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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

Main | Family List (MO) | Family List (INBio) | Cutting Edge
Draft Treatments | Guidelines | Checklist | Citing | Editors

Guidelines for Contributors

I. Introduction and General Orientation.

The Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica is intended as a concise, Spanish-language account of the Costa Rican flora, with keys and succinct descriptions to aid identification, supplemented by abundant illustrations. It will incorporate all information available to date, including new data generated by the project.

The Manual will cover, in four volumes, all flowering plants, native and naturalized, including marine species, as well as species cultivated on a commercial basis. Pteridophytes, originally to be included, are presently in limbo, pending the advent of a suitable contributor. The first volume will feature a lengthy introductory section, with chapters on the history of botanical exploration and floristic investigation in Costa Rica, physical geography, geology, soils, and climate, and vegetation types, as well as a key to families. Each volume will be fully contained, with its own glossary and index to scientific names.

The composition of the four Manual volumes (subject to change) is presently envisioned as follows:

Vol. 1: Introductory chapters and Monocotyledons.
Vol. 2: Dicotyledons (Acanthaceae-Euphorbiaceae).
Vol. 3: Dicotyledons (Fabaceae-Myrtaceae).
Vol. 4: Dicotyledons (Nyctaginaceae-Zygophyllaceae) and "Gymnosperms."

Publication is planned to begin with Vol. 1; the remaining volumes will probably be published out of sequence, as dictated by the availability of completed family treatments. The most probable sequence is as follows: Vol. 1, Vol. 3, Vol. 4, Vol. 2.

Family circumscriptions for the Manual were decided by the editors at an early stage, and contributors recruited accordingly. Monocot families mainly follow Dahlgren et al. (1985), dicot families follow Cronquist (1981), and pteridophyte families would follow Stolze (1976, 1981, 1983). We are obviously limited in our ability to accommodate the many sweeping changes to these obsolescent systems that have been suggested, or even implemented, during the ongoing firestorm of molecular and cladistic analytical work. Smaller innovations can easily be dealt with (e.g., the incorporation of Najas in Hydrocharitaceae, or of Potalia in Gentianaceae). Bolder ones ( the relegation of much of Verbenaceae to Lamiaceae; the wholesale realignments of Scrophulariaceae and related families; etc.) will probably not make the cut. However, any such rearrangements that remain well-supported at the time of publication will be appropriately cross-referenced. For example, under the separately treated Bombacaceae, Sterculiaceae, and Tiliaceae, a statement such as the following might be included: "According to strongly supported evidence from various sources, all genera in this family are now seen as scattered within Malvaceae s. l."

Illustrations also have been commissioned by the editors, with a minimum of one per genus, wherever possible. Several different species may be illustrated in the case of habitally very diverse genera, such as Anthurium (Araceae). We are open to input from contributors on the selection of illustrations.

II. Guidelines for the Preparation of Family Treatments.

A. Correspondence. All manuscripts must be submitted in electronic format, and all communication will be done by e-mail.

B. Language. Manuscripts may be submitted in either English or Spanish. The project coordinators will oversee translations.

C. Style.

i. General. Try to avoid extremely technical language when a simple, plain English substitute exists; for example, use "funnel-shaped" instead of "infundibuliform." If your family requires unique terminology, define all special terms in the family description, or provide a brief glossary after the family description.

ii. Abbreviations. We have adopted certain ± standard abbreviations, most of which are identical or nearly in English and Spanish.

D. Order of Taxa. Within each family, all genera will be ordered alphabetically. Within each genus, all species will be ordered alphabetically. No exceptions.

E. Family Entries. The name of the family, without author, will be accompanied by a taxonomic reference (see below). The common name, if any, will appear on a separate line, right after the family name. A brief statement indicating the number of genera and species (worldwide and in Costa Rica) and the general distribution will be followed by a concise description. Family descriptions will be parallel throughout the Manual (see Sample Treatments). Genera with unique character-states should be mentioned in the family description, to avoid needless repetition in the genus descriptions. Separate descriptions will be omitted for families represented by a single genus in Costa Rica (see below). IMPORTANT: each family description must be followed by a brief discussion featuring a diagnostic statementóthat is, a summary of the most obvious ways in which the family may be distinguished from all the other families in the flora. [For families with a single genus or species in Costa Rica, this may be deferred to the genus or species discussion, as the case may be.] Also, the family discussion is a good place to mention genera cultivated on a limited scale (e.g., for ornament) in Costa Rica, and not otherwise treated in the Manual.

F. Literature Citations. The most recent available family treatment and generic revision pertinent to Costa Rica should be cited for each family and genus, respectively. These should be complete citations, not merely an author and a date. In some cases, there will be a highly germane publication:

Baker, R. A. & W. C. Burger. 1976. Key and commentary on the species of Spathiphyllum (Araceae) in Costa Rica, including S. silvicola, sp. nov. Phytologia 33: 447-454.

