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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XIV, Number 3, July 2007

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

MUSACEAE.  Here we report a change in status for the exotic Musa velutina H. Wendl. & Drude, included somewhat reluctantly in the Manual as sparingly cultivated and perhaps escaped in Costa Rica, on the basis of a single specimen collected under unspecified circumstances.  Now we are glad we left it in, because this sp. has quite suddenly become an aggressive invader, at least locally in the Sarapiquí region.  According to Orlando Vargas, Head of Scientific Operations at the Estación Biológica La Selva, M. velutina was first detected there circa 2004, and has rapidly become an abundant nuisance, establishing itself in impacted areas as well as primary forest (chiefly along streams and disturbed sites), even in remote portions of the reserve.  Between July and September, 2005, more than $2500 and 180 worker-days were expended in an effort to eradicate this sp. from the La Selva flora, and since then, two workers have patrolled the affected areas twice a week.  Despite these heroic measures, M. velutina persists (we encountered a clone in primary forest during our recent visit; see under “News and Notes”), and “control could be an unending task” (to quote from an unpublished report by Orlando).  On an equally sinister note, the invasive Old World orchid Oeceoclades maculata (Lindl.) Lindl. (see the discussion in the Manual) has also recently turned up at La Selva (and we will take this opportunity to add that we have lately collected this sp. in Parque Nacional Santa Rosa).

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