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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XV, Number 4, October 2008

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

VALUABLE NEW WEB RESOURCES.  Complete hard-copy sets of the Instituto Geográfico de Costa Rica 1:50,000 topographic maps for the country are conveniently available at both Manual offices (INB and MO).  For those not so fortunate, scanned images of all said maps can now be quickly accessed at:


Just click on any quadrangle on the index map!  Quadrangle names (such as indicated in our Gazetteer) appear at the end of the status bar (assuming it is activated) as one scrolls across the screen.  With any particular quadrangle open, simply click in the appropriate margin to open the next map in whatever direction.

Another important geographic resource always at hand in our offices is the Atlas cantonal de Costa Rica (1987), by Eduardo Chinchilla V., published by the Costa Rican Instituto de Fomento y Asesoría Municipal (IFAM).  This publication features maps of every Costa Rican province and cantón, together with country and index maps.  Indispensable for establishing the cantón for any given locality (as well as the distrito, if one is so inclined), this obscure atlas is now available to one and all at:


Unfortunately, the Web site omits the textual portion of the book, which provides much valuable information (especially historical and geological) for each cantón.

NEW ORCHID SITE.  For a rich new source of information on orchids (Costa Rican and otherwise), try the following Web site, supported by the Jardín Botánico Lankester:


Here you will find scads of outstanding color photos, plus bibliographic and typological data associated with every name, including links to images of actual protologues.

TALAMANCA EXPEDITION.  As we go to “press,” the final expedition in the current series sponsored by the Darwin Initiative [see The Cutting Edge 13(3): 2, Jul. 2006] is underway.  This is one of the most exciting ones, from our perspective, as it begins in the Atlantic lowlands of Costa Rica, right on the Panamanian border where the Río Yorkín empties into the Río Sixaola.  From that point, the various participants will hike along the Río Yorkín upstream to the mouth of the Río Tskuí (a site called “Tskuiñak,” in the local idiom, and a classic collecting locality of Henri Pittier).  The planned route (already pioneered) continues upstream along the Río Tskuí, soon crossing into Panamanian territory, diverging eastward, and ascending via the Fila de Almendro to (eventually) nearly 1500 m elevation.  Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora (INB) will be among the botanical collectors on this excursion, which promises to yield many new records for both Costa Rica and Panama.

VISITATIONS.  Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora (INB) spent the entire month of September in residence at MO, working non-stop on Fabaceae (especially subfam. Caesalpinioideae) for his treatment (now practically finished) to be published in our next volume.  Spotted at MO’s annual Fall symposium were Manual Orchidaceae coordinator Robert L. Dressler, all the way from Costa Rica (with wife Kerry), where he has been resident for the past several years; and another husband-and-wife team, Paul Maas and Hiltje Maas-van de Kamer, authors (in one order or the other) of various Manual treatments including Burmanniaceae, Cannaceae, Costaceae, Gentianaceae (pro parte), Haemodoraceae, Triuridaceae, and Zingiberaceae.  The Maas’s worked in the herbarium for a week before the symposium and two weeks after, mainly on Annonaceae, yet another of their specialties.  INB curator Francisco Morales returned to El Salvador, during 8–20 August, to teach a course on botany and taxonomy, and was able to squeeze in a visit to Parque Nacional Montecristo.

EASY STREET.  Congrats to Manual contributor Garrett E. Crow (various aquatic plant families), who recently retired from his position at NHA and, like Manual Ericaceae co-contributor Jim Luteyn before him [see The Cutting Edge 15(1): 9, Jan. 2008], gone to live in Michigan.  What is it about Michigan, anyway?


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