In other cases, nothing more pertinent than an old and more general account may be available, as for the araceous genus Rhodospatha:

Engler, A. & K. Krause. 1908. Monsteroideae. In, A. Engler (ed.), Das Pflanzenreich IV.23B (Heft 37): 4-138. W. Engelmann, Leipzig.

Please cite a taxonomic rather than a floristic work. Occasionally, it may be advisable to cite two or more papers. This will be permitted at the discretion of the editors. Any other papers that must be referenced should be cited within the text, as in the following example: "This taxon was treated as a subsp. of T. bungsdorfii by Chen (Syst. Bot. 47: 191-207. 1998)":

Names of periodicals should be abbreviated according to Botanico-Periodicum-Huntianum/Supplementum. Book titles will be presented in full (except in species entries; see below). Throughout the Manual, book titles will be italicized, periodical titles not.

G. Keys. Keys will always be used for genera and species, even when there are just two taxa to be distinguished. Keys will not be employed at infraspecific ranks. All keys will be dichotomous and indented [IMPORTANT: please leave the indenting to the editors!]. Keys are untitled; they just immediately follow the family or genus discussion. All leads should be numbered, the second of each pair with a single quote ('). Leads ending in a taxon name should have only three periods (...) preceding the name; please do not use tabs or spaces. Leads not ending in a taxon name should end with a single period. The two leads of each couplet should be absolutely parallel, with the same characters mentioned in the same order with (as far as possible) the same wording. The first few words of each lead, especially, should always be the same. The more important characters should be listed first. Most often, artificial keys will best meet our needs, unless a natural key can be constructed that does not sacrifice utility. The most obvious and useful features for identification should be emphasized: usually, habital and vegetative characters, and habitat. Field characters (sap color, floral fragrances, etc.) are welcome; herbarium characters (color or texture of specimens upon drying, etc.) less so. In all species keys, the genus name should be abbreviated to the first initial. IMPORTANT: information given in keys must always be consistent with that given in descriptions!

H. Generic Entries. The information content for generic entries will be substantially the same as for family entries (see above). In the case of globally monogeneric families, distribution should be omitted from the genus heading. All generic descriptions within a particular family should be substantially parallel. Species with unique character-states should be mentioned in the genus description, to avoid needless repetition in the species descriptions. Where a family description is omitted (families with a single genus in Costa Rica), the generic description must contain all elements necessary for parallelism with family descriptions. Descriptions will be omitted for genera with a single species in Costa Rica. IMPORTANT: each generic description must be followed by a discussion featuring a diagnostic statement, briefly distinguishing the genus from all the other genera in the family occurring in Costa Rica. [For genera with a single species in Costa Rica, this may be deferred to the species discussion.] Also, the generic discussion is a good place to mention species cultivated on a limited scale (e.g., for ornament) in Costa Rica, and not otherwise treated in the Manual; alternatively, these may be mentioned in the discussion of a related or similar species.

I. Species Entries.

i. Species to be Treated. Pot-plants, patio ornamentals, and species cultivated on a trial or experimental basis, or in botanical gardens, will not be treated. Naturally occurring hybrids will not be treated fully unless they are distinctive, readily identified (i.e., can be incorporated in the species key), and exist as discrete and/or widely distributed populations. Other naturally occurring hybrids may be briefly mentioned at the end of the appropriate species descriptions if they are likely to be encountered, especially at heavily visited sites (as in Dieffenbachia at the Estación Biológica La Selva, for example). IMPORTANT: with exceedingly few exceptions, the Manual will only include species that have actually been collected within Costa Rica, and for which at least one herbarium specimen is extant and can be cited. The Manual is intended to be highly authoritative (and conservative) in its enumeration of the Costa Rican flora. In the interest of falsifiability, we will not include species on the sole basis of unvouchered literature or sight records, photographs, or living specimens in private collections or botanical gardens. So what are the exceptions? First, species for which the sole Costa Rican record is a lost or destroyed type, or a type illustration. Second, species that have been collected extremely near (virtually on) the border, such as along the Nicaraguan side of the Río San Juan, or on the Panamanian slopes of Cerro Echandi. Additional exceptions will be considered on an appeal basis.

ii. Novelties. What about species that have been collected in Costa Rica, but which have not been formally named? The publication of new combinations or nomina nova will be permitted in the Manual, but not of new taxa. Species that remain undescribed or unidentified at the time of publication should be given informal letter names (e.g., Columnea sp. A, sp. B., etc.), included in the key, and treated fully at the end of the alphabetical sequence. We ask that contributors be conservative in this regard; we have no desire to pad our species total with a lot of dubious entities. Letter names are intended for unequivocal new species that the contributor has not had the time or opportunity to formally name, not for aberrant or fragmentary individual collections that defy identification.

