Dr John Dransfield

Honorary Research Fellow


Taxonomy of Arecaceae (palms) at a global generic level, Southeast Asian and Malesian palm floristics, Madagascar palm floristics.

I was educated at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and gained my PhD under Professor E.J.H. Corner in 1970 with a study of two Malaysian palm genera, Eugeissona and Johannesteijsmannia. I went on to devote my working life to palm research, working first in Indonesia for four years on palms specializing in the rattans, the climbing palms that are the source of cane for cane-furniture. In 1975 I continued palm research at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew where I was head of Palm Research until my retirement in 2005.

I continue my research as an Honorary Research Fellow. I have completed several consultancies on rattans for FAO, British Overseas Development Agency and the Commonwealth Development Corporation. Much of my work since retirement has been devoted to the palms of Madagascar, palms of New Guinea and palm generic delimitation.

  • BA, University of Cambridge, 1967
  • MA, Botany School Cambridge, 1970
  • PhD, Botany School, University of Cambridge, 1970


  • University Frank Smart Prize, Cambridge, 1967
  • Engler Silver Medal, 1988
  • Founder’s Medal (Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden), 1988
  • Fairchild Medal for Plant Exploration, 1998
  • Cavaliere delle Palme, City of Sanremo, Italy, 2002
  • Medal for Botany Linnean Society of London, 2004
  • Corresponding Member, American Society of Plant Taxonomists, 2008

Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E.. Lewis. (2008).

Genera Palmarum: The evolution and classification of palms.

732 pp. Kew Books, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN: 978-1-84246-182-2.

Dransfield, J., Rakotoarinivo, M., Baker, W.J., Bayton, R., Fisher, J.B., Horn, J.W., Leroy, B. & Metz, X. (2008).

A new coryphoid palm from Madagascar.

Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 156: 79–91.

Govaerts, R. & Dransfield, J. (2005).

World Checklist of Palms.

223 pp. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. ISBN 1-84246-084-6.

Dransfield, J. & Beentje, H.J. (1995).

The Palms of Madagascar.

The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the International Palm Society. ISBN 0-947643-82-6.

Uhl, N.W. & Dransfield, J. (1987).

Genera palmarum: a classification of palms based on the work of Harold E. Moore Jr. L.H.

Bailey Hortorium and the International Palm Society, Allen Press Kansas. 610 pp. ISBN 0-935868-30-5

Dransfield, J. (1979).

A manual of the rattans of the Malay Peninsula.

Mal. For. Records 29. 270 pp. Forest Dept. Malaysia.