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Natalie Whitford Uhl was born in 1919 and educated at Rhode Island State College and at Cornell University, where she worked with Arthur J. Eames. She received an M.S. in 1943 and a Ph.D in 1947 with a dissertation on the floral morphology and anatomy of the Helobiae. In 1963, she began working as a Research Associate for Harold E. Moore at the Bailey Hortorium at Cornell. They published numerous papers on palm anatomy and morphology. After Moore's death in 1980, Uhl continued their work on Genera Palmarum, a comprehensive review of the taxonomy, morphology and anatomy of all genera of palms, with the collaboration of John Dransfield. The work was finally published in 1987. Uhl formally retired in 1987, but maintained her activities in instruction, graduate student supervision, curation, and research. She undertook the first family-level cladistic analysis of the palms, the first study to use molecular data to study higher-level relationships in the palms. She also co-edited the journal Principes (now Palms) from 1979 to 2000. In 1981, she was appointed as Associate Professor at Cornell and taught Applied Plant Anatomy for many years. In 2002, she was awarded the Asa Gray Award byt the American Society of Plant Taxonomists in recognition of her outstanding accomplishments.