PSLA Facilities

Plant Sciences Building

Our research facilities are housed in the Plant Sciences building. State-of-the-art classrooms, lecture halls and studio accommodations establish an appropriate and inspiring work environment for the students. Individual student work stations include sophisticated drafting equipment and computer-aided design facilities.

Plant Sciences building

A wing of the building is dedicated to the Landscape Architecture Program and houses design critique space, a slide library, a model and construction shop, and faculty and staff offices.

The Plant Sciences Building also houses the Plant Sciences Teaching Theater complex, a new facility that includes a video conferencing room and a networked tele-classroom. The Teaching Theater is maintained by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

If you are having issues with your classroom in the Plant Sciences Building you must contact the Classroom Support Office at 301-314-8522; their offices are located in 0125 Hornbake (next to our building).

Landscape Architecture Studios

Students in Landscape Architecture studio

The studios offers each student in the 2nd, third, and 4th year studios of the undergraduate program and all graduate students 24-hours access to his or her or their assigned workstation.  Every workstation is equipped with a drafting table with parallel rule, chair, software programs, full internet access, and computer table with computer and monitor. 

For more information, please contact Christopher Ellis, Landscape Architecture Program Director,

See more on the Landscape Architecture website!

Research Plant Growth Facility

Greenhouse complex

Located on the campus of the University of Maryland, College Park, the Research Plant Growth Facility is one of the most sophisticated institutional greenhouses in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. The building includes four separate greenhouse ranges that extend off the head house with a total area of 39,729 gross square feet and includes an additional 4,000 square feet of support space that includes research labs, growth chambers and a conference room. Automated environmental controls including heating, cooling, high-intensity discharge (HID) and photoperiod lighting, shade/thermal barriers, and watering and fertilizing are just some of the capabilities of this facility.

The Research Plant Growth Facility is a key component to world-renowned research on plant breeding and genetics, phytoremediation, plant propagation, and weed and insect pest control. The Departments of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Environmental Science and Technology, and the Institute of Applied Agriculture are the most visible users from the College of Agriculture. Other resident University of Maryland researchers include researchers from the Departments of Biology, Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, and Entomology from the College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences.

Research Plant Growth Facility Space Request Forms Website

  • If you are unable to logon to our online Greenhouse forms website and you need to obtain permisission to logon, or if you need a hard copy of either a Research Plant Growth Facility Space Request Form or a Growth Chamber Space Request Form, please contact Sydney Wallace, Greenhouse Manager,

Paint Branch Turfgrass Research Facility

Location: 395 Greenmead Drive, College Park MD 20742

The University of Maryland Paint Branch Turfgrass Research Facility was developed through cooperation between the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. The Facility consists of three buildings located on University property at the northeast edge of the College Park Campus, but all 35 acres of research plot land is leased through an agreement with USDA.

Paint Branch Turfgrass Research Facility

Construction of Paint Branch began in December, 1998 and the facility was dedicated in July, 2000. The Headquarters Building is a 4,500 sq. ft. single-story structure with a red brick facade. It includes a classroom, conference room, laboratory space, and offices for eight faculty and staff members. The Facility also includes a state-of-the-art agricultural chemical storage building and a 7,000 sq. ft. equipment maintenance building.

Although the research conducted at Paint Branch is primarily intended to assist home owners, lawn care companies, golf course superintendents, sports field managers, sod producers, schools, cemeteries, airports, highway maintenance operations, and others who manage turfgrass, the Facility also investigates the use of native grasses and wildflowers. Approximately 15 acres are currently irrigated and support nearly every aspect of turf research, including new cultivar evaluation, disease control, weed control, and fertility management. Visitors are welcome by appointment between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Norton Brown Herbarium

The Norton-Brown Herbarium (Herbarium code MARY) is administered by the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture in the College of Agricultural and Natural Resources at the University of Maryland College Park. MARY is home to a natural heritage collection that includes ~87,000 specimens of flowering plants, cone-bearing plants, algae, mosses, liverworts, lichen, and fungi. Established in 1901, the Norton-Brown Herbarium holds the largest number of specimens from Maryland, and the mid-Atlantic and also has a diverse collection of preserved plants from all over the world. The collections housed here were instrumental in developing the flora treatments Woody Plants of Maryland (Brown & Brown 1972) and Herbaceous Plants of Maryland (Brown & Brown 1984).

Dr. Maile Neel   Dr. Maile Neel




Digitizing for Darwin

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection changed the way scientists understand the vast array of biological diversity on the planet. He would never have had the insights that led to the Theory without studying the collections he made during his time on the H.M.S. Beagle and the collections made by legions of other naturalists exploring the planet.

What better way, then, to celebrate Darwin’s birthday than to digitize high quality digital images of specimens from the Norton-Brown Herbarium to make them available on the web to scientists and interested citizens anywhere, anytime. And that is exactly how 17 citizen scientists spent the rainy morning of February 11 – the day before Darwin’s actual birthdate.

The enthusiastic volunteers were led by Professor Maile Neel (Director of the Norton-Brown Herbarium) and Dr. John Hall of the Mid-Atlantic Megalopolis Project ( The project seeks to bring plant collections (called herbaria) from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and D.C. together in an online database to allow investigation of the effects of human influence on the flora of the region. Although the National Science Foundation has funded some digitization, citizen scientists play a critical role in completing the work necessary to fully document the collections.

After a short introduction to the Norton-Brown Herbarium and the Consortium, the citizen scientists were trained to use the crowdsourcing tools on the Consortium website. Then they were let loose transcribing data from images of actual specimens housed at the University of Maryland. Three hours after they had arrived, data from almost 300 specimens had been entered into the database. After the entries were checked over, they went live and were part of the permanent record for the flora of Maryland!

Several people didn’t get enough -- they went home and transcribed more specimens later that day. And they just keep going! As of March 6, less than one month after they were trained, they have transcribed data from more than 2,500 specimens!  Our leading volunteer Bill Harms has transcribed 1,186 of those specimens. Three other volunteers (John Winder [337], Elaine Nakash [286], and Marnie Whitlock [211]) have also continued to transcribe at home as they have spare time. We couldn’t be more grateful for their time and energy.

These contributions are critical. Of the nearly 100,000 specimens in the Norton-Brown Herbarium, 37,837 images in the Consortium database, only 28,019 have complete locality records. Even getting to the point that the citizen scientists have something to transcribe entails a laborious process of taking the high quality images of each fragile specimen, processing the images, and uploading them. The consortium is funding imaging of a portion of the collection, but much of the work is done by University of Maryland students who are paid with funding from donations. Through donations from 2016 we were able to take images of all of the ferns, gymnosperms, and some flowering plant groups. Mid-Atlantic specimens of all monocot families except the sedges and grasses, have also been imaged.

The digital data have already yielded exciting insights into the flora. Bill Harms knows the flora of the Patuxent Research Refuge like nobody else. He has been documenting the flora there for years. He had heard rumors that Quercus prinoides (dwarf chinquapin oak) occurred on the refuge, but nobody knew if there was a voucher confirming its occurrence. In an email titled “Eureka! I found it!”, Bill shared the exciting news that he had come across the evidence he had been seeking – a specimen that had been collected in 1944.

We look forward to many more insights into the flora as more specimen records are completed. You can support the digitizing effort by donating to the Norton-Brown Herbarium Fund ( Another training day will be held later this spring. If you are interested in helping to digitize, email Dr. Maile Neel at to be put on notification list.