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2008 Biennial of the International Palm Society – Members Unite in Costa Rica

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Palmarum

2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Hilton Doubletree Cariari Hotel -> Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Group 2, Bus #4

- 9:19AM: The most prevalent landmark of the journey to the park had to be the Sucio River, or 'Dirty' River as some locals refer to it. It has an unusual course as it works its way through the mountains. It gets it dark color from the volcanic minerals it transports.

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- 9:29AM: We have arrived to the entrance of the Rain Forest Aerial Tram, just off the highway and deep in the mountains. Bus #4 has survived its first run in one piece to the delight of Driver Don Juan [white shirt] and CRT Guides Andres and Jorge. FMod. Dean Ouer (Dypsisdean) was there to supervise.

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- 9:30AM: As soon as attendees got off the bus, the identifications and photography began. Scattered around the parking lot and entrance area was plenty of eye candy for palm fanatics. Some people dived into palm books and turned cameras on while others dived into the restrooms; everyone had their priorities. At this point in time, Group 2 was further divided into two groups. Bus #3, went straight to the national park entrance to begin the hiking trail while those of us on Bus #4 began our day with the Rain Forest Aerial Tram. As you would surmise, after lunch we switched locations.

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- 9:36AM: A mini-bus was provided to carry us the rest of the way to the aerial tram station, as there was a short trip down a winding road to get there. It could only hold half of us at one time, so some of us had a small wait to endure.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

-9:38AM: As the second half of Bus #4 began our wait for the mini-bus to return, we had palms to observe from the parking lot. They were scattered in and around the confines of the entrance and I believe some might have been planted or relocated. The opposite side of the highway from the entrance held a near vertical face that was covered with Gunnera plants, ferns and formed the home for these two extremely tall Iriartea deltoidea. I could not tell how tall they were, as their bases were obscured, but they would rival a good sized building.

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- A railing near the edge of the road leaving the parking lot was lined with a selection of native palms. IPS member and Forum member Ron Kiefert (moose knuckle) points out a Reinhardtia gracilis to fellow attendee and FM. Paul Norris (Palmnorris) which he promptly photographed. In front of both of them was this mature Astrocaryum alatum which was sporting some serious fruit.

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- 9:43AM: This one palm was first to capture everyone’s attention as they walked off the bus. This Iriartea deltoidea was near the corner of the parking lot and was short enough for everyone to get a good view of its crown of super plumose leaves. The Euterpe precatoria to the left of it didn't get as much attention, but it was nice to finally see one in habitat.

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- Planted in a small median area in the center of the parking lot was this, very mature Bactris hondurensis. It had some real nice bifid leaves that retained a 'fuzzy' undercoating on each of the leaf blades. The highly visible orange fruit was incredibly tempting to a bus load of palm fanatics.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 9:44AM: These Bactris hondurensis seed could not have been more ripe, and everyone seemed to know it. I went in to take a tighter shot of them and people were hovering around making second thoughts. When we came back to the entrance area, after lunch, some of these seed were not here any more.

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- 9:48AM: Time to hit the curved and often inclined road to the visitors center of the Rain Forest Aerial Tram. The trip was short and seemed to follow a small river as it forked its way through the mountain sides. This was the welcoming entrance, just as we were leaving the parking lot.

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- 9:54AM: I was one of the last to disembark from the mini-bus after we arrived at the visitors center. As soon as a group of six attendees were grouped together they boarded an open-air gondola and moved down the line as another group boarded behind them. As I got off the mini-bus and caught up to the rest of the second-half of Bus #4, I noticed they were gathered around a spotting scope aimed up into the trees.

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- I took this time to change lenses to get prepared for the gondola ride coming up in the next few minutes. I looked through my telephoto lens to find Texan IPS Member and FM. Paul Norris (Palmnorris) taking a turn looking through a even larger lens. What was he looking at, that everyone found peculiar...?

2008-05-05_09-54-55.jpg

Ryan

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Palmarum

2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 9:55AM: That scope was pointed right at a Two-Toed Sloth that was spending the morning in the top of a nearby tree. He seemed to be taking it easy, for a sloth that doesn't say much.

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- The area around the visitors center was packed full of native palm and plant species. There were hundreds of plants that were comprised of individuals that spanned ages, from seedlings to oversized mature specimens. This was one of many Calyptrogyne ghiesbreghtiana that were scattered around the entire visitors center.

