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Alan W. Meerow is an American botanist, born in New York City in 1952. He specializes in the taxonomy of the family Amaryllidaceae and the horticulture of palms and tropical ornamental plants. He also works on the population genetics and molecular systematics of cycads and palms.

Alan W. Meerow
Known forContributions to the taxonomy of the Amaryllidaceae, horticulture of palms and tropical ornamentals
Scientific career
FieldsBotany, Horticulture
Author abbrev. (botany)Meerow

He studied at the Bronx High School of Science and then at the University of New York. Dropping out after a year, aged 19, he moved to Santa Cruz, California. After living on a farm for four years he decided to resume his studies in botany and horticulture at the University of California.

Initially his interest in botany was focused on trees, working for three years in the arboretum of the University. He graduated in December 1978 and continued his postgraduate study at the University of Florida, after working for two years at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida, where his interest in Amaryllidaceae was stimulated. His master's thesis, in 1983, was on the taxonomy of the genus Eucharis. He continued with the same subject in his doctoral studies, producing his thesis entitled "A Monograph of Eucharis and Caliphruria (Amaryllidaceae)" in 1986.

He then moved to the University of Florida's Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center where he was a palm and tropical ornamental specialist. As well as carrying out research on the phylogeny and taxonomy of the Amaryllidaceae, he bred Hippeastrum and other ornamental species. In 1998 the International Bulb Society awarded him the Herbert Medal in recognition of his contributions to the knowledge of bulbous plants.[1]

From October 1999 until July 2019, he was located at the National Germplasm Repository of the United States Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), based in Miami, working on the conservation, genetics, systematics, characterization, and breeding of species of subtropical and tropical ornamentals.[2][3] In 2005, the American Society of Plant Taxonomists awarded him the Peter Raven Award for Scientific Outreach.[4] In 2017, he was awarded the David Fairchild Medal for Plant Exploration by the National Tropical Botanical Garden. Upon retirement from USDA, Meerow became a Research Fellow of the Montgomery Botanical Center in Coral Gables, FL.


Selected publicationsEdit

Meerow has published over 250 scientific papers, numerous magazine and university extension articles, and is the author or co-author of three popular books on palms.

