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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume IX, Number 4, October 2002

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

THE FUTURE'S SO BRIGHT, WE GOTTA WEAR SHADES. The final editing for the first two volumes of the Manual was completed, on (revised) schedule, as of 1 October, 2002. Actually, the first two volumes have now (tentatively) become three, as we have pretty much decided to publish the introductory part separately. The designation “Manual“ becomes ever more inept! Allowing approximately six months for typesetting and printing means that publication can be anticipated by 1 April, 2003, or thereabouts. A thousand thanks to all of our monocot contributors, who have been so patient and collaborative during this agonizing process; may the dicot crowd be so easy to deal with! Meanwhile, the future of the Manual project beyond 1 April looks sunny, thanks largely to a recent gift to MO by Enterprise Rent-A-Car totaling some $30 million, apparently the largest private donation ever awarded a botanical institution in this country. Our modest needs for the foreseeable future (mainly, salary for our Costa Rican staff) will not tax even the interest from this unfathomable sum.

HOUNDING IN OLD ST. LOO. Manual co-PI Barry Hammel was spotted on the grounds of the Missouri Botanical Garden for three consecutive days in mid-September. His brief visit was strictly ceremonial, coinciding with the formal announcement of the donation mentioned in the foregoing paragraph. Following a long and unexplained absence, Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora arrived in St. Louis on 7 October for a visit of a month plus. Nelson is working mostly toward completing his important treatment of Fabaceae for the Manual (with Phaseolus, Vigna, and related genera most in need of attention).

ORCHIDS GALORE. Manual Orchidaceae coordinator Robert L. Dressler and photographer wife Kerry Dressler were in Costa Rica at the invite of the annual orchid show, which spilled over into a sumptuous and very popular display at INBioParque by Lankester Gardens. Bob and Kerry hand-delivered a CD of color photos selected for the several color plates to accompany the Manual volume containing orchids. Our thanks to both of them for this. Also rumored: a visit, to help set up the Lankester display, by renowned illustrator, botanist, co-editor of Lankesteriana, and orchidophile Franco Pupulin (we didn't actually see him).

OTHER VISITORS FROM THE NORTH. Jun Wen (F) of, east Asian/eastern North American biogeography fame, was in Costa Rica from 16 September-12 October, primarily to collect Dendropanax and Oreopanax in preparation for her treatment of Araliaceae for Flora Neotropica Monographs. The trip was very successful, thanks partly to Reinaldo Aguilar's field experience and knowledge of the flora, except for a somewhat aborted attempt to recollect Nyssa talamancana Hammel & N. Zamora (Cornaceae); Jun and Reinaldo had programmed the minimal four days for the round-trip to the Reserva Biológica Hitoy-Cerere to find it, but returned after just three. A local station guide was not available to assist on the trip, so they set out with some passing vaqueanos, who misled them up the relatively well-known ridge behind the station toward Lomas Tsipúbeta, instead of along the river to the still barely touched Cerro Bitárkara.

INBio TAXONOMY GOES BIG-TIME. From 4-25 August, INBio botanists (all of the curators, led by Nelson Zamora and José González, assisted by Reinaldo Aguilar and Priscilla Hurtado) presented a course on “Taxonomía de Plantas Neotropicales.“ This was primarily a field-oriented identification course, with stops at Parque Nacional Santa Rosa, Estación Biológica San Ramón, Estación La Gamba near Golfito, and Cerro de La Muerte. Nelson, José, Reinaldo and Priscilla were along for the full ride, while curators Alexander ('Popeye') Rodríguez, Barry Hammel, and Francisco Morales made shorter visits to particular stations. The course was targeted specifically for Middle Americans, with participants (13 total) from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, and Panama (one each), El Salvador and Nicaragua (two each), and Costa Rica (four). The course fee was $1800 per head, with partial financing provided on a case-by-case basis.

GAZETTEER REVISED. Check out our “Gazetteer of Costa Rican Plant-Collecting Locales,“ recently subjected to a long-overdue revision, at:


In addition to many new localities, descriptions have been added, in most cases, with occasional remarks on other topics of interest. If you were unable to find a critical locality previously, try again (although some historical place-names remain a mystery to us). Now we can toss the copiously annotated, dog-eared hard-copy we've been toting around for the past decade or so!



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