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- 9:56AM: While the crowd waiting to board gondolas started to thin down a bit, everyone continued to take turns looking though the spotting scope. Next up was Forum member Jayanne Crawley (La Lady) who enjoyed the moment along with fellow Louisiana attendees Rod Gates [behind with the smirk], FMs. Kathryn Ostadal (Kathryn) and Craig Morgan (el Gato Grande).

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- Back through the scope, the Two-Toed Sloth had moved its head up a bit, but not much else.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 10:01AM: We enjoyed a few more moments with the sloth, and then it was time to pack the remainder of us onto gondolas and begin the aerial tram. The twisting sometimes needed to capture a photo created an odd angle made when shooting. I was often looking over the railing and bending around a support bar. The champion palm of the aerial tram was by far Welfia regia. There were hundreds of them and many were showing off with a bright red emergent leaf.

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- 10:02AM: As we rode along, we got further and further away from the ground below. The forest floor was carpeted with many small and under-storey palms including hundreds of Asterogyne martiana.

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- 10:03AM: A juvenile Chamaedorea pinnatifrons showing some large terminal leaflets.

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- The gondola I was on was towards the rear of the pack so I was able to see many of the first ones on their way back, filled with stimulated attendees. I shared my gondola with Bill Olson, Linda Talbott, LeAnn Holmes, Ron Kiefert and one very enthusiastic tram guide. I could just about hear noises coming from the gondola in front of ours, as it carried Jeff & Andrea Searle, Jim & Judy Glock and Paul & Judy Norris. Their guide is the one sitting on the railing. It did not take long until I could no longer see the visitor’s center as it slowly disappeared from view behind us.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 10:06AM: The gondola creaked along and we became immersed in a great rain forest experience. It was very quiet and you were able to pick up every little sound. This comical plant caught everyone's eye. We all thought of its common name before the guide told us it was called Hot Lips, or Psychotria poeppigiana. It is a heavily-used medicinal member of the massive Rubiaceae, or Coffee Family. Everyone came up with a joke or two as we saw blooming plants throughout the tram. There were plants with better, newer flowers but those photos didn't come out the best.

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- A particularly deep red emergent leaf belonging to a Welfia regia buried in the rain forest growth.

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- 10:09AM: The tram consisted of several tall, steel towers that each supported a small series of pulleys. The pulleys in turn guided the large steel cables that carried the gondolas. It seemed very well built to me. Ron Kiefert, who shared the gondola and is an expert when it comes to cable strength, said the cables were larger than they needed to be. The path of the tram was one large loop which carried back upon itself, with the return trip being over the outgoing route. The party gondola in front can be seen in the bottom of the photo, and the empty one near the top is on its way back.

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- 10:11AM: We rode right by another bright red Welfia regia leaf. The sun began to get brighter as we were getting higher up in the canopy and were approaching the river point in the tram.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 10:11AM: This large Pink Ginger was very striking, I didn't see any reference of it anywhere. It has to be in cultivation and someone should know the name of it. If you do, please post it.

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- The gondola was reaching new heights as we could see the river below us. I had to zoom all the way in to see this grouping of Calyptrogyne ghiesbreghtiana.

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- 10:13AM: The river was trickling on by and this spot on the tram represented the one-quarter mark. We could see signs that the river could swell to a much larger size.

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- It was not hard to spot large Welfia regia. They would often have crowns reaching or exceeding the height of the gondola.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 10:14AM: We were only a few minutes into the tram and it was already becoming a great time for everyone, including myself. I wanted to reach out and grab some of the palms we saw, including this Euterpe precatoria. It must have recently shed an old leaf, since the narrow crownshaft was a brilliant maroon-purple color.

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- This tram tour had it all when it came to seeing palms in all stages of life. Not far from the palm above was this additional Euterpe precatoria in the midst of flowering.

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- You had to continuously move your eyes around, at the risk of missing something. After taking the shot above I looked straight down and caught this image viewing straight into the crown of a large Welfia regia.

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- 10:15AM: In one of the moments where the tram pauses to either let someone off or on a gondola, I caught a glimpse of some palm armed with spines. I had to contort myself into an unusual shape to get a shot of it. I am not sure as to the palms size or identity, but it looked to be a large juvenile. It fits the description of Bactris coloradonis, so that could be a possibility.

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Ryan

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KONADANTOM

Aloha Ryan, and Mahalo for continuing to post these beautiful photos!

Dan on Big Island

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Palmarum

2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 10:16AM: A rapidly taken photo of a Pholidostachys pulchra that the gondolas seemed to brush against on a constant basis. It was growing right in the tram path. This palm might not be around in the near future, as I feel it will lose the fight with the gondolas.

