Language: Spanish with bilingual preface, acknowledgements and plan of the manual in English and Spanish
Piperaceae, with 465 species, has emerged as the largest family in Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica: Volume VII. But despite its species richness, Piperaceae comprises notably low macromorphological diversity, with only three genera currently recognized in Costa Rica. Most species are herbs (many of them epiphytic) or shrubs. Just one species considered here, Piper nigrum – though only ephemerally cultivated in Costa Rica – is of considerable economic importance on a world scale. Rubiaceae takes a very close second place (458 species), and with 89 genera is marvelously diverse at all levels. It also includes the historically single most important economic species in Costa Rica, Coffea arabica. These two families alone account for 80% of the species in Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica: Volume VII. Rosaceae (42 species), Rutaceae (41 species), and Polygonaceae (39 species), together accounting for a total of only 11%, are essentially tied for a very weak third place in number of species. This identification manual includes brief formal descriptions and informal notes about each of a total of 18 families, 171 genera, and 1 155 species. Keys to all the genera and species are also included. The treatments are illustrated with 205 line drawings.