Lucinda McDade, Executive Director and Judith B. Friend Director of Research at the California Botanic Garden, was named the 2021 recipient of the American Horticultural Society’s Liberty Hyde Bailey Award, the organization’s highest honor.
The award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution during their lifetime to at least three of the following horticultural fields: teaching, research, communications, plant exploration, administration, art, business and leadership.
Honor is one of the Great American Gardeners Award which AHS presents annually to individuals, organizations and businesses that represent the best of American gardening. Each of the recipients has made significant contributions to areas such as scientific research, garden communication, landscaping, youth gardening and conservation.
McDade is an accomplished botanist, researcher, plant explorer, teacher and administrator of public gardens during her 40-year career.
As executive director of the California Botanic Garden, McDade also oversees the garden’s research program and heads the botany department at nearby Claremont Graduate University, where she teaches classes.
Prior to joining CalBG, formerly known as Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, McDade was Associate Professor and Herbarium Curator at the University of Arizona at Tucson from 1992 to 2000, and was Associate Curator and President of the botany at the Drexel Academy of Natural Sciences. University of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, until 2006.
While working on his doctorate. At Duke University, McDade immersed herself in research on plants in the tropics. His research thesis focused on the genus Aphelandra – which is part of the Acanthaceae, or the acanthus family – native to Central America. Over the years, her field research has taken her to Andean South America and Brazil, as well as Southern Africa and Madagascar, among others.
Among the many other honors McDade has received include the Asa Gray Award from the American Society of Plant Taxonomists for Outstanding Achievement in Systematic Botany in 2019; Laureate of the Award of Merit, Botanical Society of America (2013); President, American Society of Plant Taxonomists (2003â2004); and president of the Association for Tropical Biology (1995). In 2010, she became the first-ever President of the Advisory Board of the Botanical Society of America, the largest professional society of plant scientists in the United States. She has lectured around the world and published hundreds of research papers and articles in a wide variety of professional journals.
This year’s Great American Gardeners Award winners will be honored from across the country through video acceptance speeches on the American Horticulture Society’s website and social media.
For more information on this year’s recipients, visit their 2021 Award Winners Webpage.