History of Work. with Panamanian Anthurium
In contrast to the situation with Costa Rican Anthurium (Croat & Baker, 1979; Croat, 1983) where many Costa Rican collections were intense ely studied and described by both Schott (1858) and Engler (1905), both earlier workers with Araceae, relatively little was done in Panama preceding the present work. No Panamanian material was described as new by either Schott or Engler, which is surprising since together they described the largest share of all species included in Engler's (1905) revision of Anthurium. Following the publication of Engler's revision one of Engler's co-workers, Kurt Krause (1932) described four species of Panamanian Anthurium, and Andre Guillaumin (1925) described an additional species.
Paul Standley (1944), who wrote the Araceae treatment for the "Flora of Panama," described six species (three of them still in use) and with L. 0. Williams (1952) described one additional species after the flora was published. In all, that work recognized only 32 species of Anthurium, which are still accepted. Ten additional Panamanian species were described by Croat and Baker (1979) in a revision of the Anthurium of Costa Rica and two years later I described nine additional species (Croat, 1981).
The 148 species currently recognized represent an increase of 462% over the number in the "Flora of Panama." While many of the species not included in Standley's revision have been collected since the Flora was published (indeed most since 1960), many currently recognized species were represented by specimens actually seen by Stand-ley. This reflects the difficulty of working with herbarium specimens of Araceae since many of the important characters used to separate species are scarcely apparent on dried material. For example, Standley placed two good species into synonymy: A. concolor K. Krause with A. hacumense Engl. and A. validifolium K. Krause with A. joseanum Engl. (now A. protensum Schott). In other cases he used the wrong species names from other parts of Central America or South America for distinct Panamanian species. In many cases the species names he misapplied at that time have subsequently been correctly applied to material later collected in Panama.
Almost no critical work was done with the Araceae of Panama subsequent to the publication of the "Flora of Panama" until my interest developed in the late 1960s. This publication is the first in a series that will revise the Araceae of Panama.