iii. Nomenclatural Paragraph.

a. The name (genus name always written out in full) will be followed by the author(s), abbreviated according to Kewís Authors of Plant Names (1992), with a citation of place of publication. These citations will omit titles of articles in periodicals; book titles will be abbreviated accordint to TL-2. Do not cite figures, except for names published before 1908. Where appropriate, the basionym (or replaced name, in the case of nomina nova) should follow, with author and citation. Important synonyms must also be cited, though without bibliographic data. "Important" synonyms include all names accepted in Paul Standleyís Flora of Costa Rica (1937-1938), as well as names accepted in other, more recent regional works: especially, Flora of Panama (Woodson & Schery, 1943-1980); Flora of Guatemala (Standley et al., 1946-1983); Rain Forests of Golfo Dulce (Allen, 1956); Flora Neotropica Monographs (various authors, 1968-); Flora costaricensis (Burger, 1971-); Flora of Barro Colorado Island (Croat, 1978); and Flora mesoamericana (various authors, 1994-). The accepted name will appear in boldface and all other names in italics; after the first mention, initials will be used for each genus name, unless there is a possibility for confusion. "Sensu" names (names that have been misapplied in standard works) should be cited, but their source(s) must be identified: "sensu Fl. Guatemala, Fl. Panama"; or: "sensu Fl. BCI"; or: "sensu FM, pro parte."

b. Spanish common names used widely in Costa Rica (or portions thereof) should be given at the very end of the nomenclatural paragraph. Regional use should be indicated (e.g., Guanacaste, Talamanca coast). English common names should be avoided, except for those used by English-speaking Costa Ricans along the Talamanca coast. Also, avoid very local common names sometimes invented for expedience by collectors and campesinos. Please do not cite names used only in other countries.

iv. Species Descriptions.

a. Species descriptions should be concise and diagnostic, with a minimum of gross characterization (beyond what is embodied in the genus description). They should also be substantially parallel, within a particular genus. [Exception: leaves and sepals are assumed to be always green, so that only rare deviations need be described.] The descriptions obviously cannot (and should not) be comprehensive, i.e., covering all characters from habit through stems, leaves, inflorescences, bracts, calyx, etc. However, those characters that are described should be mentioned in that conventional order (habit to seeds, proximal to distal, male to female, etc.). Features too small to be studied with a standard dissecting microscope, such as chromosomes or pollen, should be omitted. Measurements and meristic counts should follow directly after the organ measured or counted, with no intervening adjectives. Only metric units (mm, cm, m, km) are acceptable; do not use decimeters (dm). A single measurement (sepals 8-12 mm) will be construed as indicating length, or height; length by width will be indicated as follows: sepals 8-12 × 5-7 mm, or, leaves 10-15 cm × 1-3 mm. Extreme limits of measurements should be indicated parenthetically: sepals (6-) 8-12 (-15) mm. Where intermediate values are impossible or not expected, hyphens should be omitted: primary lateral veins 4-6 (7) per side; stamens 3 (6). IMPORTANT: for any given organ use the same units in all species descriptions of a particular genus, and also in the species key. Do not (for example) use mm to describe the width of narrower leaves, and cm for wider leaves.

b. Where genus description is omitted (genera with just one species in Costa Rica): species description must contain all elements necessary for parallelism with other generic descriptions in family.

c. Where both genus and family description are omitted (families with just one species in Costa Rica): species description must contain all elements necessary for parallelism with family descriptions.

v. Distribution and Phenology Paragraph. This paragraph will briefly enumerate habitat, elevational and geographic distribution within Costa Rica, flowering phenology, and overall geographic distribution (in that order), ending with the citation of a single voucher specimen. A complete example, with proper punctuation, follows (see also the Sample Treatments): "Wet forests, usually along creeks, 0-900 m; Atl. slope Cords. de Guanacaste and Central, S. Pac. slope (Golfo Dulce region). Fl. jan., jun.-nov. Hond. to Pac. Ecua. (Croat 66970, CR, MO)" Details on each of the component categories may be found below.

a. For habitat, please try to use Holdridge Life Zone forest descriptors: dry, moist, wet, and rain; "could forests" will also be accepted. Omit the ultimate adjective in the Holdridge phraseology ("tropical," "premontane," etc.); the elevational range (see below) will more or less serve this need. Supplementary microhabitat information is also welcome: "usually on steep slopes," "frequently in swampy sites," etc.

b. Elevational range within Costa Rica should be expressed in 50 m increments, rounding downward at the lower extreme and upward at the upper extreme (e.g., 550-2300 m, to represent 590-2260 m).

