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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XXVII, Number 1, January, 2020

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

BAMBOO TO-DO. Colombian botanist Ximena Londoño graced Costa Rica with her presence during 25–30 November, during which time she twice presented a talk entitled "Introducción a la taxonomía y anatomía de los bambues del neotrópico": on 26 November, at the main (Heredia) campus of the Universidad Nacional, and on 28 November, at the San Isidro de El General branch of the same institution. We expect that she also found time for a little herbarium and field work in the country.

NEWS FROM LA U. Congratulations to two Biology grad students at the Universidad de Costa Rica on the recent successful defenses of their Master's theses: Marco Cedeño (12 November), with a taxonomic revision of Monstera (Araceae) in Costa Rica, and Isler Chinchilla (12 December), with a comparable revision of Malaxis (Orchidaceae). We wish them both well in their future endeavors! Moving forward, their principal advisor, Dr. Mario Blanco, informs that he has taken on a new student, Jeffrey Flores Rojas, who plans to revise the difficult genus Cestrum (Solanaceae) for Costa Rica, in consultation with Manual Solanaceae author Lynn Bohs (UT). Mario also conveys the news that the USJ herbarium has installed a set of compactors in a new annex of the Escuela de Biología building at UCR, and is currently transferring all of its plant collections to those quarters, a process that should be completed by March. At the same time, they have been accessing a large quantity of new material collected by Esteban Jiménez, including many unicates from interesting sites. Mario and his colleagues are keen to receive visiting researchers inclined to study and annotate specimens in all groups (USJ houses such things as bryophytes, algae, fungi, and slime molds, in addition to vascular plants).

WE LOSE ANOTHER ORCHID GIANT. Just as our last issue went to press, we squeezed in news of the then-recent (15 October) death of Manual Orchidaceae coordinator Robert L. Dressler (see also under "Ossenbach," in "Germane Literature"). Shortly thereafter came word of the passing on 9 November of Carlyle A. Luer (1922–2019), who had attained the venerable age of 97 (see also under "Dalström," in "Germane Literature"). We extend our condolences to his wife Jane, and other surviving family members. Carl Luer contributed just a portion of the Manual orchid treatment, but that portion (subtribe Pleurothallidinae) amounted to a sizeable bloc of spp. (152 in Pleurothallis alone!), by any standards. We would hazard the guess that Luer was responsible for more new sp. descriptions than any other living botanist. He collected in Costa Rica on several occasions, most recently (as far as we can determine) in 1995. This is actually the third Manual orchid contributor that we have lost, Miguel Ángel Soto Arenas (co-author of our Vanilla treatment) having been taken from us very prematurely in 2009 [see this column in The Cutting Edge 17(2), Apr. 2010]. May all three rest in peace!

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