Plant Systematics, Conservation Biology, and Ethnobotany


Dr. Tom Croat

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Dr. Tom Croat

P.A. Schulze Curator of Botany

Research Interests

•  Systematics and Ecology of Neotropical Araceae
•  Floristics of Araceae for Neotropical Areas
•  Horticulture of Araceae
•  Phenological Variations of Neotropical Floras

Web Pages: MBG, International Aroid Society, Frontiers of Discovery

Project: Revision of the genus Stenospermation (Araceae) for Central AmericaStenospermation (Araceae subfam. Monsteroideae Tribe Monstereae) is a medium-sized genus for the Araceae with an estimated 250 species, occurring principally in the Andean region of South America. To date only 82 of these are published names that have not been synonymized and an additional 24 of these names have not yet been published so there are only 54 published species of Stenospermation, only about 1/5th of the estimated total number of species. The majority of the species in the genus occur in Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru with relatively few inhabiting eastern South America or the Amazon basin. This study will revise the Stenospermation species of Central America where approximately 24 species occur. The last full revision of the genus was by Engler in 1908, where 21 species were treated. None of these was described as new in that publication. The last revision of Central American species was in 1983 in an unpublished Master’s thesis by Alcira Gómez de Pérez. That thesis treated 8 species, including 1 new species, but clearly a number of additional taxa exist in the region. A forthcoming treatment in the Flora Mesoamerica makes it imperative that the genus be revised taxonomically. This project will treat the species from the Isthmus of Panama to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Many new collections have been made during the last few decades, which have resulted in important gains in our understanding of the variation and distribution of Stenospermation. The current revision will include an introduction dealing with the taxonomic history of the genus as well as aspects of its phylogeny, cytology, palynology, and phytogeography. The taxonomic section will feature a generic description, keys to species, detailed descriptions, illustrations, discussion of relationships, and a full exsiccatae. This work also constitutes a series of hypotheses, and the morphologically defined taxa treated are a hypothesis of relationships within the genus Stenospermation, which can be tested by future workers using molecular or other independent data sets.

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