George S. Ellmore

George S. Ellmore

Associate Professor
Draupner Ring Scholar
Department Vice Chair
Robinson Hall, Room 358
200 College Avenue, Medford, MA


  • Ph.D., Botany, University of California Berkeley, 1980


Experimental Plant Anatomy and Morphology

Research Interests

Graduate Research Area: Ecology, Behavior and Evolution and Global Change Biology

Biodiversity owes its origin and continued viability to plants. In my laboratory we use experimental plant anatomy and physiology to explore the relationship between plant tissues, development, and ability to interact with their environment. Students are encouraged to develop their own research topics, and as a result a wide range of species are studied in the lab. We have recently made use of international field stations, local greenhouse space, laboratory growth chambers, and collaborations to study root biology in tropical wetland plants, nutrient uptake in coastal sand dunes and freshwater wetlands, water transport in elm, seeding establishment in strangling fig, and tissue-specific gene expression in garlic. Topics are studied at three levels: tissue patterns in the mature plant organ, development of those patterns, and their biological significance in terms of functional advantages or constraints to the plant.

As an example, my departmental colleague Dr. Ross Feldberg and I have been collaborating in the study of gene expression in the underground storage leaf of garlic (Allium sativum). We have found that alliin lyase, the enzyme required to produce pharmacological and flavor compounds characteristic of garlic, concentrates in bundle sheath cells of this C-3 plant. A possible functional advantage to this arrangement is that volatile antifungal agents can be generated in that part of the plant responsible for reproduction, exposed longest to underground predators, and most susceptible to microbial attack. We continue to study the origin, targeting, and fate of alliin lyase throughout the life history of garlic, a useful subject for defining how underground storage organs can interact with their environment.

Selected Publications and Presentations

Ellmore, G.S., A. Zanne, and C.M. Orians. 2005. Structural determinants of environmental versatility in trees. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. in press.

Orians, C.O., M. van Vuuren, N.L. Harris, B.A. Babst, and G.S. Ellmore. Differential sectoriality in long-distance transport in temperate tree species: evidence from dye flow, 15-N transport, and vessel element pitting. Trees structure and function 18: 501-509.

Ellmore, G.S. Garlic: botany and anatomy. American Herbal Pharmacopeia. in press

Ellmore, G.S. 2001. Root growth, function, and economic importance. In Plant Sciences,
Volume 4. Macmillan. pp. 29-35.

Ellmore, G.S., Eric Milano, and Ross S. Feldberg. 2000. Navigating the clove: mapping bioactive compounds in garlic (Allium sativum). AHPA International Garlic Symposium - 2000.

Swagel, E., A.V.H. Bernhard, and G.S. Ellmore. 1997. Substrate water potential constraints on germination of the strangler fig Ficus aurea (Moraceae). American Journal of Botany 84: 716- 722.

Casado, C.M., and G.S. Ellmore. 1995. Allelopathic effects of Lantana camara (Verbenaceae) on morning glory (Ipomoea tricolor). Rhodora. 97: 264-274.

Ellmore, G.S., and R.S. Feldberg. 1994. Alliin lyase localization in bundle sheaths of the garlic clove (Allium sativum). American Journal of Botany. 81: 89-94.

Blowers, A.D., U. Klein, G.S.Ellmore, and L. Bogorad. 1993. Functional in vivo analyses of the 3'-flanking sequences of the Chlamydomonas chloroplast rbcL and psaB genes. Mol Gen. Genet. 238: 339-349.

Ellmore, G.S., W.E. Phair, C. Gill, and D. Skinner. 1991. Fluid delivery in injected ring-porous trees. In: Second Symp on Systemic Chemical Treatments in Tree Culture. MSU , pp 32-42.

Blowers, A.D., G.S. Ellmore, U. Klein, and L. Bogorad. 1990. Transcriptional analysis of endogenous and foreign genes in chloroplast transformants of Chlamydomonas. Plant Cell 2: 1059-1070.

DeMason, D.A., J.I. Stillman, and G.S. Ellmore. 1989. Acid phosphatase localization in seedling tissues of the palms Phoenixdactylifera andWashingtoniafilifera, and its relevance to controls of germination. Canadian Journal of Botany 67: 1103-1110.

Ellmore, G.S., W.E. Phair, C. Gill, and D. Skinner. 1988. Fluid delivery in injected ring-porous trees. Journal of Arboriculture. 14: 233-239.

Stegmann, E.W., R.B. Primack, and G.S. Ellmore. 1988. Absorption of nutrient exudates from terrapin eggs by roots of Ammophilabreviligulata (Gramineae). Canadian. J. Botany 66: 714- 718.

Ellmore, G.S. and W.E. Phair. 1987. Status of elm preservation in New England. Rhodora. 89: 27-33.

Ellmore, G.S. and F.W. Ewers. 1986. Fluid flow in the outermost xylem increment of a ring- porous tree, Ulmus americana. American Journal of Botany 73: 1771-1779.

Dobberteen, R.A., and G.S.Ellmore. 1986. Embryonic expression of shell dimorphism in Margarites vorticifera (Dall) Malacological Review. 19: 45-52.

Ellmore, G.S., and F. Ewers. 1985. Hydraulic conductivity in trunk xylem of elm, Ulmus americana. IAWA Bulletin n.s. 6: 303-307.

Phair, W.E., and G.S. Ellmore. 1984. Improved trunk injection for control of Dutch elm disease. Journal of Arboriculture. 10: 273-278.

Ellmore, G.S., S.C. Lee, and N.H. Nickerson. 1983. Plasticity expressed by root ground tissues of Rhizophora mangle L. (Red Mangrove). Rhodora 85: 397-404.

Ellmore, G.S. 1982. The organization and plasticity of plant roots. Proc. Scanning Electron Microscopy 1982: 1083-1102.

Ellmore, G.S. 1981. Root dimorphism in Ludwigia peploides: development of two root types from similar primordia. Botanical Gazette 142: 525-533

Ellmore, G.S. 1981. Root dimorphism in Ludwigia peploides (Onagraceae): structure and gas content of mature roots. American Journal of Botany 68: 557-568.

Ellmore, G.S., R. Strand, and W.M. Laetsch. 1980. Behavior in tissue culture of nitrogen-fixing root nodules of Ceanothus intergerrimus. Canadian Journal of Botany 58: 1121-1128.

Teaching/Courses Taught

ACL 7: Faculty Freshman Advising Seminar on Hawaii
Biology 10: Plants and Humanity
Biology 14: Organisms and Population
ENVFT 91: Seminar in Environmental Preservation and Improvement
Biology 108: Plant Development
Biology 118: Plant Physiology
ENVST 105: Flowers of the Alps (Taught in Talloires, France--Summer)