I was first introduced to Ledebouria during undergrad at the University of Arkansas. At the time, I had no idea what the plant was called (L. socialis I later learned) but I knew that it very easy to propagate and the leaves were wonderfully spotted with green and silver. It was after graduation, while working at the Huntington, that I would come learn more about this group and all the mystery that surrounded it.
My PhD research is primarily focused on resolving the relationships within Ledebouria with a special focus on determining the monophyly of the group as well as testing the monophyly of Drimiopsis and Resnova, which are two closely related taxa that have been lumped into Ledebouria. These clades are found in the Scilloideae (formerly Hyacinthaceae but now considered a subfamily of Asparagaceae). For my research I will include specimens from across the distribution of the group, which will then provide me with a large molecular data set that will result increase our ability to obtain a robust and well resolved phylogeny. With this phylogenetic framework, I can then investigate questions related to character evolution, historical biogeography, and genome evolution. Investigations into the historical biogeography of Ledebouria is especially interesting since it is the only group to have dispersed out of Africa. Chromosome evolution in this group is also interesting since they exhibit a wide range of ploidy levels (n = 6-24). Additionally, determining ploidy levels for each group will aid in species delimitation, and allow us to further investigate instances of polyploidization and hybridization, which I suspect is common in this group.
See below for pictures of some of the plants I have growing in the greenhouse.