Daisie Huang

I've been interested in plants throughout my life. How could I not, with parents who love plants enough to have given me two floral names? I fell in love with California's native flora while working for the California Institute for Biodiversity during my college years. I earned a bachelor's degree in plant genetics at UC Berkeley, and while Donald Kaplan's plant morphology course was my favorite class there, it didn't occur to me until much later to pursue a career in botany.

After graduating from UC Berkeley with degrees in plant genetics and computer science, I spent four years working as a software engineer at Apple Computer. While I've since left the software world for the exciting world of botany, it turns out computers are very useful for botanical research as well. I find myself writing a lot of scripts to aid my research, and I maintain an interest in programming as it relates to botany. I've fallen in love with Filemaker Pro; it helps me to sift through the massive amounts of data generated by both herbaria and by molecular research.

However, my current interests lie more in systematics and population genetics. For my dissertation research, I am investigating speciation patterns in the rapidly evolving species complexes of perennial Lupinus in California. Lupinus albifrons and Lupinus excubitus, while separated geographically, are difficult to differentiate in the field. In addition, there are interesting morphologically distinct subspecies of L. excubitus in the Transverse Ranges. I plan to characterize the relationships of these subspecies to the two main species, as well as investigate speciation processes involved in the evolution of closely related endemic taxa.

Awards and Honors

  • California Native Plant Society: G. Ledyard Stebbins Award for research in evolutionary botany, 2006.
  • Southern California Botanists: SCB Annual Grant, 2007.
  • CNPS Bristlecone Chapter: Mary DeDecker Botanical Grant, 2007.
  • Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden: Goldhamer Scholarship, 2006-2007.


  • Huang, Daisie, and Elizabeth A. Friar (2007). Phylogenetics in three groups of perennial Lupinus in California. Presented at Botany and Plant Biology Joint Congress, Chicago, IL.
  • Huang, Daisie, Lucinda A. McDade, and Elizabeth A. Friar (2007). Chloroplast inheritance in Lupinus. Poster presented at Botany and Plant Biology Joint Congress, Chicago, IL.
  • Cruse-Sanders, Jennifer, Elizabeth A. Friar, Kathy Parker, Daisie Huang, and Alejandro Casas (2007). Geographically based analysis of genetic diversity in wild, managed and cultivated populations of the columnar cactus Stenocereus stellatus in Central Mexico. Poster presented at Botany and Plant Biology Joint Congress, Chicago, IL.