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- 10:19AM: This very elegant tree fern seemed to have only a few visible representatives, as I could not remember seeing that many of them. This could be due to the fact I was too busy looking for palms. It was average size and had great foliage. I would not mind knowing the name of it, or even having the possibility of growing some.

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- 10:20AM: We were vastly approaching the mid-way point in the tram; the place where the gondolas would make a 180 degree turn and head back. The closer we got, the closer the cables got to one another. I could barely see an open area up ahead where we would again be in full sun for a short while.

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- This was one of the first Socratea exorrhiza that I noticed. I was surprised not to see more of them along the tram. There were much larger ones, but not too many.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 10:21AM: Those of us in my gondola could see the open area ahead of us and saw that some of the returning gondolas were not empty. I thought to myself I had to photograph people on the way back, missing this would not be an option. This red emergent leaf belonging to a nearby Welfia regia was close enough to touch.

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- This Asterogyne martiana was too close to be photographed, but just close enough for someone to grab it. We were passing over a higher area that was part of an outcropping, so the tops of small plants were almost as high as the gondolas. We were plowing through foliage.

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- We brushed past a few stems belonging to this Geonoma congesta and there were batches of seed that someone asked the guide to grab. It wasn't me.

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- 10:24AM: We cleared a thick part of the canopy and entered the vast open area. I immediately noticed the first returning gondola approaching full of attendees.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 10:24AM: These photos should give a good, third person perspective on what it was like to witness the Costa Rican rain forest up close and personal while riding on a tram gondola. We all waved as soon as we got close enough to talk to Forum member Jack Sayers (elHoagie) and his other half Lindsey Sayers 'laHoagie'.

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- 10:25AM: The next gondola came cruising by carrying FM. Bill Sanford (BS Man about Palms) pointing at something while seated to the left of Nong Nooch Tropical Garden's own Anders Lindstrom. Fellow Swede, IPS President and FM. Bo-Göran Lundkvist (bgl) is lunging above him while taking a photo of me, photographing them.

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- I took a quick second to view the palms as they were going by. I knew I would be seeing everything again on the return trip, but that knowledge cannot fight the impulse to seek out palms whenever possible. I began to see more and more, several large clumps of Geonoma congesta as we got deeper into the forest.

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- 10:27AM: We didn’t have to try hard to look enthusiastic while getting photographed by FMs. Larry Davis (Lefty) and IPS Past-President Paul Craft (Licuala).

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Ryan

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Palmarum

2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 10:29(.28)AM: Here they come! The turning point in the tram was within sight now and we passed the lively gondola that was in front of ours. No coaching was needed to get these expressions to appear on FMs. Judy Norris (Queen of Bling), Judy Glock, and Andrea & Jeff Searle.

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- 10:29(.33)AM: Both gondolas changed height rapidly as we made the turn around the midway point. Everyone crammed over to the right side of their moving cage so fast that I thought it would begin to rock side to side. From extreme left to right: FMs. Jim Glock (jglock1), the Aerial Tram Guide, Paul Norris (Palmnorris), Judy Norris (Queen of Bling), Judy Glock, and Jeff & Andrea Searle.

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- Just before we were due to turn around, I managed to capture a photo of the only fan palm on the tram, Cryosophila warscewiczii...

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- 10:29AM: ... and one very healthy Asterogyne martiana.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 10:30AM: We had reached the giant pulley that would turn us around. This point in the tram was managed by a park guide who spent his time in this small box. A few members of my gondola noticed that he was partaking in a recreational activity involving a popular substance. I guess he has time to kill. Every morning it is his job to walk the tram course on a small foot path inspecting the tram mechanics and to look for debris on the cables.

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- We made the turn and in one corner near the 'box' was this Calyptrogyne ghiesbreghtiana.

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- 10:31AM: We headed back on our return trip and as we were pulling away I noticed this large Pholidostachys pulchra that was tucked in near the base of a tree. I felt at this point the tram should have been longer, but it is 1.6 miles (2.6km) long in total and I was just having a great time.

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- We continued to gain altitude as we began to see everything again in reverse. One of the gondolas behind us in order was getting closer.

