Frank Nicholas Meyer

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Frank Nicholas Meyer
Frank N Meyer 1909.jpg
Frank N Meyer circa 1909
Born Frans Nicholaas Meijer
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died 1918 (aged 42–43)
near Shanghai, China
Occupation Botanical exploration
Employer United States Department of Agriculture

Frank Nicholas Meyer (1875 – 1918) was an United States Department of Agriculture explorer who traveled to Asia to collect new plant species. He introduced 2,500 plants into the United States. The Meyer lemon was named in his honor.[1]


He was born Frans Nicholaas Meijer in Amsterdam in 1875. He emigrated to the United States in 1901, and went to work for Erwin F. Smith at the United States Department of Agriculture. In 1902, Meyer began working at USDA's Plant Introduction Station in Santa Ana, California.[2] Meyer was hired in 1905 by the USDA in their Office of Seed and Plant Introduction to send back to the United States economically useful plants. Through an arrangement with Charles Sprague Sargent and David Fairchild Meyer was also to send to the Arnold Arboretum trees and shrubs of ornamental value. They archived images he collected of his travels.[3]

Specimens he collected included apricots, soybeans, and gingko biloba.[4]

In June 1918, while traveling to Shanghai on the Japanese riverboat Feng Yang Maru, he fell overboard into the Yangtze River and drowned.[2]


  • Meyer, Frank Nicholas and David Fairchild. South China explorations. Typescript, July 25, 1916 – September 21, 1918.


In recognition of his industry, the Frank N. Meyer Medal for Plant Genetic Resources was struck by his United States Department of Agriculture colleagues, funded by his bequest to the organization.[5]


  1. ^ "The Meyer Lemon: More Than A Pretty Face". National Public Radio. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-20. In the early 1900s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture sent Frank N. Meyer, an agricultural explorer ... on several trips to Asia with the mission of collecting new plant species. Among more than 2,500 plants that he introduced to the U.S., the Meyer lemon was named in his honor. Sadly, Meyer would never live to see the success of his namesake. He died on an expedition near Shanghai in 1918. ... 
  2. ^ a b "Frank N. Meyer (1875-1918)". Special Collections, National Agricultural Library. Retrieved 2014-05-25. 
  3. ^ "Botanical and Cultural Images of Eastern Asia, 1907-1927". Harvard University. Retrieved 2009-02-20. Frank Meyer, born Frans Meijer in Amsterdam, began his horticultural career at age 14 working as a gardener's helper at the Amsterdam Botanical Garden. ... At age 22, Meyer set out for America by way of England and arrived in the United States in late 1901. ... After a year with the USDA, Meyer went to Mexico to study and collect plants. Upon Meyer's return in 1904, David Fairchild (1869-1954), Chairman of the Foreign Plant Introduction Section of the USDA, hired Meyer to make a collecting trip to China for the department. ... 
  4. ^ "When life gives you lemons, grow a beard". Prologue: Pieces of History. 2011-06-10. Retrieved 2014-05-25. 
  5. ^ Explorers: Frank Nicholas Meyer Botanical and Cultural Images, 1907-1927.
  6. ^ "Author Query for 'F.N.Meyer'". International Plant Names Index. 
  • Cunningham, Isabel Shipley (1984). Frank N. Meyer, plant hunter in Asia (1st ed.). Ames: Iowa State University Press. ISBN 0813811481. 
  • Fairchild, David. An Agricultural Explorer in Asia. Asia; the American Magazine on the Orient. January, 1921.

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