c. Geographic range within Costa Rica should be described with reference to slopes (Atlantic first, then Pacific) and major cordilleras, north to south. For example: "Atl. slope Cords. de Guanacaste, Central, and de Talamanca, Pac. slope Cord. de Talamanca, S Fila Costeña (Fila Cruces), Pen. de Osa"; or: N Atl. slope (Llanura de Los Guatusos), S Pac. slope (Golfo Dulce region)"; or: "Pac. slope, all major cordilleras"; or: "N Cord. de Talamanca (near Atirro, Prov. Cartago)." Occasionally, it may be appropriate to say simply "throughout the country." Do not use provinces, except as locators for individual sites (and individual sites should be mentioned only when just one or a few are known). Any narrative commentary on geographic distribution should be reserved for the discussion, e.g.: "known from just two collections in Costa Rica"; or: "especially common at higher elevations."

d. Data on flowering phenology within Costa Rica should be gleaned from herbarium specimens (except when other information may be available). This information will be presented in the Manual as a range of months during which flowering has actually been recorded; missing months will indicate absence of data, not necessarily of flowering. Examples: "jan.-mar., nov., dec."; "apr., may, aug., sep."; "jan.-dec." Use the final example only when there is actual data for flowering in every month of the year.

e. The overall New World distribution of each species should be expressed by naming the countries at the northern and southern extremes of the range, followed by any West Indian occurrences as follows: "S Mex. (Chis.) to Pan., Cuba;" "Nic. to Ecua., Ven."; or: "SE USA (Florida) to Bol., Guianas, E Braz., Antilles"; or: "CR and W Pan." Any Old World occurrences should be enumerated last: "Guat. to Bol., Ven., Trin., W. Africa, SE Asia, N Austral." For very wide-ranging species, a single word such as "cosmop." (cosmopolitan) or "pantrop." (pantropical) may suffice. For species that have never been collected outside Costa Rica, simply use the term "ENDEMIC" (all upper-case). Do not say (for example) "CR and probably W Pan." Endemism is always a negative hypothesis. In the case of monotypic genera, overall distribution should be omitted from the species entry.

f. The voucher selection should be made carefully. First and foremost, it must be representative of the species, and made in Costa Rica. If a Costa Rican specimen cannot be cited, the species must be deleted from the flora (with very few exceptions; see above). Second, the specimen should be represented in a Costa Rican herbarium, if at all possible. Because we intend that these vouchers will actually be consulted and used, contributors should avoid citing types or other historical collections (Alfaro, Biolley, Brenes, Pittier, Tonduz, Wercklé, etc.). Finally, all of the above requirements having first been met, the cited voucher should be as well-duplicated as possible (labels of most project-generated specimens indicate the total number of duplicates in the upper right corner), and the most ample, well-prepared specimen available. IMPORTANT: for species with more than one infraspecific taxon in Costa Rica, the voucher cited in this paragraph will correspond to the autonymic taxon, unless the latter is not represented (in which case the infraspecific identity of the voucher should be clearly indicated).

vi. Discussion.

a. IMPORTANT: Each species entry should end with a discussion featuring a diagnostic statement, briefly distinguishing the species from its Costa Rican congeners. This must be a narrative discussion in complete sentences. Ideally, it should transcend the key and formal description, providing clues not necessarily obvious from those more rigid formats: for example, by comparison with a superficially similar species that may come out in a distant part of the key (or may even belong to a different genus or family). The diagnostic statement should avoid repeating large chunks of the description.

b. After the diagnostic statement, the discussion may be extended judiciously, to cover taxonomic or distributional points of special interest, aberrant specimens, information of biological or ecological interest, or local uses: "valuable timber tree"; "pollen explosively released"; "infusion of lvs. used as a vermifuge"; "the pineapple of commerce"; "not known from below 900 m on the Pac. slope"; etc.

c. The species discussion is the place to record any accepted infraspecific taxa. All such taxa should be distinguished and vouchered (if more than one occurs in Costa Rica), and complete authorities and bibliographic data provided (except for autonyms), e.g.: "all Costa Rican material represents subsp. ensifolium"; or: "Costa Rican material of P. schottii belongs to subsp. talamancae (Engl.) Grayum (Syst. Bot. Monogr. 47: 142; 1996; P. talamancae Engl., Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 26: 511. 1899)"; or: "Material from the Pac. lowlands (Grayum et al. 4759, CR, MO), representing var. longipedunculatum Croat & Grayum (in Croat, Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 84: 563. 1997), tends to dry brownish and have firm (rather than spongy) petioles, longer peduncles, and longitudinally ribbed or costate spathes. The remainder of the geographic range in CR is occupied by var. wilburii." Unless speficied otherwise (see above), the voucher cited in the usual location (at the end of the "Distribution and Phenology" paragraph) will be assumed to apply to the autonymic infraspecific taxon. The Manual will not employ keys for infraspecific taxa.

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