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Ryan

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Palmarum

2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 10:32AM: We got photographed in turn by Forum member Jayanne Crawley (La Lady). Her gondola was just about to pass ours for the first time. She is seated next to Rod Gates who was looking down in front of their gondola at a Pholidostachys pulchra. The second row is occupied by FMs. Jon Kenaghan (Bilbo) and Australian IPS Director Jeanne Price (jeanne374). FMs. Craig Morgan (el Gato Grande) and IPS Director Kathryn Ostadal (Kathryn) round out the list of occupants. Below and behind the guide in the back, is a large clump of Geonoma congesta.

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- 10:34AM: We entered the open area again and were able to photograph this group of Welfia regia. I was able to view this side of the tram easier on the return trip.

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- The popular Broccoli Trees had to be the most commonly photographed non-palm of the tram. They are massive trees, as we were about 100 feet (30m) up in the air and they looked as if we were on the ground. I searched for a binomial name but could not get one that was certifiable.

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- 10:35AM: As we were crossing the open expanse, I could see far across to another hill side completely covered with heavy canopy.

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Ryan

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KONADANTOM

Aloha Ryan – those are some really great photos of Tram gondolas loaded with “palm nuts” – I see my new pals elHoagie and laHoagie in Post # 92 – they were fun traveling companions during our Pre-Biennial tour of Tortuguero.

su amigo Danni, en "la Isla Grande" de Hawai'i

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Palmarum

2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 10:35AM: The tram tour began a series of staggered stops as the gondolas up front in line reached the end and were halted to let passengers off. This gave us some more time to look around in one location. The entire tram was dotted with huge Iriartea deltoidea. The giant plumose leaves were incredible to see so up close for the first time as I had only seen small plants prior to the Biennial. I could see the end of the open expanse coming up ahead as the tram cables disappeared into the canopy.

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- 10:36AM: At certain points along the tram, we were literally cutting through the canopy. This approaching tower was one of the highest places along the route. After the returning gondolas rode through the pulleys at the top, the tram began to descend slightly.

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- Our neighbors to the front were almost getting a show as some monkeys were moving around in the distance. Our guide said he could hear them moving through the trees, as their guide was pointing them out. If you look ahead you could see the next two loaded gondolas.

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- 10:37AM: I took advantage of a solitary beam of sunlight that was illuminating the forest floor to take this photo. This is a good identity challenge as there are four different palm species in this photo. See how many you can get before you read the names below...

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...Asterogyne martiana, Calyptrogyne ghiesbreghtiana, Geonoma congesta, Welfia regia

Ryan

KONADANTOM Posted Yesterday, 08:25 PM

Aloha Ryan – those are some really great photos of Tram gondolas loaded with “palm nuts” – I see my new pals elHoagie and laHoagie in Post # 92 – they were fun traveling companions during our Pre-Biennial tour of Tortuguero...

Thanks Dan,

It is good to see you on the Forum. As for others who may not know, Dan was a member of infamous Bus #4. Jack and Lindsey are the perfect traveling duo, as they could not help but to add to the great experience that was the Biennial. Both on and off Bus #4.

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Palmarum

2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 10:39AM: The trip back was just as surreal as the first half of the tram. We saw everything again, but from a different perspective.

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- This tree which I could not get a name for had an interesting red new growth.

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- The large leaf you see before you belonged to a fairly big Socratea exorrhiza that was fighting its way towards the sun.

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- 10:40AM: A perfect shot of a beautiful set of palm fronds. This Pholidostachys pulchra was flawless. It didn't have a blemish anywhere.

2008-05-05_10-40-33.jpg

Ryan

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Palmarum

2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 10:40AM: We had to wait again, as the tram came to a stop to let passengers off gondolas up in the front of the line. A massive Welfia regia that was exceeding the height of the tram, was growing just a few feet from us. We got a great view of several inflorescences full of immature fruit.

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- 10:43AM: The gondola had begun moving again and we slowly drifted under a few ancient trees. Suddenly, our guide got all excited and pointed out a troop of White-headed Capuchin Monkeys, Cebus capucinus moving through the branches above, parallel to our course. It was the first of many pleasant encounters to come for attendees and monkeys.

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- I kept a close eye on the moving line of white and black fur and caught a glimpse of a mother with an offspring on her back.

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- We reached the point in the tram where it crossed over the river below. When a gondola was over the river, on the return trip, it was at the highest point above ground in the entire tram. It was also the longest stretch of cable between towers, hence the big dip. It is the perfect way to experience a rain forest. The company that runs the tram has several other ones around the Caribbean so if you are able to visit one, please do so.

