• Adaptations of plants to azonal (unusual) soils, especially serpentines
  • Nickel hyperaccumulation in serpentine plants
  • Evolution of tolerance to serpentine soils 




  • Speciation in serpentine endemic plants
  • Taxonomy of Streptanthus (Section Euclisia, Cruciferae)
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Art's Passion
Art’s passion for plants is seen in his four-acre home garden, now incorporated and preserved as the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden, in Shoreline, Washington. With his wife Mareen, the garden has become an outstanding botanical collection and has great aesthetic value to the community.



  • Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA
  • Stanford University, Stanford, CA
  • Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO 
  • Occidental College, LA, CA


Arthur Rice Kruckeberg, born 21 March, 1920 in Los Angeles, fell in love with the plant world at an early age. He immersed himself in local flora and ornamental plants for gardens all during his school years. After earning his Bachelor of Arts degree with honors (Phi Beta Kappa initiate) at Occidental College in 1939, he began graduate studies in botany at Stanford University. World War II intervened and Art became a Japanese Language Officer in the US Navy. All during the war years, Art found opportunities to pursue studies of plant life in the Pacific theatre (Hawaii, the Mariannas, the Philippines, and in Japan). After the war, with the aid of the G.I. Bill, Art earned his Ph.D. degree at the University of California (Berkeley) in 1950; his thesis on serpentine ecology and evolution started him on 50 years devotion to the ecology of serpentines and other “kooky” habitats worldwide. So in 1950, Art began his 50 years tryst with the University of Washington, starting as a lowly instructor and finally as emeritus professor of botany in 1989.

During this long career at UW, Art devoted himself to a variety of endeavors: He taught general botany and biology, plant evolution, and a course in ornamental plants. He served as chair of Botany for seven years (1971-1977) and carried on research in plant ecology and evolution, with many publications on these topics. Public service has been an important part of his career: adult education (field trips, lectures, short courses), published articles for the general public and a strong commitment to regional conservation. In the latter arena, he aided the state in establishing a Natural Area Program, served on boards of The Nature Conservancy and other conservation groups. Art was a cofounder in 1976 of the Washington Native Plant Society. Besides numerous research papers, he has written several books, all of which are in reach of the general public.