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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XXIV, Number 2, April 2017

News and Notes | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature | Season's Pick

HONORING POVE. A ceremony was held on 9 March at the Universidad Nacional in Heredia to confer the status of "Profesor Emérito" upon our recently retired colleague (and Manual contributor) Luis Jorge Poveda Álvarez [see also this column in The Cutting Edge 23(4), Oct. 2016]. Attending this gala event were Manual co-PI Barry Hammel (MO) and better 3/4 Isabel Pérez, as well as co-PI Nelson Zamora and other Manual dignitaries including José González and Quírico Jiménez, lost as we were among hundreds of Pove's students and colleagues, past and present. Along with Pove's many talents—botanist, teacher, poet and storyteller (he loves an audience)—at this performance we saw yet another facet of this diamond of a guy: standup comic! Aplausos, saludos y un gran abrazo para Pove!

ILTIS REDUX. Our last issue contained a brief obituary of the recently departed Hugh H. Iltis (WIS), in which we mentioned a few of "the numerous students whom he mentored or influenced." Mainly because we are not well-informed on the subject and compiled our list on short notice off the top of our heads, we were guilty of several glaring omissions, some of which were subsequently brought to our attention by various readers of this rag. Apologies to the following WIS alumni (two of whom are Manual contributors!) are therefore in order: Jackie Kallunki (Rutaceae), Ron Liesner (Plantae), Scott Mori (Lecythidaceae), and Mike Nee (Solanaceae). We expect there may be additional installments of this feature!

INDENTED VS. BRACKETED KEYS. Speaking of Mike Nee: very often, in these pages, we have railed against or cast aspersions upon what are evidently correctly termed "bracketed" keys (e.g., the type used routinely by the journal Phytotaxa), which we view as grossly inferior to "indented" keys (e.g., as used in the Manual). However, we have been inarticulate as to the correct terminology for these keys, as well as with respect to what we consider their relative advantages and disadvantages. No problems along those lines for the eloquent Nee, quoted here from his 2004 (largely favorable) review (Brittonia 56: 101–102) of Flora de Nicaragua (which deploys "indented" keys):

"Indented keys make optional and rational use of space for the purpose of a key—to facilitate identification and to give a graphic display of the structure of the key. An indented key is like looking at a maze from above, where progress forward and backward can be plotted visually, where the whole journey is visible at a glance. A bracketed key, on the other hand, is like being lost within the maze, with only the immediate choices being apparent, and both the end point and the starting point nowhere to be seen."

Have that laminated for your wallets, folks! But, seriously: if, after a modicum of experience with both types of keys, you still prefer the bracketed variety, then we are living on different planets and there is no possibility for further communication!


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