2008-05-05_10-44-13.jpg

Ryan

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Palmarum

2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 10:48AM: We were next to cross the river, with our guide reminding us how high we were to the angst of some of the more weary passengers. I came to the conclusion as we were passing the river how lucky we were that it did not rain. It would have dramatically changed the experience.

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- 10:49AM: I noticed this Iriartea deltoidea as we passed it as we departed from the visitors center. At that time, I was not in a good position to get a shot of it, unlike now. Many of the larger, mature specimens had this deep purple hue in the crownshaft that was quite stunning.

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- 10:57AM: Our gondola was next in line to dock back at the visitors center so just before we got off, I snapped this photo of one more red emergent leaf; put on display by a small Welfia regia.

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- 11:11AM: Since we were towards the back of the pack, by the time we had gotten back to the visitors center, everyone else had been roaming the gift store or gotten in line to eat lunch. Bus #4 alumni Rod Gates chats up the park guides in an exchange of information. They were asking him about palms while he was getting other info in return.

2008-05-05_11-11-19.jpg

Ryan

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Palmarum

2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 11:21AM: Bus #4 gets food and eats it in style in the middle of a rain forest. If the food was not good enough, we get to eat it in view of some great surroundings and with fellow palm fanatics.

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- 11:47AM: The lunch buffet had the usual mixed fare of delicious choices and had some different combinations to try. We had a nice selection of fresh fruit juices to enjoy as well. There was no shortage of things to talk about. Everyone was comparing what they each saw from their own gondolas. This table in particular was attracting attention as they were competing with each other over who had the best story. From left to right: Forum member Alan Brickey (avb) [obscured], FM. Bill Sanford (BS Man about Palms) [hat falling off], FM. Robert Wilson (RainForestt Robert), FM. Dan Ashely (KONADANTOM), Judy Kay, FM. Jack Sayers (elHoagie) and Lindsey Sayers.

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- 11:50AM: When lunch was over we had some extra time to peruse the gift store and check out the landscaped areas around the visitors center. One of the more popular palms to cause confusion was Calyptrogyne ghiesbreghtiana. Many were having fun telling it apart from Asterogyne martiana.

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- 11:51AM: This awesome looking species kept me and a few others confused for the duration of the Biennial. I was looking over Fairchild's photos of herbarium specimens and cross checking them with Henderson's list of palms and came to the conclusion it was Geonoma ferruginea. This palm was one of many planted not far from the gift store.

2008-05-05_11-51-22.jpg

Ryan

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Palmarum

2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 11:52AM: This is an additional photo of the Geonoma ferruginea, showing the underside details of one leaf. It was a great looking small, clustering palm and I wondered if it could be a decent Geonoma species for South Florida.

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- Right next door, along the sidewalk to the gift store, was this Reinhardtia gracilis showing its trademark 'windows' in the leaflets.

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- 11:54AM: Next in the palm showcase was this small clump of Bactris hondurensis. It looked a little different than the one in the parking lot. It had thinner stems and smaller leaves, probably due to the lesser amounts of sunlight received. This photo shows the heavily-armed leaf bases covered with short, sharp spines. There were some bright orange fruit that teased quite a few attendees. I stress the word 'were'.

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- 11:56AM: I was walking with a few attendees looking around the visitors center, when we were approached by a tram guide who asked if we wanted to see a Pholidostachys pulchra. We looked at each other and said "Why yes, show the way to this palm.". We walked down a short path where we were met with this huge specimen up close and personal. This was my first time being next to such a large example of this species.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 11:57AM: My first experience with a large Pholidostachys pulchra meant many photos to be taken. We saw this palm throughout the tram but from a distance. The palm flowers almost continuously, producing these large, thick, catkin like rachillae which are each the entire inflorescence.

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- Here are some immature fruit in production. They turn black when they are ripe.

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- 11:58AM: Is this a rooster's foot?

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- Nope, it is actually the young inflorescence belonging to a large Asterogyne martiana. One vernacular name for this palm is 'Leg of Rooster' because of the visual similarity. The pathway where the Pholidostachys pulchra was located held a few surprises.

2008-05-05_11-59-03.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 12:02PM: I was taking photos of the Asterogyne martiana when fellow Bus #4 attendee and roommate Ron Kiefert came and found me to report he had discovered an Astrocaryum with no spines. At first, I didn't believe him so it was something I had to see. We walked down to the entrance of the visitors center to find this Astrocaryum alatum that had no spines. Without the spines it looked quite different.

