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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XXIV, Number 1, January 2017

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

BIG COUNTRY! Venerable MO curator and neotropical Araceae guru Tom Croat spent a week in Costa Rica in mid October, toward the end of an extended bus (!) tour of Mesoamerican herbaria (from Mexico all the way to Panama). Once in Costa Rica, Tom (never to be stopped) embarked on an extended in-country bus trip, from San José to San Vito and back, because his arrival during a weekend-plus-holiday (Día de La Cultura) prevented him from working in the country's main herbaria (he was allowed to work at HLDG!). After returning to the Valle Central, Tom dedicated part of his endless energy to determining and revising virtually all of the considerable Araceae material at both branches of CR (Santo Domingo and San José), as well as that of the herbarium of the Universidad de Costa Rica (USJ). Meanwhile, undaunted at Hammel's house, he did unimaginable damage to the self-esteem of his host by repairing a couple of dragging doors. Guests like Tom are always welcome!

OBITUARY. We were much saddened, along with the entire botanical community, to learn of the death of the venerable and highly esteemed taxonomist Hugh H. Iltis (WIS), on 19 December, 2016, at the grand age of 91. We had met Hugh on several occasions, but it was our loss to have not known him well. Of course, he was best known as an authority on the genus Zea (Poaceae) and the families Capparaceae and Cleomaceae, and in recent years had been intimately involved in the generic reclassification of the two last-mentioned taxa. Born in Czechoslovakia (his father was also a celebrated botanist), Hugh emigrated to the United States with is family in 1938, eventually earning a B. A. from the University of Tennessee and a Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. From 1955 until his retirement in 1993, he served as a botany professor and Director of the Herbarium at WIS. In the annals of Costa Rican floristics, Hugh is perhaps best known for his 1949 botanical exploration of previously neglected regions of the country, in concert with the late Richard W. Holm (1925–1987), while both were still graduate students. Hugh Iltis also left a profound legacy in the persons of the numerous students whom he mentored or influenced, many of whom went on to illustrious careers of their own; these include Bil Alverson (Bombacaceae), Emmet Judziewicz (Poaceae), George Schatz (Annonaceae), Antonio Vázquez (Magnoliaceae), and the late Al Gentry (Bignoniaceae). A life well lived, indeed! For a much more extensive appreciation, headed by a jaunty photo of Hugh (at 24 years of age) during his epic Costa Rican venture, check out the following:

http://news.wisc.edu/hugh-iltis-uws-battling-botanist-dies-at-91/

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