|Costa Rica has a remarkably diverse palm flora and an excellent network of protected
areas so there is every hope that much of the wonderful variety will persist. One of the
rarest palms of Costa Rica is the extraordinary Bactris militaris. Described some
50 years ago, this splendid palm with its narrow undivided leaves has been scarcely known
in cultivation. It's not surprising that such a spectacular palm should be high on every
collector's desiderata list. Don Hodel and Mark Binder describe in graphic detail a sodden
trip to Costa Rica during which they eventually found Bactris militaris, as well
as a wealth of chamaedoreas and other palms. Among the chamaedoreas they saw are, believe
it or not, yet two more new species! Chamaedorea coralliformis and C. binderi
are described by Don in a separate paper, also in this issue.
on the palms of Central America, we include a paper by Carlo Morici describing a visit to
an isolated limestone hill, El Yunque in Cuba, which is the type locality of Coccothrinax
yunquensis, described in 1980 by Borhidi and Muniz, but later subsumed into the
synonymy of C. salvatoris by Henderson, Galearno, and Bernal. Carlo provides
photographs of this poorly known palm.
Palms can occasionally become naturalized -- witness the extraordinary naturalization
of Archontophoenix in Hawaii and Nypa fruiticans in Panama; however,
such instances are rarely recorded. Thus it is particularly useful to have a clearly
documented account of the naturalization of Sabal palmetto in western Louisiana
by Gary Landry and William Reese.
We have three articles concerning palm cultivation. De Hull describes the astonishing
effect of a new growth stimulant that seems to have remarkable results on palms. Sprayed
on palms damaged by Hurricane Andrew, the growth stimulant appears to enhance rapid
recovery. The same substance also apparently improves cold tolerance. In another paper,
researchers from the college of agriculture in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, provide a method for
improving root development in date palm offshoots, giving information that may be of
relevance to other palms. The third article by Jorge Mora-Urpi and Ramon Mexzon describes
a very clear protocol for controlled pollination in the peach palm, again a methodology
that could be applied elsewhere.
Two shorter contributions are interesting. IPS Board member, Ralph Velez, gives us an
account of the palms seen in Puerto Rico. Finally Paul Tuley has written an amusing photo
feature on Raphia australis.
Among the news you'll find what happened during the California Biennial. In lieu of a
"President's Note," administrative secretary, Lynn McKamey, has provided a
summary of the Directors' meeting and information about what you may anticipate in the
JOHN DRANSFIELD, NATALIE W. UHL Editors