Linda Geist

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Like humans, plants can get sick and need someone to diagnose their illnesses, says Peng Tian, the new lab director of the University of Missouri Plant Diagnostic Clinic.

The Plant Diagnostic Clinic has served Missourians since 1965 to help clients, including county extension specialists, commercial growers, government agencies and homeowners, identify plant health problems.

Tian began as lab director on Feb. 1. He coordinates daily operations of the laboratory, performing diagnoses and participating in training programs for agricultural stakeholders in Missouri. In addition to clinic staff, MU Plant Sciences faculty specializing in agronomy, entomology, horticulture and plant pathology help with identification of pests.

Tian came to MU from the University of Florida Plant Diagnostic Center. He grew up in a farm family in China’s Shandong Province, where he studied bioengineering at Shandong Agricultural University. He earned a master’s degree at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and a doctorate at the University of Georgia.

The clinic is now open year-round to receive samples. Samples can be mailed to the clinic or dropped off in person 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Visit for instructions on submitting samples. Payment can be made online or by check or money order. You also may take photos of your plants and send them to