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.
Bignoniaceae, with 75 species, is the largest family in this part of Volume IV. It comprises mostly trees and lianas, some of considerable importance as timbers and/or ornamentals. The next two largest families in this part are Boraginaceae, with 65 species, and Celastraceae, with 48 species. The first is comprised of many growth forms, with one of the trees (Cordia alliodora) among the most important timbers in the country. The second is comprised of trees, shrubs, and lianas. This identification manual includes brief formal descriptions and informal notes about each of a total of 33 families, 174 genera, and 576 species. Keys to all the genera and species are also included. The treatments are illustrated with 213 line drawings, 33 black-and-white photographs, and eight pages of color plates.