Tropical Plants of Costa Rica: A Guide to Native and Exotic Flora
Ranging from miniature epiphytic orchids to towering trees, and from mangrove forests lining coastal waterways to high-elevation cloud forests, Costa Rica's rich and varied flora dazzles visitors and botanists alike. Tropical Plants of Costa Rica, the first popular treatment to include plants from all regions of the country, is an indispensable guide to native and exotic species found in the neotropics.This book is beautifully illustrated with more than 540 full-color photographs taken in the field, each depicting an entire plant or a closer view of flowers, fruits, or seeds. Instructive pen-and-ink drawings of botanical details also accompany many of the accounts. The text clearly explains each plant's identifying characteristics and reveals fascinating facts about its natural history, chemical properties, economic importance, and medicinal and other uses. Sidebar features throughout the book highlight conservation, ethnobotany, and ecology; their topics include unusual applications for plants, distinct attributes of certain plant families, and plants of particular microhabitats. Tropical Plants of Costa Rica is a wonderful resource for naturalists, students, and researchers, as well as both experienced and first-time visitors to Costa Rica and the American tropics.
A very handy plant guide for visitors to Costa Rica
By Christopher J. Sharpe "Chris Sharpe" - September 6, 2007
I picked up a copy of this guide (published in San Jose by Zona Tropical) at La Selva last year and consider it a worthy addition to the small library I carry in Costa Rica. I would recommend it as the most useful single volume work on Costa Rican plants.
The guide is aimed at the amateur rather than the professional botanist: photographs are the prime means of identification, plants are presented out of family order (more below) and there are no keys. Nevertheless, it is quite possible to identify a good many of the country's commoner plants using this guide.
The order of the plants is:-
1. colourful-flowering trees 2. non-colourful-flowering trees 3. roadside and garden exotics 4. crop plants 5. living fences (so characteristic of Costa Rica) 6. special habitats, e.g. dry forests, cloud forests, beaches & mangroves 7. quintessentially tropical groups, e.g. bromeliads, palms & orchids 8. grasses
By Marjorie M. Holland "professor of biology" - September 13, 2007
Willow Zuchowski and Turid Forsyth have created a beautiful overview of Costa Rican vegetation. The photography is wonderful, giving enough detail of individual plants that readers get an accurate sense of what they are looking at. The text has an interesting diversity of information, ranging from plant taxonomy to medicinal uses to pollination strategies. I used the book with a Tropical Botany class, and the students not only loved the book, but found it to be an excellent size which is easy to carry in the field or store in a backpack. The habitat descriptions are well-written and provide the reader with a good idea of what to expect in different parts of Costa Rica.
Wonderful, but too large general field use
By D. J Stemke "Argo" - June 2, 2008
This is an outstanding publication. I was able to identify virtually everything I saw on our course to Costa Rica. I also appreciated the natural history under comments.
My only complaint is the weight of the book. If you are anything like me you will likely have other field guides, birds, herpes, etc. This book is pretty hefty and when added up makes travel cumbersome.
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