Of the 44 species monographed in this fascicle, 30 are new to science and 14 have been published elsewhere, at least one of them as recently as one month ago. One of the new ones is a natural hybrid, Epidendrum × pinheiroi Hágsater, from coastal southern Brazil, which has been thoroughly studied in the field, and is an example of population and natural hybridization dynamics in the Schistochilum Group throughout South America and the Lesser Antilles (the group is referred to as subgenus Amphyglottium in Brazil). More examples of such natural hybrids are in the process of being studied. The fact that such natural hybrids are common in this group, should not be extrapolated to other Epidendrum groups.
Of the 44 species, 21 correspond to Peru, 12 each to Colombia and Ecuador, but 4 are found near the border between Ecuador and Peru, so they are bound to be found in the other country. Venezuela has 3, there are 2 each for Bolivia, Brazil and Costa Rica, and one each for Panama, Guyana and Cuba. Most are limited in their known distribution, but at least two are widely distributed from northern Colombia/Venezuela to Peru or Bolivia, and interestingly a species from the pacific coast of Costa Rica and Panama has appeared in the Amazon basin of Ecuador.
In this issue, the authors have tackled a group of species which have been lumped broadly under the name Epidendrum saxicola Kraenzl. and are distributed mainly in Peru and a few in Bolivia. As usual, it has taken extensive herbarium and field work, in addition to interacting with several local botanists and collectors, as well as photographers and searching the internet. A wonderful collection of images of live flowers and herbarium specimens was found at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, BRIT, in Fort Worth, Texas, – the work of Rebecca Repasky, currently a physician, but in her student days she studied the plant diversity at the Wayqecha Cloud Forest Research Station, in the Kosñipata Valley on the edges of the Manu National Park in Cusco, Peru. The increase in the availability of species images on the Internet by many Institutions and photographers is a valuable source of information. Without digital images of fresh flowers in colour, it would have been impossible to recognize and delimit the species in this group. The result is 9 new species, mainly from Cusco and Pasco, which are proposed here. A couple of additional species are still in process and a few older ones are waiting for digital images from fresh flowers to be able to illustrate them.