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History of work with Central American Anthurium

The last revision of Anthurium was that of Engler (1905), who reported 58 species for Central America. The work was completed at a time before serious botanical activity had begun in many parts of Central America, and the number of species is now estimated at 219, almost a fourfold increase.

Since Engler's time, most work conducted on Anthurium in Central America has been the piecemeal description of new species and the compilation of floras for Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Panama. Most of the treatments were prepared by P. C. Standley, who also made a substantial number of collections. The Flora of Guatemala treatment was completed by P. C. Slandley and J. A. Steyermark (1958). Steyermark also made many collections, especially in Guatemala, and must be mentioned as one of the few collectors who paid any attention to descriptive detail of the plants in his notes.

The most serious student of Anthurium was Eizi Matuda, who, over the course of approximately 30 years (beginning about 1949), worked with the Araceae of Mexico. In all, Matuda described 36 species (many of these now in synonymy) of Anthurium from Mexico. Matuda played an important role in bolanizing in Mexico, especially in Chiapas. Several of the species he collected and described have not been seen since. Matuda's most important work (1954) summarized the Araceae flora of Mexico as it was known then, but he also described a number of species after the publication of that revision.

Also important in the study of Mexican Araceae was G. S. Bunting, whose "Commentary on Mexican Araceae," published in 1965, summarized his knowledge gained from four extensive field trips to Mexico during 1959,1961, and 1962. Some of his commentary was useful in preparing my own field trips to Mexico. A revision of the palmately-lobed species of Anthurium by M. Madison (1978) has also been useful during the preparation of this revision.

Only 35 of the 122 species inhabiting Mexico and Middle America were described before Engler's time. Of these, the largest number (19 species) were described by Schott with lesser numbers by Hemsley (three species), Poeppig and Endlicher (two species), Masters (two species), and Liebmann (two species). The remaining seven species were each published by a different author: Hooker, Rudge, Lemaire, Chamisso & Schlechtendal, Aublet, Kunth, and Miquel.

Engler published an additional thirteen species near the turn of the century and Luis Sodiro, working in Ecuador, described two Central American species that range there during the same period.

Matuda, leading the list of Anthurium workers subsequent to Engler's time, published 19 species. Standley and his co-workers, L. 0. Williams and J. A. Steyermark, published five species as a result of their work with the floristics of Central America. A single species each was described by J. F. Macbride, T. G. Yuncker, and L. H. Bailey during the same general period. Recently described material includes 20 species by Croat and Baker (1979) and a single taxon each by R. Shef-fer and G. M. Barroso. This paper will describe six additional new species.

Several people, although not describers of Anthurium, nevertheless made significant contributions by means of their collecting efforts. These include D. Breedlove (Chiapas), R. Baker and W. C. Burger (Costa Rica), H. Kennedy (Mexico and Central America), T. MacDougall (Mexico especially Oaxaca), and D. Neill and W. D. Stevens (Nicaragua). Special mention should be made regarding collections of Thomas Mac-Dougall because he had the unusual practice of recollecting a species in the same area. When he did, he frequently (if not always) assigned the recollected plant the same number he had assigned it originally, using only a different date to distinguish different specimens. This practice has led in several cases to mixed collections when his later collections were in fact a different species that occurred in the same area.