Panama has one of the richest orchid floras of Mesoamerica. The number of species and the orchid diversity index (spp/area) are among the highest in the Mesoamerican region together with Costa Rica and southeastern Mexico. Despite its importance in terms of diversity, the latest checklist of Panama was published ten years ago and the latest in-depth taxonomic treatments were published in 1949 and 1993.
The accumulation of information over the years and the need to update the nomenclature and to clarify taxonomic concepts made necessary the publication of an up-dated checklist of the Orchidaceae of Panama. In the new edition of Lankesteriana 14 (3) 2014, Diego Bogarín, Zuleika Serracín, Zabdy Samudio, Rafael Rincón and Franco Pupulin presented "An updated checklist of the Orchidaceae of Panama", an account of all orchid species known so far in Panama. The checklist contents an introduction to the history of the orchids of Panama, photographs of the most important botanists, maps and six pages of color photographs of some representative orchids species of Panama. A list of names published based on Panamanian material and the endemic species list are included. A Supplement in Spanish "Un listado actualizado de las Orchidaceae de Panamá" is available online.
The checklist was completed by studying specimens strictly collected in Panama and vouchered in herbaria. Species names are presented alphabetically with their synonyms and herbarium vouchers. The data were analyzed to explain the patterns of geographic distribution, most diverse taxa, endemism, exotic species and relationships with other nearby floras. The checklist contains 1365 species (including two natural hybrids and three subspecies) in four subfamilies, 16 tribes, 27 subtribes and 187 genera. Four exotic species were recorded. A total of 296 (21.7%) species are endemic. Epidendroideae is the most diverse group housing more than 90% of species. The most diverse subtribes are Pleurothallidinae (30 genera, 405 spp.), Laeliinae (16 genera, 292 spp.), Oncidiinae (29 genera, 157 spp.) and Maxillariinae (18 genera, 132 spp.) The most diverse genera are: Epidendrum (206 spp.), Stelis (88 spp.), Lepanthes (66 spp.) and Pleurothallis (54 spp.). Nomenclatural changes were proposed in Maxillariella, Pleurothallis, Specklinia, Stelis and Trichocentrum.
Many areas remain unexplored for orchids, and the authors estimate that much work remains to complete a floristic treatment that reveals more realistic data on the orchid flora that Panama harbors. This checklist is an important initial step toward the development of an illustrated treatment of the Orchidaceae of Panama.
Bogarín, D. Z. Serracín, Z. Samudio, R. Rincón & F. Pupulin.
An updated checklist of the Orchidaceae of Panama
LANKESTERIANA 14(3): 135-364. 2014.
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