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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

Main | Family List (MO) | Family List (INBio) | Cutting Edge
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The Cutting Edge

Volume XVII, Number 3, July 2010

News and Notes | Germane Literature | Season's Pick

BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN. Some time ago [see The Cutting Edge 15(4): 1, Oct. 2008] we provided the following URL http://www.tramitesconstruccion.go.cr/HojasCOSTARICA/CR1_50.htm for a Web site on which the complete set of 1:50,000 topographic maps published by the Instituto Geográfico de Costa Rica could be conveniently accessed. We quickly became addicted to this resource (despite having a complete hard-copy set close at hand!), but it mysteriously became inoperable at some point during the past year (did anyone else notice?). But salvation is now at hand! Manual correspondent Mario Blanco (FLAS) has pointed out that these same maps are now accessible at the following site:


We’ve been using this site for more than a month now with complete satisfaction, and can affirm that it has all the same features we described for the previous site.

DAWNING OF A NEW AGE. We had earlier reported [see The Cutting Edge 16(4), Oct. 2009, this column] that INBio’s long-time Executive Director, Alfio Piva, had resigned to run for vice president in the Costa Rican national election. His party did indeed emerge victorious, and we extend our congratulations to Don Alfio and his running-mate, Laura Chinchilla, Costa Rica’s first female president. Today (15 July), in a message from INBio President Rodrigo Gámez, the name of Don Alfio’s replacement was revealed: he is Dr. Carlos Enrique Hernández Herrero, whose previous affiliations include the Reserva Conchal, Universidad EARTH, and the United Nations. Dr. Hernández earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the University of Virginia and Purdue University, respectively, and his doctorate (in Natural Resources and Agricultural Development) at Michigan State University.

Meanwhile at the Missouri Botanical Garden, Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson, former head of the Irish National Botanic Gardens, has been selected to fill the shoes of President Peter H. Raven, who will be stepping down as of 1 September. This will by now be old news for most of our readers, but we would be remiss not to report it. Dr. Raven will remain on the premises, and we hope to have the benefit of his wisdom and counsel for many years to come.

We welcome Drs. Hernández and Wyse Jackson to their new posts, and wish them the best.

DEDICATION. Congratulations to famed Costa Rica botanist Luis Poveda, recently honored by his institution, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma, Heredia, in the name of their renovated garden: the Jardín Medicinal Luis Jorge Poveda Álvarez.

INTERNATIONAL WANDERINGS. Following his lengthy stint at F (see this column in our last issue), INBio’s Daniel Santamaría traveled by rail to St. Louis, where he worked at MO during the period 18–28 May. Having made a very favorable impression, he rode the train back to Chicago, whence he flew home to Costa Rica on 29 May. INBio curator Francisco Morales was in Washington, DC, during 6–15 June, working at US to complete his treatments of Sabiaceae (for the Manual and Flora mesoamericana), Sapotaceae (for the Manual), and other miscellaneous families. INB herbarium manager Frank González just returned (19 July) from five weeks at the British Museum with Alex Monro (BM) finishing a checklist of Parque Nacional La Amistad, under the auspices of the Darwin Initiative.

VISITORS IN COSTA RICA. Mary and Peter Endress (Z) and André O. Simões (SPF) were in town and country for two weeks (3–17) in April, collecting material for several projects on Apocynaceae phylogeny, mostly in subfam. Rauvolfioideae. On vacation with family and friends, Guido Mathieu (GENT) stopped by INB to look at Peperomia specimens and took along with him a few loans for determination. Brad Boyle (ARIZ) and Robbin Moran (NY) once again coordinated the OTS course in Tropical Plant Systematics (ca. 1 June–11 July). Robbin came by INB for a day after the course to help with the fern determination backlog. Two course students that we know of, Saul Hoyos Gómez (University of Missouri–St. Louis) and Laura Lagomarsino (GH), are staying after the course for a week or two, collecting Violaceae and Campanulaceae, respectively. Saul is being hosted by former INBio parataxonomist Reinaldo Aguilar (NY/Vascular Plants of the Osa Peninsula) on the Península de Osa and, coincidentally, Laura is being assisted around various Campanulaceae hot-spots by Reinaldo's nephew, Daniel Santamaría (INB).

R. I. P. ALFARO RUIZ. Juan Alfaro Ruiz (1810–1856) was a Costa Rican national hero, who distinguished himself as a colonel in the war against the "filibusteros" (a group spearheaded by the Napoleonic American mercenary William Walker), during which he lost his life in Liberia. Before that, he had pioneered a route northward from the Valle Central that passed through the cantón (of the Provincia de Alajuela) that has carried his name since 1915. The foregoing facts are easily learned from sources at hand in this office in the United States, but must be little appreciated by the contemporary residents of the cantón, who recently forged an initiative to change its name to "Zarcero," on the grounds that "nadie sabe qué es Alfaro Ruiz" (the existence of both a community and a district named Zarcero did not factor into the equation). Because the change is now official, Zarcero de Alfaro Ruiz, a name that appears on countless herbarium labels, will now become Zarcero de...Zarcero? It seems that the neighboring cantón of Valverde Vega (wherein lies the well-known town of Sarchí) may be headed for a similar fate. We suspect that these are the same people, with too much time on their hands, who ceaselessly go about changing the locations of bus-stops and the directions of one-way streets. We gratefully acknowledge Mario Blanco (FLAS) for this news (though the editorializing is all ours!).


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