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- 12:03PM: Looking in close, you can see the petioles on the left have no spines while the fruit in the middle are fully armed as usual. It is possible to find Peach Palms, Bactris gasipaes without spines so I figure the same variability now exists with Astrocaryum alatum.

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- 12:08AM: Walking back to the open area next to the gift store, I noticed a group of people gathered around this tree. A tram guide had warned them about the presence of Bullet Ants, Paraponera clavata. They are also called 24-Hour Ants, as their sting delivers pain for a full day. The name 'bullet' comes from the opinion that their sting resembles the pain from a gun-shot wound.

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- 12:09PM: A mass of Bus #4 attendees gather around to watch the ants in action. No one volunteered to get stung. FM. Bill Sanford (BS Man about Palms) was looking through the spotting scope, which I think was still aimed at the Sloth.

2008-05-05_12-09-40.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 12:10PM: This Golden-Orb Weaver Spider, Nephila clavipes was building an impressive golden web smack in the middle of the visitors center. It was our second brush with this large arachnid species.

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- 12:11PM: I am not an Aroid collector, but when I see attendees gathered around and gawking at this one I have to think it is rare and unusual. I asked around and no one seemed to know the species, or even the genus. If you happen to know the name, please post it.

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- The aroid above had large leaves and had some great color. It seemed to create a big fuss among a few attendees including our Moderator Dean Ouer (Dypsisdean), FM. and grower Jerry Andersen (jdapalms), and FM. & IPS past-President Paul Craft (Licuala).

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- 12:15PM: The same tram guide who took us to see the large Pholidostachys pulchra came and found us again asking for what our opinion would be on this palms identity. He mentioned the palm had been here for some time and they never knew what to call it. We all knew immediately it was a Geonoma, but between FM. Bill Sanford (BS Man about Palms), Jeff Searle and myself we did not know the species at the time. The herbarium sheets at Fairchild came in handy again, as I was able to use them to get a confidant ID. The Henderson list mentions that there were Geonoma cuneata located at the tram and the description is similar to this palm, but I believe it is actually Geonoma cuneata var. procumbens. The differences include the leaves, which on this variety are regularly divided, and thus are irregularly divided on G. cuneata. Both palms have a unbranched spicate inflorescence, but G. cuneata produces one that is much thicker in diameter and shorter in length. The range for this variety includes Costa Rica. It could be something else as well. If anyone has a better idea as to identity, post away.

2008-05-05_12-15-41.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 12:16PM: This shot features a closer view of the inflorescence belonging to the palm above. It was just shy of flowering but it is very thin which what led me to believe it was the variety, Geonoma cuneata var. procumbens.

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- An overall view, showing the trunk and crown.

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- We heard some commotion coming from down the sidewalk, when we tracked down the noise we saw a few attendees and guides tracking something through the brush. When I got closer I noticed this green tree snake doing its best to outrun everyone. I managed to get a shot of him sticking his tongue out.

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- 12:19PM: Our limousine awaits. It was time for us to head back to the tram entrance to continue on with the second half of the day's schedule. We had a steep climb ahead of us. To get us all back to the entrance, the tractor would pull a large, seat-filled trailer loaded with excited Bus #4 attendees.

2008-05-05_12-19-42.jpg

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Rain Forest Aerial Tram, Braulio Carrillo National Park -> Quebrada González Ranger Station, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 12:19PM: They might not all look it, but they are excited. The trailer gets loaded one attendee at a time until they were all waiting for me to board as I was last, taking photos of course. We were told to hang on and to not stick any part of ourselves outside the railings. That is always good advice. From left to right: Andrea Searle, Texan attendee LeAnn Holmes, Judy Glock, Forum member JayAnne Crawley (La Lady), Cindy Andersen, Rod Gates, André Lundkvist, FM. Jerry Andersen (jdapalms), FM. Jeff Searle, FM. Bill Sanford (BS Man about Palms) [with his hand up] and FM. Ron Kiefert (moose knuckle).

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- 12:30PM: After a short and fun ride through the park, we arrived back at the Aerial Tram entrance area. It was like a slow paced roller coaster pulled by a tractor. We got off the trailer and met up with the rest of Bus #4 just as Bus #3 had arrived to begin their Aerial Tram experience. We made parting glances and each group shared quick stories before we had to board the bus for the ranger station.

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- 12:41PM: There was little time to get comfortable on the bus before we arrived at the ranger station. The ride lasted just a few moments as the entrance to the park was just down the highway.