  • Meerow, A.W., L. Jost, and N. Oleas. 2015. Two new species of endemic Ecuadorean Amaryllidaceae (Asparagales, Amaryllidaceae, Amarylloideae, Eucharideae). PhytoKeys 48: 1-9. doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.48.4399.
  • Roncal, J., M. Couderc, P. Baby, F. Kahn, B. Millán, A. W. Meerow, and J‐C. Pintaud. 2015. Palm diversification in two geologically contrasting regions of western Amazonia. Journal of Biogeography 42: 1503–1513.
  • Jestrow, B., Peguero, B., Jiménez, F., Cinea, W., Hass, M., Reeve, A., Meerow, A.W., Griffith, M.P., Maunder, M. and Francisco-Ortega, J. 2016. Genetic diversity and differentiation of the Critically Endangered Hispaniolan palm Coccothrinax jimenezii MM Mejía & RG García based on novel SSR markers. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 66: 216-223.
  • Leiva, S. and Meerow, A.W., 2016. A new species of Clinanthus from northern Peru (Asparagales, Amaryllidaceae, Amarylloideae, Clinantheae). PhytoKeys 63: 99–106.
  • Meerow, A.W., Ayala-Silva, T. and Irish, B.M., 2015. Lagerstroemia speciosa ‘Big Pink’: An Improved Pink-flowered Queen’s Crape Myrtle. HortScience 50:.1593-1594.
  • Noblick, L. R., and Meerow, A.W. 2015. The transfer of the genus Lytocaryum to Syagrus. Palms 59: 57–62.
  • Richardson, J. E., Whitlock, B. A., Meerow, A. W., and Madriñán, S. 2015. The Age of Chocolate: a biogeographic history of Theobroma and Malvaceae. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 3: 120.
  • Yeng, W. S., Meerow, A. W. and Croat, T. B. 2016. Resurrection and new species of the Neotropical genus Adelonema (Araceae: Philodendron Clade). Systematic Botany 41: 32-48.
  • Oleas, N., Meerow, A. W. and Francisco-Ortega, J. 2016. Genetic structure of the threatened Phaedranassa schizantha (Amaryllidaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 182: 169-179.
  • Freitas, C., A. W. Meerow, J-C. Pintaud, A. Henderson, L. Noblick, F. R. C. Costa, C. E. Barbosa and D. Barrington. 2016. Phylogenetic analysis of Attalea (Arecaceae): insights into the historical biogeography of a recently diversified Neotropical plant group. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. DOI: 10.1111/boj.12466
  • Meerow, A. W., Salas-Leiva, D., Francisco-Ortega, J., Griffith, P., Calonje, M., Stevenson, D., and Nakamura, K. 2017. Phylogeography and conservation genetics of the Caribbean Zamia clade: an integrated systematic approach with SSRs and single copy nuclear genes. Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden. DOI: 10.1111/1442-1984.12158
  • Meerow, A. W., Gideon, M. and Nakamura, K. 2017. Hybridization between ecotypes in a phenotypically and ecologically heterogeneous population of Iris savannarum (Iridaceae) in Florida. Plant Species Biology 32: 309-322.
  • Campos-Rocha, A., Meerow, A.W., Lopes, E.F.M., Semir, J., Mayer, J.L.S. and Dutilh, J.H.A., 2017. Eithea lagopaivae, a new critically endangered species in the previously monotypic genus Eithea Ravenna (Amaryllidaceae). PhytoKeys 85: 45-58.
  • Campos-Rocha, A., Meerow, A.W., Semir, J. and Dutilh, J.H.A. 2017. A new species of Griffinia (Amaryllidaceae) from Espírito Santo state, Brazil, and reassessment of Griffinia concinna. Phytotaxa 327: 175-183.
  • Griffith, M.P., Calonje, M., Meerow, A.W., Francisco-Ortega, J., Knowles, L., Aguilar, R., Tut, F., Sánchez, V., Meyer, A., Noblick, L.R. and Magellan, T.M., 2017. Will the same ex situ protocols give similar results for closely related species? Biodiversity and Conservation 26: 2951-2966.
  • Iglesias-Andreu, L.G., Octavio-Aguilar, P., Vovides, A.P., Meerow, A.W., de Cáceres-González, F.N. and Galván-Hernández, D.M., 2017. Extinction risk of Zamia inermis (Zamiaceae): a genetic approach for the conservation of its single natural population. International Journal of Plant Sciences 178: 715-723.
  • Jestrow, B., Peguero, B., Jiménez, F., Verdecia, R., González-Oliva, L., Moya, C.E., Cinea, W., Griffith, M.P., Meerow, A.W., Maunder, M. and Francisco-Ortega, J., 2017. A conservation framework for the Critically Endangered endemic species of the Caribbean palm Coccothrinax. Oryx, pp.1-12. doi:10.1017/S0030605317000588..
  • Meerow, A.W., Reed, S.T., Dunn, C. and Schnell, E., 2017. Fragrance analysis of two scented Hippeastrum species. HortScience 52: 1853-1860.
  • Salas‐Leiva, D. E., A. W. Meerow, M. Calonje, J. Francisco‐Ortega, M. P. Griffith, K. Nakamura, V. Sánchez, L. Knowles, and D. Knowles. 2017. Shifting Quaternary migration patterns in the Bahamian archipelago: evidence from the Zamia pumila complex at the northern limits of the Caribbean island biodiversity hotspot. American Journal of Botany 104: 757-771.
  • Campos-Rocha, A., A. W. Meerow & J. H. A. Dutilh. 2018. Two new critically endangered species of Hippeastrum (Amaryllidaceae) from the Brazilian Cerrado. Phytotaxa 360: 91–102.
  • de Lima, N.E., Carvalho, A. A., Meerow, A. W. and Manfrin, M. H. 2018. A review of the palm genus Acrocomia: Neotropical green gold. Organism Diversity and Evolution 18: 151-161.


  1. ^ International Bulb Society, 1998 Herbert Medalist Alan W. Meerow, archived from the original on 2008-09-19, retrieved 2011-01-22
  2. ^ US Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service
  3. ^ Pacific Bulb Society: Alan Meerow
  4. ^ Francisco-Ortega, Javier (2006), "Alan W. Meerow—Recipient of the 2005 Peter Raven Award", Systematic Botany, 31 (1): 5–7, doi:10.1600/036364406775971750
  5. ^ IPNI.  Meerow.


External linksEdit