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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XXVI, Number 2, April, 2019

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

MEETINGS, PAST AND UPCOMING. Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora attended (and helped coordinate) a “Global Tree Specialist Group and IUCN Red List Training Workshop,” that just finished up (25–28 March) at the Estación Biológica La Selva. Besides Nelson, the list of “some of” the 22 atendees included a few names familiar to us: Eduardo Chacón, Richard Condit, Indiana Coronado, Gary Hartshorn, Silvia Lobo, Esteban Martínez, Alexánder Rodríguez, and Marie-Stephanie Samain. We hope everyone had a chance to take a walk in the forest and see the trees! We recently received a formal invitation to participate in a symposium (29–31 May 2019) to be hosted by the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica (by way of the Herbario Nacional) entitled “Sistemática y Taxonomía Botánica en Costa Rica.” Said symposium “pretende abrir un espacio para difundir la información generada recientemente sobre este tema tan importante para el país, y a la vez acercar a las distintas instituciones y botánicos/as nacionales e internacionales, con el fin de estrechar lazos e integrar esfuerzos en pro del conocimiento y conservación de la botánica costarricense. La actividad está dividida en varios módulos que abarcan aspectos relacionados con la diversidad taxonómica, la diversidad local, los herbarios en Costa Rica y herramientas tecnológicas al servicio del estudio de la botánica nacional.” Be there or be square!

OBITUARIES. We learned recently of the passing, on 5 January, of ethnobotanist and ecologist Donald Lavern Hazlett (1949–2019). A native of Colorado, Don served in the Peace Corps from 1970–1975 in Honduras, where he met his wife Marta and lived (at least for some of that time) at the Lancetilla Botanical Garden. After earning a Ph.D. in Forest Ecology from the University of Washington, Don worked for several years in Costa Rica, based at CATIE in Turrialba. It was there that one of your editors (MHG) visited Don and Marta, by bus, immediately after relocating to Costa Rica in 1984, and just as the Hazlett's were pulling up stakes to return to Colorado (we relieved them of some kitchenware, which we still have!). Don explored remote regions of both Honduras and Costa Rica, collecting thousands of botanical specimens in the process. He will be forever remembered for his greatest discovery—indeed, one of the most significant botanical discoveries by anyone in the New World in recent years: the enigmatic Haptanthus hazlettii Goldberg & C. Nelson, assigned belatedly to Buxaceae. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Marta, and the rest of Don's family. We also profoundly lament the recent loss (on 13 January) of Rodolfo Ortiz Vargas (1944–2019), the long-time resident director of the Reserva Forestal San Ramón (now the Reserva Biológica Alberto Manuel Brenes). Beloved by all, Rodolfo was truly a wonderful guy, affable and quite hilarious (we fondly recall an extended recounting, over numerous beers, of the time he was robbed and left half-naked on the streets of Puerto Limón). He was especially close to the late Jorge Gómez-Laurito, with whom he coauthored a checklist (1996) to the plants of the aforementioned reserve. Although not grossly overweight (by North American standards), Rodolfo was often called (even to his face!) by the affectionate nickname "El Gordo," which does not detonate in Costa Rica as it would in the United States. As such, he was immortalized with the binomial Coccoloba liportizii Gómez-Laur. & N. Zamora (Polygonaceae); get it—"lip," as in "lipid"? That dubious honor was subsequently rectified with Encyclia ortizii Dressler, the basionym of Prosthechea ortizii (Dressler) W. E. Higgins (Orchidaceae). Rodolfo was predeceased by his wife, Mayra. We extend our sympathies to their families.


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