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Mr. Smarty Plants - Resources for information on native plants of Ecuador

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Thursday - January 12, 2006

From: Brookfield, VT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Resources for information on native plants of Ecuador
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, I'm going to Ecuador this spring to work on a gardening project in the rainforest of Ecuador. I'm interested in native plants of Ecuador, especially flowering plants - do you know of a good resource? Thanks.

ANSWER:

Here are some Internet resources:

1. From the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago there are four databases listed on their Tropical Plants Guide web page:
a. Rapid Color Guides. This is a series of guides to tropical plants arranged by country. There are about 30 guides for Ecuador. Most of them are small (1-4 pages) with color photos giving family, genus, species, and location. These can be downloaded for free as PDF files.
b. Neotropical Live Plant Photos. You can search by country. The photos of the plants are then displayed alphabetically, first by family, then by genus and species.
c. Neotropical Herbarium Specimens. Again, you can search by the country and get a display of all species from Ecuador available in their database.
d. Micro-Herbaria. These are desktop produced books of scanned or photocopied herbarium specimens that the Field Museum has for sale. Unfortunately, none is listed for Ecuador.

2. From Missouri Botanical Garden, there is a preliminary checklist, Flora of the Pacific Coastal Range of Northwestern Ecuador.
Missouri Botanical Gardens also has a Tropicos Image database for herbarium specimens. You would need to know the family, genus and species to use it. It is not searchable by country.

3. Flora of Ecuador shows many families with genus and sometimes species classification.

4. New York Botanical Garden features the Family Ericaceae in Ericaceae of Ecuador.
New York Botanical Garden also has a Virtual Herbarium that you can search by various criteria, including country.

5. In eFloras.com you can find the Trees and Shrubs of the Andes of Ecuador in Spanish and a treatment of the Family Araceae in English in Araceae in Flora of Ecuador.

6. There are two web sites with beautiful photographs, but little in the way of identification. These are Flora & Fauna and Plants of Ecuador.


Print resources seem to be more limited.

7. There is Flora Y Fauna Guia del Sur Occidente del Ecuador by Chris Jiggins et al., 2001. Lone Pine Publishers. It is in Spanish and, although not expensive ($14.95), is very short (96 pages) and covers only 76 species of birds, mammals, plants, and insects.

8. A Field Guide to the Families and Genera of Woody Plants of Northwest South America: (Columbia, Ecuador, Peru) by Alwyn H. Gentry. 1996. University of Chicago Press is a more substantial book (920 pages) but does not address herbaceous species.

9. There is a 71-volume set Flora of Ecuador by Systematic Botany, Botanical Institute Goteborg University, Goteborg, Sweden. Each volume covers one or only a few families of the 230 known families of vascular plants in Ecuador. Volume 1, Family Cyclantaceae, appeared in 1973 and the latest volume, Volume 71, Family Aistroemeriaceae and Family Haemodoraceae, appeared in 2003. This is a scholarly work and most of the 71 volumes are now out of print.
 

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