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Tropical Plants of Costa Rica: A Guide to Native and Exotic Flora (Zona Tropical Publications) Paperback – March 29, 2007

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Tropical Plants of Costa Rica: A Guide to Native and Exotic Flora (Zona Tropical Publications) + The Wildlife of Costa Rica: A Field Guide (Zona Tropical Publications) + The Birds of Costa Rica: A Field Guide (Zona Tropical Publications)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"One is hard-pressed to come up with a list of plants that should have been included but are missing from this fabulous survey of tropical beauty. Tropical Plants of Costa Rica is a real gem. This is a well-constructed, nicely formatted, high-quality book. Essential. All levels."―G. C. Stevens, Choice, October 2007

"This attractive book provides a means for visitors to Costa Rica to learn about and recognize 430 of the more prominent plants of the country and to learn about them in a wonderfully exciting way. A 'must' for any ecotourist, and a refresher course about the biology of tropical plants for anyone. I wish such a book had existed when I first visited Costa Rica forty years ago!"―Peter H. Raven, Director, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis

From the Back Cover

"This attractive book provides a means for visitors to Costa Rica to learn about and recognize 430 of the more prominent plants of the country and to learn about them in a wonderfully exciting way. A 'must' for any ecotourist, and a refresher course about the biology of tropical plants for anyone. I wish such a book had existed when I first visited Costa Rica forty years ago!"--Peter H. Raven, Director, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis

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Product Details

  • Series: Zona Tropical Publications
  • Paperback: 532 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; Reprint edition (March 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801473748
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801473746
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Christopher J. Sharpe on September 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
I picked up a copy of this guide (published in San Jose by Zona Tropical) at La Selva last year and consider it a worthy addition to the small library I carry in Costa Rica. I would recommend it as the most useful single volume work on Costa Rican plants.

The guide is aimed at the amateur rather than the professional botanist: photographs are the prime means of identification, plants are presented out of family order (more below) and there are no keys. Nevertheless, it is quite possible to identify a good many of the country's commoner plants using this guide.

The order of the plants is:-

1. colourful-flowering trees
2. non-colourful-flowering trees
3. roadside and garden exotics
4. crop plants
5. living fences (so characteristic of Costa Rica)
6. special habitats, e.g. dry forests, cloud forests, beaches & mangroves
7. quintessentially tropical groups, e.g. bromeliads, palms & orchids
8. grasses

There is emphasis on those plants that are likely to be most conspicuous to the visitor. This often means a bias towards exotic species rather than natives. However, this does mean that the book is useful outside Costa Rica and I will be referring to it throughout the American tropics.

Once a plant is identified a comments section provides a host of useful information.

Well worth the price! I will definitely be taking it back with me on my next trip.

Chris Sharpe, 3 August 2007. ISBN: 0801473748
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Marjorie M. Holland on September 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
Willow Zuchowski and Turid Forsyth have created a beautiful overview of Costa Rican vegetation. The photography is wonderful, giving enough detail of individual plants that readers get an accurate sense of what they are looking at. The text has an interesting diversity of information, ranging from plant taxonomy to medicinal uses to pollination strategies. I used the book with a Tropical Botany class, and the students not only loved the book, but found it to be an excellent size which is easy to carry in the field or store in a backpack. The habitat descriptions are well-written and provide the reader with a good idea of what to expect in different parts of Costa Rica.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D. J Stemke on June 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is an outstanding publication. I was able to identify virtually everything I saw on our course to Costa Rica. I also appreciated the natural history under comments.

My only complaint is the weight of the book. If you are anything like me you will likely have other field guides, birds, herpes, etc. This book is pretty hefty and when added up makes travel cumbersome.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robert B. Gillies on May 13, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I live in Chiriqui, Panama which is very close to the border with Costa Rica. Considering the scarcity of information about this subject, the book is worth having along with The Field Guide to the Plants of Costa Rica by Gargiullo, Magnuson and Kimball. Both books lack keys and neither have the plants arranged in taxonomic order. Both have nice color photos but sometimes a good line drawing by a botanical artist is more useful in identifying an unknown species. In any case if you are interested in the flora of this area I would buy both of these books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By L. Greb on February 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this book for my Mother, who is a naturalist. She said it was the perfect book to take with her to Costa Rica. It was easy to use and set up very well. The care-taker for the house they rented was so impressed with it that they left it for him and future guests.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ashe on May 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this guide. I found it very useful when going to Costa Rica. The author was very thorough, adding interesting and sometimes humorous stories to the different plants listed. I thought the organization of the book was brilliant, unlike the animal book by the same publisher. I was able to see many of the plants in the guide, so she was smart about the ones she included. It really is a nice book, I have read it cover to cover many times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Loucas on January 25, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Better than expected, and I expected a lot!!! I have three of the books in this series, and every one of them has been great. There are wonderful pictures and descriptions, I love the wealth of information. Whenever anyone comes to visit, they always want to know what particular plants are - so this helps us to identify what's on our property as well as what's around the area. Don't hesitate to buy this or any other book in the Costa Rica series!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark Northrup on January 12, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With thousands of species in CR this guide only covers the most common and important ones but certainly will be sufficient for someone like me who just wants an overview while hiking through the country.
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