe Acrobat format.

Kirchoff, B. K. 2007. Image Quiz: Using principles of cognitive psychology to teach visual expertise. 2007 UNC Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference Proceedings. I. The Advantage of Building Connections. Click here for a reprint in Adobe Acrobat format.

Kirchoff, B. K., S. J. Richter, and D. L. Remington. 2007. Characters as Groups: A New Approach to Morphological Characters in Phylogenetic Analysis. Taxon 56: 479-492. Click here for a reprint in Adobe Acrobat format

Complete list of publications in google scholar


Plant Diversity (BIO 322)
Plant Systematics (BIO 354)