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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XIII, Number 1, January 2006

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

LATIN IN HONDURAS. Botanists from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua flocked to the Escuela Agrícola Panamericana in Zamorano, Honduras, during 31 October through 4 November to take part in a course in Botanical Latin organized by INBio. The classes, taught by Cirilo Nelson (TEFH), ran from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. each day and required both oral and written participation, as well as homework. During their off hours, students had the opportunity to visit and work in the EAP herbarium. Costa Rica was well represented at this event by Alfredo Cascante, Armando Ruiz, and Joaquín Sánchez (CR); Francisco Morales, Alexánder Rodríguez, and Armando Soto (INB); and Alexander Rojas (Jardín Botánico Lankester). We are indebted to Joaquín for this report!

BRIEFLY IN TIQUICIA. Manual co-PI Mike Grayum traveled to Costa Rica in the company of Rubiaceae contributor Charlotte M. Taylor (MO) during the week of 30 October–6 November, mainly to participate in an organizational meeting for the rejuvenated La Selva flora project (of which Charlotte is jointly in charge). Both individuals found some time to work in the INB herbarium, and Charlotte also squeezed in a few days at CR. Also on hand for the La Selva meeting were project PI Donald E. Stone (DUKE) and resident botanists José González and Nelson Zamora (INB).

Ricardo Kriebel, Manual Gesneriaceae contributor and Melastomataceae collaborator home on Christmas break (20 December–23 January) from his studies at CAS, kept us all abreast of his excursions to favorite haunts (especially Zona Protectora El Rodeo) via digital photos of his favorite plants and interactions.

Manual Solanaceae contributor Lynn Bohs (UT) and her plant-physiologist husband John Sperry (UT) made a quick trip (9–16 January) down south, she to collect various Solanaceae (especially Solanum), he to gather material for water-relations studies of basal angiosperms, specifically Drimys granadensis L. f. (Winteraceae) and Hedyosmum spp. (Chloranthaceae). We kept our thriving but small sapling of Pleodendron costaricense N. Zamora, Hammel & R. Aguilar (Canellaceae; see under “Germane Literature”) away from John’s heavy hand. Lynn and John spent most of their time at Monteverde with resident biologists William Haber (MO) and Willow Zuchowski, but also made day-trips to Volcán Barva and Parque Nacional Tapantí in the able company of Armando Soto (INB collections manager and Solanaceae curator).

REVERSING THE FLOW. INB curator Alexánder Rodríguez is presently at MO for a stay of about two weeks (15–30 January). Alex will be making final adjustments to his Manual treatment of the difficult genus Guarea (Meliaceae), based on a study of important collections on loan from DUKE. He will also be working in the library and herbarium on various other Manual treatments and miscellaneous manuscripts.

OBITUARIES. Our profound condolences go out to the family of MO curator and good friend Guanghua Zhu, who succumbed to lung cancer on 2 November, 2005. Guanghua, who had never been a smoker, was a critically important editor of MO’s highly successful Flora of China project. His botanical expertise and unique cross-cultural and language skills rendered him indispensable to that effort, and he will be extremely difficult to replace. Guanghua obtained his Ph.D. at MO (University of Missouri-St. Louis) on the basis of a revision and cladistic analysis of the difficult and (then) poorly known neotropical genus Dracontium (Araceae), with Thomas B. Croat as his main adviser (and Manual co-PI Mike Grayum on his committee). Field work was essential to a proper understanding of these gigantic herbs, and Guanghua was more than up to the task, traveling widely throughout Central and South America to collect and photograph his subjects. One of his many stops was Costa Rica, where he acquired the affectionate nickname “Juan.” He leaves his wife and young son in St. Louis, as well as his parents and siblings in Inner Mongolia.

Our hearts also go out to our longtime associate Gerardo Herrera, whose father passed on (at the age of 95!), and to Manual stateside coordinator (and gymnosperm contributor) Mary Merello, who lost her mother.


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