Gazetteer of Costa Rican Plant-Collecting Locales

Proyecto Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica


This compilation attempts to account for all important plant-collecting localities within Costa Rica, especially those of historically prominent collectors. Recent collecting localities, especially those (e.g., of MO and INB collectors) already accompanied by very precise label data including coordinates, have not been so assiduously tracked down.

Each entry includes the following information:

Name of site. Important collectors. Elevation (SLOPE), PROVINCE: Quadrangle, Coordinates. Brief description and/or comments.

Remarks regarding the information content:

  • Name of site. Site names are listed alphabetically, with the following qualifications: Articles (El, La, Las, Los), though listed ahead of the nouns they modify, are ignored for alphabetizing purposes (example: "La Castilla" is so listed, but alphabetized under "C"); in compound place names, generic terms of natural features (Cerro, Río, Volcán, etc.) are subordinated to proper names, unless the generic term is an integral part of a town name (examples: Cerro de La Carpintera will be found as "La Carpintera, Cerro de" [alphabetized under "Ca"], and Río San Juan as "San Juan, Río;" however, the town of "Río Naranjo" will be listed as such and alphabetized under "R," and the town of "Cataratas de San Ramón" will be so listed under "C"); in compound town names, generic terms for settlements (Ciudad, Puerto, Villa) are subordinated to proper names, unless followed only by an adjective (examples: Ciudad Neily will be found under "Neily, Ciudad" Puerto Quepos under "Quepos, Puerto" and Villa Colón under "Colón, Villa"; however, "Puerto Viejo" is so listed and alphabetized).
  • Parts of place names that are sometimes or often omitted are included parenthetically, e.g.: "La Chonta (Laguna de)."
  • Collectors. Collectors known to have prepared specimens at a particular site are listed, though irregularly. This information is far from comprehensive, being most complete for historically significant collectors.
  • Elevation. Elevation is provided in meters, as taken from the most recent edition 1:50,000 (unless otherwise indicated) topographic map. These figures may differ significantly from the elevations given on early collectors' labels (which were sometimes rather grossly in error). Elevations of hamlets ("caseríos"), towns, and cities are generally taken from a point (a benchmark, if available) as close to the center as possible; elevations of peaks, islands, peninsulas, points, etc. are from at or near the summit (which is not necessarily where particular collections have been made); elevations of rivers or roads are generally from the section from which most collections have been made, or else a range is given; elevations of lakes reflect the average shoreline.
  • Slope. (A)=Atlantic slope; (CD)=Continental Divide; (P)=Pacific Slope.
  • Cantón. If known, the cantón name is listed after the Province name.
  • Quadrangle. The name of the Instituto Geográfico 1:50,000 (unless otherwise indicated) topographic quadrangle on which the particular site (or most of the lake, town, river, etc., or the summit of the peak) appears is indicated using this notation: PROVINCE, Cantón: Quadrangle. Phrases such as "not on current maps" refer specifically to these maps.
  • Coordinates. Coordinates, usually rounded to the nearest full minute, are taken from 1:50,000 topographic maps (unless otherwise indicated). The coordinates correspond to the indicated elevation.
  • Comments. These may include a brief description or other interesting remarks about the site. Rivers and streams (quebradas) are characterized as either flowing to the sea, or as tributaries of some other river or stream. The nomenclature used here for rivers and streams follows the maps (except where otherwise noted), not common sense. A frequent situation with Costa Rican rivers is for the lower portion (near the ocean) to have a different name from the upstream portion (cf. especially the Ríos Grande de Térraba, Matina, Parrita, Sixaola, and Tusubres); one imagines that settlers along the coast had one name for the large river they knew, while settlers in the mountains had a different name for the same (smaller) river. However, peculiar name changes may also occur in other situations (cf. Río Jabillos). We have left some notes for ourselves in square brackets.

This compilation is now, and shall always be, a work in progress. We hope that botanists concerned with Costa Rica will put this to heavy use, and keep track of any omissions or errors they may encounter and communicate these to us (with name of collector and other pertinent data). Some names appear with no data at all; these are generally localities that we have been as yet unable to localize, and for which we are especially desirous of information. Some locality names gleaned from literature sources may prove to be transcriptional errors from the original label data.


  • BARTRAM, E. B. 1928. Costa Rican mosses collected by Paul C. Standley in 1924–1926. Contr. U. S. Natl. Herb. 26: 51–114.
  • CALVERT, A. S., & P. P. CALVERT. 1917. A year of Costa Rican natural history. New York: Macmillan Co.
  • CARRIKER, M. A., JR. 1910. An annotated list of the birds of Costa Rica including Cocos Island. Ann. Carnegie Mus. 6:314–951.
  • CONSTENLA UMAÑA, A. & E. S. MAROTO ROJAS. 1986. Leyendas y tradiciones borucas. 2. ed. San José: Edit. Univ. Costa Rica.
  • CHINCHILLA VALENCIANO, E. 1987. Atlas cantonal de Costa Rica. San José: Inst. de Fomento y Asesoría Municipal.
  • DODGE, C. W. 1933. The foliose and fruticose lichens of Costa Rica. I. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 20: 373–467.
  • DURAND, T. 1891. Quelques mots sur les Plantae costaricenses exsiccatae. Bull. Soc. Roy. Bot. Belgique 30(1): 41–48.
  • GAGINI, C. 1989. Diccionario de costarriqueñismos. 5 ed. San José: Edit. Costa Rica.
  • LEÓN, J. 2003. La exploración botánica de Costa Rica en el siglo XIX. Pp. 129–185 in, G. P. Huertas (compiler), Ciencia y técnica en la Costa Rica del siglo XIX. San José: Edit. Tecnol. Costa Rica.
  • NORIEGA, F. F. 1904. Diccionario geográfico de Costa Rica. San José: A. Alsina.
  • PITTIER, H. 1892['1890']. Viaje de exploración al Río Grande de Térraba. Anales Inst. Fís.-Geogr. Nac. Costa Rica 3: 57–106.
  • _____. 1895['1893']. Nombres geográficos de Costa Rica. I. Talamanca. Anales Inst. Fís.-Geogr. Nac. Costa Rica 6: 93–107.
  • SALGUERO, M. 1985. Cantones de Costa Rica. San José: Edit. Imediex.
  • TONDUZ, A. 1893['1891']. Exploraciones botánicas efectuadas en la parte meridional de Costa Rica. Anales Inst. Fís.-Geogr. Mus. Nac. Costa Rica 4: 107–130.
  • TRISTÁN, J. F. 1966. Baratijas de antaño. San José: Edit. Costa Rica.
  • WERCKLÉ, C. 1909. La subregión fitogeográfica costarricense. San José: Soc. Nac. Agric. Costa Rica.

This page was redesigned 09/25/09.