Flora Mesoamericana: Gerrit Davidse, co-editor, directs the Garden’s participation in this project. The Flora Mesoamericana project is an international collaborative program organized by the Missouri Botanical Garden (MO), the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (MEXU), Mario Sousa S., co-editor, and the Natural History Museum (BM), London, Sandra Knapp, co-editor.
Mesoamerica is defined by the project to include all the Central American republics (Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize) and five Mexican States east of thee Isthmus of Tehuantepec (Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo). The Wallace Genetic Foundation currently funds a part of the Garden’s participation in the project.
Cooperative planning and participation of Mesoamerican botanists are major features of the project. The Flora Mesoamericana, one of the largest synoptic Floras ever attempted, is being published in Spanish by Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in seven volumes and on the World Wide Web in a non-book format with individual pages for each Mesoamerican vascular plant name. These pages are linked to other names, descriptions, keys, illustrations, voucher specimens, maps, and other databases, as appropriate. Images of Mesoamerican plants, including many type images, also appear on the project’s Web pages. In addition to its richer content, the electronic version is updated as new data becomes available and, therefore, slowly advances beyond the printed volumes. See the Flora Mesoamericana home page for more details [www.tropicos.org/Project/FM].
In 1994, Volume 6 was published in Mexico City. This volume covers about 40% of the monocots, including Poaceae, Cyperaceae, Bromeliaceae, and most aquatic monocot families. Volume 1, dealing with the ferns and fern allies, was co-edited by Ramón Riba (UAMIZ) and Robbin Moran (NY) and published in 1995. Manuscripts for Volume 4, dealing with 34 families of dicots, are still being received from contributors and are being edited and translated. However, completed treatments of these dicot families are being published on the Web as they are finished prior to the publication of the volume. Also, many other families pertaining to other volumes are actively being worked on, and a number of these families have been completed and published on the Web.
Other Flora Mesoamericana staff members include Fred Barrie, who is based at the Field Museum (F) and works as an associate editor and contributor. Robert L. Dressler, based at the University of Florida in Gainesville (FLAS), works on the largest family in the Flora, the Orchidaceae. Jeany Davidse assists the project with placing the completed treatments on the Web and creates the numerous links related to information. She also works on many type collections, continues databasing nomenclature and exsiccatae records, and does the general processing of newly acquired collections. Teri Bilsborrow, in preparation for imaging, has databased and verified most of the Mesoamerican type collections at MO and has also contributed many exsiccatae records. Exsiccatae records from the herbarium are systematically entered as part of the effort to update the computerized checklist of accepted species. Based on MO specimens, she has recently completed a survey of recording label data from at least one specimen for each country and each of the five Mexican states for all Mesoamerican species. With input from the entire MO team, exsiccatae databasing will now shift to more fully document the distribution of all Mesoamerican species with as much detail as possible, especially emphasizing those specimens with detailed locality data and geographical coordinates.
The project has four very dedicated volunteers who tend to specialize in the indicated areas of the database: Virginia G. Laschober (types, synonymy, distribution); John S. Skinner (nomenclature, types): Bruce Phillips (exsiccatae records); and Shirley Anton (exsiccatae records).
Costa Rica: Barry Hammel and Michael H. Grayum coordinate the Garden’s program in Costa Rica. The goals of this National Science Foundation-funded project are to collect in poorly known areas, computerize plant collection records, and prepare a Spanish-language field guide, the Manual to the Plants of Costa Rica. Carmen Ulloa assists with scientific editing, and Mary Merello, project coordinator, works with the plant collections, updates the database, and helps with family treatments. The project continues in close collaboration with the Herbario Nacional de Costa Rica (CR) of the Museo Nacional and with the Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio). The offices of the project are currently located at INBio. Silvia Troyo continues working full-time on illustrations for the Manual, preparing at least one diagnostic, diagrammatic drawing per genus. Cecilia Herrera edits text and translations. Nelson Zamora, head of the Department of Botany at INBio, and Jorge Gómez-Laurito of the University of Costa Rica are important contacts and major collaborators in Costa Rica. Alfredo Cascante and Joaquín Sánchez of the Museo Nacional are collaborating, as are all curators at INBio. World Wide Web products of the Manual project, including a checklist with color images of most families and a specimen database with dot maps, a quarterly newsletter, a gazetteer, and sample treatments can be accessed at www.mobot.org/manual.plantas/.
Nicaragua: The Flora de Nicaragua, W.D. Stevens, Carmen Ulloa Ulloa, Amy Pool, and Olga Martha Montiel, editors, was published in February 2001. It is the first modern flora of that country and the first complete flora of a Latin American country published in Spanish. About 23 years in the making, the Flora describes 5,796 species in 1,699 genera in 225 families of seed plants. The largest family is the Orchidaceae with 601 species. There were 175 contributors from 16 countries. The Flora is divided into Gymnosperms and Angiosperms, and within those groups taxa are alphabetical. Families and genera have identification keys. Species treatments include the place of original publication, general synonymy, a brief description, habitat and distribution within the country, vouchers, phenology, general distribution, and some well-established local names.
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News from MO 2001 was created by Kathy Hurlbert, Leslie Miller, Eloise Cannady and Mary Merello (October 2001) and placed on the MOBOT webserver 1/22/02.