UF/IFAS hires full time botanist to help the public with plant identification

Plant ID Service Announcement

Maling bamboo specimen from the UF HerbariumFor the first time in nearly three decades, the UF/IFAS Plant Identification and Information Service now has a full-time extension botanist. This new hire will help everyone (business & public) to identify plants and problems associated with them on a regular basis where before there was nowhere to go.

Marc Frank, who joined the Service on July 1, 2016, has extensive experience in identifying a wide variety of plant materials and is a specialist in providing botanical and horticultural information to a diverse clientele.

Marc participated in Florida Master Gardener training in Alachua County in 2002, and in 2005 he received a Master of Science degree in horticultural science from the University of Florida. As a graduate research assistant in the UF Environmental Horticulture program, he managed the floriculture variety trial gardens on the university campus. He worked for the UF Plant Identification and Information Service on a part-time basis from 2002 to 2008, and he managed the nursery at the Singapore Botanic Gardens from 2008 to 2011.

For the past five years, Marc has been a botanist at the Division of Plant Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, where he provided plant identification and information to state and federal nursery inspectors and provided outreach and education on plant species regulated by the Division. Marc has a particular interest in horticultural taxonomy—the classification and identification of cultivated plants—but he is also adept at identifying the diversity of native and weedy species found in Florida.

The UF/IFAS Plant Identification and Information Service, which is based in the University of Florida Herbarium, has been operating since 1927. Funding for the extension botanist positon is being provided by the Florida Museum of Natural History and the IFAS Dean of Extension. Using the Herbarium’s dried plant collections and extensive library, the Service provides authoritative plant identifications and botanical information (such as nativity, current distribution, invasiveness, regulatory status, and potential toxicity) to UF/IFAS extension and research faculty, master gardeners, and the general public. Identifications may be based on digital samples submitted through the Distance Diagnostic and Identification System (DDIS) , photos sent by email, or physical samples sent by mail. The current sample submission form and guidelines for submitting physical plant samples for ID may be found at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/sr/sr02400.pdf.

If you need help regarding your landscaping, we at Garden Services are fully licensed & insured to handle all your irrigation, landscaping, lawn maintenance and tree service needs whether it’s a residential, commercial landscaping or homeowner association property. If you ever have any comments or questions, please don’t hesitate to call or email me and I’ll be happy to answer any questions that you might have. Special thanks to UF/IFAS extension for some helpful information provided in this post. Until next month Happy Gardening!