[ ... Excerpt from Introduction ... ]

Orchids of the Tropical New World

Introduction to the CD-ROM (1st Edition)



Calaway H. Dodson - Piedad M. Dodson - Roberto Vásquez Ch. - Fritz Hamer - D. E. Mora - J. Atwood - D. E. Bennett, Jr.


L. Alfaro - Barbara N. Culbertson - Stig Dalström - Priscilla Fawcett - Fritz Hamer - Carlyle A. Luer - C. Marin - Lisa Megahee - A. Montalvo - L. Mourre - F. Pupulin - R. S. Thompson - Roberto Vásquez Ch. - Wendy Zomlefer - W. Zuchowski


Calaway H Dodson

The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (IPT, Series I)
811 South Palm Ave., Sarasota, Florida 34236

© 1989 Missouri Botanical Garden (IPT, Series II)
P.O. Box 299, St. Louis, Missouri 63166-0299



Eric Hágsater - Calaway H. Dodson - Luis Sánchez Saldaña - Germán Carnevali - Javier García-Cruz - Robert L. Dressler - Marta Aleida Díz - Francisco Miranda


Rolando Jiménez Machorro - Eric Hágsater - Roberto González Tamayo - Bruno Manara - Gerardo A. Salazar - Luis Sánchez Saldaña


Eric Hágsater and Gerardo A. Salazar

© Derechos Reservados, 1993 Asociación Mexicana de Orquideología, A.C.
Apartado Postal 53-123, 11320 México, D.F., MEXICO

2325 3rd Street, Suite 324
San Francisco, CA 94107-3138


CD-ROM version (1st Edition)

by Calaway H. Dodson


The Icones Plantarum Tropicarum concept is not new in publishing. Similar projects date back to the beginnings of plant classification. The idea that "a picture is worth a thousand words" is well applied here. Most treatments of floras of tropical countries published during the last 50 years have been long on text and short on illustrations. The expense of preparation and publication of illustrations was commonly cited as the reason. Most illustrations were works of art and not necessarily conducive to identification of the plant illustrated. Botanical descriptions to be effective must be long, tedious, and filled with jargon that sometimes only the author can elucidate. Much confusion in botanical taxonomy has resulted from inaccurate impressions due to confusing terminology. A diagnostic illustration accompanying the description at least allows the user to know what plant the description refers.

The publication of a series of illustrations by Dunsterville and Garay in "Venezuelan Orchids Illustrated" prompted the development of the IPT project. In that case, 6 volumes containing nearly 1,000 superb illustrations with accompanying text were published over a 17 year period (1959-1976). The only disadvantages in that publication were that the illustration was on one side of a page and the text faced it on the back of the previous illustration. In addition, the species included were arranged in alphabetical order in each volume. This made it difficult to consult for comparison with other species in the same group without constant reference to the indices and the various volumes. The problem was partially resolved with the publication by the same authors of "Orchids of Venezuela, A Field Guide" in 1979. In that case more than a thousand illustrations were published. Those illustrations were without text. They were arranged in alphabetical order by genus and species, thus making an index unnecessary. However, consulting the original volumes was required for reference to text information.

The immense usefulness of having most of the orchids of the country of Venezuela illustrated, and being able to know to what plant the name was applied, was immediately obvious. Something similar was envisioned for orchids (or indeed any tropical plants) of other regions. In 1980 we published the first four fascicles of Icones Plantarum Tropicarum including 400 illustrations of orchids of Ecuador. These have the text on the back of the illustration and the pages in loose-leaf format. They were deliberately arranged somewhat out of alphabetical order. Thereby it was possible to enforce the concept of them being loose-leaf and therefore subject to any arrangement the user cared to apply, e.g. alphabetical by genus and species, in phylogenetic order as published by most floras, or numerical order by plate. The idea caught on and by 1993 twenty-two fascicles (2,200 plates) had been published. They included IPT-Series I and IPT Series II. These included orchids of Nicaragua, Ecuador, Peru, Costa Rica, and Bolivia. In the meantime, 1990 and 1994, the Asociación Mexicana de Orquideología had published "Icones Orchidacearum" - Fascicles 1 (Orchids of Mexico) and 2 (100 species of Epidendrum) - using a very similar format. Two hundred excellent plates were published. Other similar projects are underway in Peru, Venezuela, and Australia.

The use of computers is coming to dominate data management and is now entering publishing. The Internet "information highway" is open for use by all with online access. Problems such as data storage, that plagued early attempts are under control and CD-ROM is now making possible storage of, and access to, images and text in an altogether revolutionary manner. Thus, Icones Plantarum Tropicarum is here presented on CD-ROM. All 2400 plates and texts are included, along with completely searchable index.

This CD-ROM version is organized so that the user can call up by name or plate number any of the plates included. One of the unfortunate but endemic problems of taxonomy is that the names of species are changed as a result of new information. Sometimes the plant illustrated in the original plate was misidentified. In other cases, changes in synonymy have occurred. In some cases further study has revealed that what was thought to be natural variation in a population is in reality several closely allied species with similar characteristics. Those require use of previously published names or of new names. In those cases, the index in the CD-ROM version reflects changes in names of the plants illustrated in the plates. One can immediately follow these changes in identification by using the hyperlinks between related plates. A simple click on the hot spot, i.e. (see Plate 618), next to plate titles will allow one to follow these links.

Icones Plantarum Tropicarum, Series I. Published by the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens,

Fascicles 1-4 (plates 1 to 400), Orchids of Ecuador, 1980, were authored by C. H. Dodson & P. M. Dodson.

Fascicle 5 (plates 401-500), Orchids of Ecuador, 1982, was authored by C. H. Dodson & P. M. Dodson.

Fascicle 6 (plates 501-600), Orchids of Bolivia, 1982, was authored by R. Vásquez C. & C. H. Dodson.

Fascicles 7-9 (plates 601-900), Orchids of Nicaragua, 1982, was authored by F. Hamer.

Fascicle 10 (plates 901 to 1000), Orchids of Ecuador, 1984, was authored by C. H. Dodson & P. M. Dodson.

Fascicles 11-12 (plates 1001-1200), Orchids of Nicaragua, 1984, were authored by F. Hamer.

Fascicle 13 (plates 1201-1300), Orchids of Nicaragua, 1985, was authored by F. Hamer.

Fascicle 14 (plates 1301-1400), Orchids of Costa Rica, 1989, was authored by J. Atwood.

Fascicle 15 (plates 1401-1500), Orchids of Costa Rica, 1992, was authored by D. E. Mora & J. Atwood.

Fascicle 16 (plates 1501-1600), Orchids of Costa Rica, 1993, was authored by D. E. Mora & J. Atwood.

Icones Plantarum Tropicarum, Series II. Published by the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Fascicles 1-2 (plates 1-200), Orchids of Peru, 1991, was authored by C. H. Dodson & D. E. Bennett, Jr.

Fascicles 3-4 (plates 201-400), Orchids of Bolivia, 1991, was authored by C. H. Dodson & R. Vásquez C.

Fascicles 5-6 (plates 401-600), Orchids of Ecuador, 1991, was authored by C. H. Dodson & P. Marmol de Dodson.

Icones Orchidacearum.

Fascicle 1 (plates 1-100), Orchids of Mexico, 1990, was authored by E. Hágsater & G. A. Salazar.

Fascicle 2 (plates 101-200), A Century of Epidendrum, 1993, was authored by E. Hágsater.

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