Charles H. Uhl, plant biology professor emeritus, dies at 92

Charles H. Uhl, professor emeritus of plant biology and a well-recognized expert on the cytogenetics of the stonecrop family (Crassulaceae -- a family of succulent, fleshy herbs and shrubs), died Aug. 29 in Jefferson, Ga. He was 92.

Born in 1918 in Schenectady, N.Y., Uhl earned his B.A. (1939) and M.A. (1941) at Emory University and his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1947, when he joined the Cornell faculty and then taught here for 50 years.

He published more than 80 papers in his field and created and documented more than 1,500 specific and generic hybrids in the stonecrop family. Although best known for his work on hybridization and polyploidy, he also applied his findings to such taxonomic questions as the delimitation of species and genera as well as the phylogenetic relationships among them. He was also fascinated with biogeographic questions and published his observations on the effect of the San Andreas fault on speciation in stonecrops.

Over the years, Uhl collected and contributed several thousand plant specimens to Cornell's Bailey Hortorium, both from field trips and his laboratory experiments. He was an honorary fellow of the Cactus and Succulent Society for exceptional achievement in scholarship about succulent plants, chaired the graduate degree committees of a number of students in cytology and served on the committees of many others in the fields of both plant biology and plant breeding.

Uhl is survived by his wife of 65 years, Natalie Whitford Uhl, a Cornell professor emerita of plant biology; four children and three grandchildren.

A memorial service was held Sept. 3 in Georgia; in lieu of flowers memorials can be made to Cornell Plantations, One Plantations Road Ithaca, NY 14850.

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