Robert F. Thorne (July 13, 1920 – March 24, 2015) was an American botanist. He was taxonomist and curator emeritus at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and professor emeritus at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. His research has contributed to the understanding of the evolution of flowering plants.
Thorne was born on July 13, 1920, at Spring Lake, New Jersey. He was educated through high school in Gulfport and St. Petersburg, Florida. He graduated summa cum laude in 1941 with a major in botany from Dartmouth College and earned his M.S. degree in economic botany in 1942 at Cornell University. He spent about three years serving in the armed forces during World War II, first at Hondo Navigation School, Texas, graduating as a second lieutenant in aerial navigation in 1943. Then, after 7 months in Italy in 1944 as a B-24 bomber navigator with 40 missions over eastern and southern Europe, he served as an instructor and as an examinations officer at Ellingt