Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica is a concise, illustrated guide to all of the species of native, naturalized, and commercially cultivated vascular plants of this Central American country, which lies between Nicaragua and Panama and is thus centered in isthmian Central America—a biogeographical funnel between South and North America, densely rich in species and geological history. The Manual is the first comprehensive Spanish-language account of the Costa Rican flora.
Melastomataceae, with 303 species of mostly understory trees, is by far the largest family in this volume. Together with the two next largest families,Lauraceae (146 species) and Malvaceae (98 species), also of mostly woody plants, these three families account for 40% of the species in the volume. This identification manual includes brief formal descriptions and informal notes about each of a total of 54 families, 296 genera, and 1396 species. Keys to all the genera and species are also included. The treatments are illustrated with 343 line drawings, 54 black-and-white photographs, and 8 pages of color plates.