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.

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:

Marc is looking forward to meeting with extension personnel and master gardeners from across the state to help you understand the process of plant identification and how to make the most of this service. He will be re-evaluating the forms and procedures used for submitting plant samples and for reporting identifications to clients, with the goal of improving the timeliness of identifications and information provided. Marc also plans to add to the horticultural and taxonomic publications available at the UF/IFAS Electronic Data Information Source (EDIS). Let him know if you are aware of topics that need to be covered. Marc is available to provide presentations on a variety of horticultural and botanical topics to master gardener groups throughout the state. Contact him at or (352) 273-1994 to schedule a presentation in your county.

Return to the August 2016 Neighborhood Gardener