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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XIV, Number 4, October 2007

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

GAZETTEER UPDATED.  It seems that, every five years or so, somebody appears on the scene to facilitate the extensive updating of our Costa Rican botanical gazetteer that is needed periodically.  This time around it was Naomi Yoder, who was working to pinpoint collecting localities for Gerrit Davidse’s Flora mesoamericana project, and started with Costa Rica.  With Naomi’s assistance, we were able to enter all the data we had compiled since our last updating; not only that, she pitched right in and contributed additional information that we had overlooked.  She also began adding in the names of cantones, and fleshing out coordinates to the nearest second (though much still remains to be done along those lines).  Furthermore, we decided to abandon the archaic and annoying practice of treating “ch” as though it were a single letter, and realphabetized accordingly.  Consult the new and improved gazetteer at:


Thanks to Naomi, and to Myriam Fica for posting this on-line, complete with clickable cross-referencing.  We’ve already begun penciling in updates for our next go-round—whenever that may be!

TALAMANCA TRAVELS.  INBio botanists Alexánder Rodríguez, Daniel Santamaría, and Daniel Solano returned on the last day of August after an eventful three weeks collecting in the vicinity of Lago Dabagri, a remote site on the Caribbean slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca.  This intensive effort, facilitated by a helicopter, was another cornerstone of the Darwin Initiative [see The Cutting Edge 13(2) Apr. 2006].  No word yet on the results of the expedition, but we anticipate many significant discoveries.

GUANACASTE AGAIN.  Manual co-PI Mike Grayum was in Costa Rica from 26 July–3 September, mainly to collect in the Cordillera de Guanacaste with funding from the National Geographic Society.  The agenda this time around was to thoroughly inventory the poorly collected summit regions and upper Atlantic versants of both Cerro Cacao and Volcán Orosí, the northernmost peaks in the range.  In this effort he was joined by three of the more accomplished field botanists in Central America:  Francisco Morales (INB; on Orosí), Armando Soto (INB; on Cacao), and Alexander Rojas (USJ; both peaks).  Grayum, Morales, and Soto all pursued general collecting (with Chico indulging a moderate penchant for small orchids), while pteridologist Rojas collected only ferns (of which a great many were in evidence).  Área de Conservación Guanacaste scientific liaison officer María Marta Chavarría played a critical organizational role and accompanied our party for the entire month.  Highlights of the trip were many, and we believe we were the first botanists (if not biologists) to collect on the upper Atlantic slope of Cerro Cacao, as well as on the summit ridge of Volcán Orosí (where we camped for four nights).  Props to our congenial porters, Gabriel Araya, José Ángel Calvo, Daniel (“El Zorro”) García, and Rafael Umaña, who not only schlepped our cargo, but ventured into the field as well.

CONSERVATION WORKSHOP.  Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora (INB/LSCR) was a featured speaker at a week-long (15–21 September) workshop examining IUCN Red Data Book categories and criteria for the monitoring and conservaton of plant spp.  Among the other speakers were Randall García (INB) and George Schatz (MO), as well as prominent Costa Rican botanists Rafael Ocampo and Dora Ingrid Rivera.  The workshop, staged at INBio, was sponsored in part by the Red Latinoamericana de Botánica and the Universidad de Costa Rica.

NORTHWARD BOUND.  Manual co-PI Barry Hammel and wife Isabel Pérez journeyed to St. Louis on 27 August for a six-week stay at MO.  They also seized the opportunity to put in a few days at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.  Clusiaceae is the main agenda, as Barry finishes work on that family for the Manual and Flora mesoamericana.

STAPLE ZINGERS.  Not long ago, La Nación, the most prominent Costa Rican daily, switched to a larger page size, while retaining its tabloid format.  We like the larger pages, as they more closely approximate the size of a standard (American) herbarium sheet.  The bad news is that, for whatever reason, some of the page signatures are now fastened together with metal staples.  These staples are a continual annoyance in the field, and we make every effort to remove them.  Inevitably, though, we will miss a few.  This information is of particular concern to herbaria that routinely receive Costa Rican material and employ microwave ovens to kill vermin.  We suspect that even a single staple could provoke a microwave fire that might destroy an entire batch of specimens (or more).


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