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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XIV, Number 2, April 2007

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

TALAMANCA TRANSECT.  INBio greenhorn Daniel Santamaría and fabled trail boss and guide William Gamboa ventured out on 22 January for an exploratory hike from Ujarrás de Buenos Aires to San José Cabécar, along the historical trail now known as the “Sendero Trans Talamanca.”  This effort was preparatory to a month-long collecting expedition, involving helicopters, projected for the middle of February.  All this was part of the Darwin Initiative [see The Cutting Edge 13(3): 2, Jul. 2006] to gather basic data for vegetation mapping of the Parque Internacional La Amistad, administered jointly by Costa Rica and Panama.  William calculated that they should be able to do the forced march (no collecting permitted!) in about eight days, but they allowed 15 days for the round-trip from INBio.  All of the preceding having been said (and done) just after our last issue was sent out, the real news now is that the actual expedition was completed successfully, during the period 19 February–22 March.  Botanists on the trip were Alex Monro (BM), Alexánder Rodríguez (INB), Santamaría, and Daniel Solano (INB).  An estimated 1800 numbers were collected, and while no country records were immediately apparent, the specimens have yet to be processed.  In the end, the trip was done without the aid of helicopters or horses, so some collecting time was inevitably lost.

SAD NOTICE.  We have recently been informed of the untimely death of former INBio webmeister Werner Böhl, who was shot by burglars attempting to rob his neighbor’s house in Costa Rica (the maid in that house was also murdered).  The four youthful culprits bungled every aspect of the escapade, and all were quickly apprehended.  Werner was credited in the Manual (Vol. 1, pp. 47 and 50) for having designed the original web version of the INBio/Manual database.  Brilliant, flamboyant, sometimes brusque but always affable, Werner Böhl (who left INBio ca. 1997) will be fondly remembered by all who knew him.

JOURNAL WOES.  According to information from a generally reliable source, two of the three main Costa Rican scientific journals have recently closed their doors to most conventional taxonomic papers (e.g., revisions and new taxa).  The Revista de Biología Tropical, published by the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), will no longer consider manuscripts of said ilk, presumably in an effort to appear more “scientific” (though we expect they will continue to publish taxonomic papers with a molecular-phylogenetic component).  This is no great surprise, since the Revista has been trending heavily in that direction for a number of years.  A greater shock is the sudden turnabout at Lankesteriana (also published by UCR), which had recently emerged as a very reliable outlet for the expedient publication of all kinds of taxonomic papers (but especially those dedicated to epiphytes).  Henceforth, it appears that Lankesteriana will publish only papers (both taxonomic and ecological) pertaining to Orchidaceae.  Costa Rican botanists working on families other than Orchidaceae now are left with only Brenesia (published by the Museo Nacional), if they wish to publish in a national journal.

MAJOR ORCHID CONGRESS.  The announcement regarding Lankesteriana (see previous entry) was apparently made at the III Congreso Internacional de Conservación de Orquídeas, organized by the Jardín Botánico Lankester, which transpired in San José during 19–24 March.  For additional information, proceed to the following site:


VISITORS IN COSTA RICA.  Well, we now know that Gerry Moore (BKL) and friends were afoot (see Poaceae entry in “Leaps and Bounds”), though our paths didn’t cross.  Don Stone and (DUKE) Charlotte Taylor (MO) passed through briefly in late March for meetings at the Estación Biológica La Selva, and Charlotte stopped at INB to identify a huge backlog of Rubiaceae indets.  North American botanist Sara Crockett and her German husband Wolfgang Schuehly, both based in Austria, visited Costa Rica during 24 February–13 March, she working mainly on pollination of Clusia (Clusiaceae) and phytochemistry of Hypericum (Hypericaceae), he in seach of Drimys (Winteraceae), Magnolia (Magnoliaceae), and a sp. of Tetrathylacium (Flacourtiaceae, or rather, Salicaceae) ostensibly pollinated by grasshoppers.  Most of their time was spent at the Austrian field station at La Gamba (near Golfito), but they also explored in the Cerro de La Muerte region.  We never learned whether the grasshopper was caught in action.

HOT OFF THE PRESSES!  Manual contributor Quírico Jiménez has informed us of the recent publication of the following title:

Rojas, F., G. Bermúdez & Q. Jiménez.  2006.  Plantas ornamentales del trópico.  Edit. Tecnol. Costa Rica.  704 pp.

We’ve not yet seen this work, but promise to feature it in our “Germane Literature” column at the earliest opportunity.

And this breaking news:  Cornell University Press has just announced the publication of Willow Zuchowski’s new book, Tropical plants of Costa Rica, which we assume to be, effectively, the second edition of her wildly successful 2005 opus, A guide to tropical plants of Costa Rica [see The Cutting Edge 13(1): 13–14, Jan. 2006].  As soon as we have a copy in hand, we’ll fill you in on the juicy details.  Meanwhile, interested parties can learn more at the following site:



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