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- 12:47PM: I took a moment to double check our supplies before exiting the bus. There were two coolers at the back of the bus, with this integrated one serving the role for beer storage; and a very important role it was. Bus #4 had its requirements after all.

2008-05-05_12-47-39.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Quebrada González Ranger Station, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 12:49PM: There was a bit of prep work involved before we began our trek into the park. The trail through the park was a large loop, so to make it easier for everyone to proceed at an even pace they divided Bus #4 into two groups. Each group will start at opposite ends of the trail and then meet and pass each other in the middle. The prep work continues with Forum member Judy Norris (Queen of Bling) getting sprayed by LeAnn Holmes with the all-important bug spray.

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- 12:50PM: The beginning of the trail bolds well for Bus #4 attendees with an immediate increase in altitude. Ugh. There were some serious steps to overcome at this entrance to the trail.

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- 12:51PM: Here we go. Half of Bus #4 begins our rain forest experience in Braulio Carrillo National Park. For some attendees, myself included, this was our first time in a rain forest.

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- 12:52PM: Barely a minute goes by and we became surrounded by palms in all directions including this Calyptrogyne ghiesbreghtiana.

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Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Quebrada González Ranger Station, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 12:53PM: Up and up we go. The climb was steady and the stairs were interrupted by short stretches of flat trail. You had to stop every now and then out of fear you would miss something since you had to concentrate on the trail if you were moving.

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- 12:54PM: The signature palmate or fan palm of the national park was Cryosophila warscewiczii. Especially since it was the only fan palm found in the park. This genus contains some remarkable species and they deserve to be grown more.

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- 12:57PM: Our sub-group of Bus #4 was led through the national park by our trusty CRT Guide Jorge who knew the park, and the country for that matter, intimately well. He was pointing out every important plant, animal and insect we came across. He is seen here warning us again about snakes, poisonous snakes that is.

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- 12:58PM: We had the opportunity to see a few different Chamaedorea species while we were in Costa Rica, one in particular I wanted to find to see in person. That desire was fulfilled quickly as we came across a group of Chamaedorea deckeriana, a great palm that has been missing from South Florida sales off an on; for a few years.

2008-05-05_12-58-32.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Quebrada González Ranger Station, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 12:58PM: Our CRT Guide Jorge was very handy to have around. Sometimes he only needed a finger to show us the smallest detail of rain forest life, including these Leaf Cutter Ants, Atta cephalotes. They were scurrying up and down the trunk of a nearby canopy tree.

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- The dominant palm species fulfilling the small to moderate size range was by far Geonoma congesta. There were many large clumps and sometimes large colonies filling in sections of the rain forest undergrowth. Certain clumps had stems numbering over twenty.

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- An additional view showing the stem and nearby suckers.

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- 1:01PM: An added challenge of any trip through a palm heavy area is the identification of juvenile plants. I feel it is important to be able to match young palms with their parents. This allows for a stronger ability to correctly identify containerized plants after seeing them in habitat. In this instance, the opposite is also true. I have seen numerous Socratea exorrhiza in pots, and it made ID'ing this individual oh so easy.

2008-05-05_13-01-39.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Quebrada González Ranger Station, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 1:02PM: The identification of juveniles continues with the challenge before you. The unique coloration on the petioles caused a few people to get stumped, since it doesn't carry over to adulthood. This is a very young Pholidostachys pulchra and they look great when grow in small containers. Too bad they do not keep the color.

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- 1:08PM: We followed the trail as it led into an open area bathed in full sun and patrolled by monkeys. We were climbing over logs and avoiding falls trying to photograph the monkeys in the trees above. Our CRT Guide Jorge pointed out this bizarre spider web. He went on to tell us that the spider makes the web this thick and showy on purpose to keep birds from flying into it. I didn't catch the name of the spider, but I am sure someone could post it.

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- 1:12PM: A picture is worth a thousand words and some of the ones she's thinking of I cannot post here. I do not know what was said, but Forum member Judy Norris's (Queen of Bling) reaction says it all. The comments and jokes that were flying around were memorable. :winkie:

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- 1:16PM: Our half of Bus #4 began to stretch out a bit, as some attendees trekked onward while others slowed down to take more photos. You could guess which group I was in. FM. Bill Olson (Bill Olson) became a member of my sub-group as we both looked in every spot for plant and animal life. He volunteered for many of the posed shots including this one next to the stilt roots of a Socratea exorrhiza. It became an instant rush seeing these large stilt masses in person after only seeing them in books for so many years.

