International Palm Society LogoEditorial

Reprinted with permission from the July 1996 issue of Principes, Vol 40, No 2
Journal of the International Palm Society

1996 The International Palm Society, all rights reserved
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.

Continuing attention 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 future.

JOHN DRANSFIELD, NATALIE W. UHL Editors

Each issue of Principes, now called Palms, includes an editorial.   John Dransfield obtained his bachelor degree in botany at Cambridge University in 1967 and went on to do his PhD at the same university.  He is now Senior Principal Scientific Officer at the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew.  Natalie Uhl is a well-known systematic plant anatomist and morphologist and an associate professor in the L.H.Bailey Hortorium, Cornell University.  Together they collaborated accomplished the completion of Genera Palmarum, a classification of palms based on the work of Harold E. Moore Jr. 

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