About Robert W Patterson


(415) 338-1237




BiologyCollege of Science and Engineering

Office Hours: 

Monday: 10:15 am-11:15 am
Wednesday: 10:15 am-11:15 am

Office Hours (Additional Info): 

and by appt



At SF State Since:



B.A., Botany, 1969, University of California, Santa Barbara

Ph.D., Biology, 1975, University of California, Santa Barbara

Dr. Patterson teaches the following courses:

  • Plant Taxonomy (spring semesters)
  • Plant Anatomy (fall semesters, even years)
  • Plant Evolution & Diversity (fall semesters, odd years)
  • Introductory Biology II (fall semesters)
  • Flora of the Northern Sierra Nevada (last week of June at the SFSU Sierra Nevada Field Campus)
  • Plants & Human Affairs (occasional)

The Patterson Lab:
We are botanists. Our primary interests are systematic relationships among species within genera. Specifically we are focusing on genera of Polemoniaceae and Hydrophyllaceae (i.e., the hydrophylloid Boraginaceae). In this pursuit we maintain collaborative relationships with other labs who also focus on these groups. Polemoniaceae and Hydrophyllaceae have their centers of diversity in western North America, and are prime examples of arrays of evolutionary patterns — species-rich vs species-poor genera; rare vs widespread taxa; varying reproductive and ecological modes. We are centered on reconstructing phylogenies, using whatever data yield interesting results. Because many species of polemons and hydrophylls are sensitive/rare/endangered, we are also interested in conservation issues, particularly those dealing with the flora of California. Visit our web site for more information about specific projects.