2008-05-05_13-16-17.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Quebrada González Ranger Station, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 1:17PM: We went further and further into the park, and the topography started to level out more. Some areas were fairly thin of palms while others were very heavy. One real heavy area was dominated with large clumps of Geonoma congesta.

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- I heard someone scream "Cycad!" and when I turned around I found people gathered around this Zamia skinneri. This was one of a few specimens we saw.

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- 1:19PM: We continued on the trail when we came across this perfect 'pole' that seemed to shoot up into the sky. When I got to it, I looked upward and saw this, a beefy crown belonging to the largest Pholidostachys pulchra that I had seen yet.

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- 1:24PM: I had the chance to capture different species in all stages of growth and it made for an awesome time. This is what you want to see when you photograph palms. This young Pholidostachys pulchra was still in its juvenile stage, but had just recently became mature to produce an undersized inflorescence.

2008-05-05_13-24-17.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Quebrada González Ranger Station, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 1:24PM: Zooming in, I got a tighter shot of the small batch of ripening fruit from above. They had just begun to turn from pale white to black or really dark purple.

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- 1:25PM: Our small sub-group caught up with the front runners as our CRT Guide Jorge found a few interesting items in a row to show to us. FM. Jeff Searle takes a few photos of the group as we move on through at a good pace.

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- 1:27PM: This robust female cone belonged to a Zamia that was missing most of its crown. I could guess it is a Zamia skinneri, but nowadays that doesn't say much. Many of the Zamia species are in the middle of being reworked. When you ask two different cycad people their opinions as to identity, you get five answers.

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- 1:31PM: We rounded a corner and began another ascent when I saw this rather plump, heavily-armed spathe seemingly waving at me from a distance. It grabbed my attention without much effort. I looked at it as close as I could and knew it was a Bactris sp., but I had never seen its equal before.

2008-05-05_13-31-30.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Quebrada González Ranger Station, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 1:31PM: A wider view shows more of the mystery Bactris sp. This individual was solitary, but there were other plants nearby that were clumping. Reading the thread started by Michael Merritt (Mike in Kurtisstown), mentions that he had captured photos of the same species and then there was a small debate as to what it was. It was narrowed to two choices, B. major and B. coloradonis and I am happy knowing it could be one of those two.

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- 1:39PM: FM. Bill Olson (Bill Olson) was the first to plow into the brush, ignoring all possible dangers for the sake of palm exploration. One of his footfalls accidentally took off this inflorescence belonging to a small Chamaedorea species which I think was C. deckeriana. I could not see the full plant so far into the brush.

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- 1:41PM: The bigger the stilt roots, the more people wanted to be photographed with them. This set of Iriartea deltoidea stilt roots represented a small fraction of the palms total height. With the mere mention of a photo, Bill jumped to the right side as FM. Linda Talbott (Linda Apriletti) joined him on the left.

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- 1:50PM: I was surprised to see such a large Heliconia bloom right near the trail. This one was a little past its prime but it still had enough color. I referred to the Heliconia Guide by Fred Berry to try and identify it and the closest one that fit the photo was Heliconia pogonantha var. holerythra. The description fit to the point of detail I could see, and the variety's range includes Costa Rica. Please post or contact me if you can verify the name.

2008-05-05_13-50-44.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Quebrada González Ranger Station, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 1:54PM: Now this was the shot I was looking for throughout the entire trail; a mature Pholidostachys pulchra sporting two inflorescences, one with full ripe fruit and the other with maturing fruit. The color of the ripe fruit was either black or real dark purple.

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- An additional view showing the entire palm belonging to the fruit collection above.

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- 1:55PM: A typical view of an extraordinary journey. The trail had something for everyone, especially palm people. Our guide Jorge mentioned he takes groups of all kinds through the national park including bird, primate, butterfly, and flowering tree societies. In the upper right side corner of the photo, there is an unknown Bactris sp. It had leaves that were supporting ranked leaflets and the petioles and leaf bases were highly armed.

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- 1:57PM: This moderately-sized Cryosophila warscewiczii had perfect leaves and the glaucous leaf undersides were a joy for many who had never seen such a specimen before. I have a cousin of this palm, C. stauracantha in my collection and it was one of the first rare palms I got when I was a kid. I see it everyday and it is a great palm for the landscape.

2008-05-05_13-57-47.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Quebrada González Ranger Station, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 2:00PM: "Dr. Sanford I presume?" Our half of Bus #4 had just about reached the midway point in the trail when we encountered the other half of attendees. Everyone exchanged points of interest they had witnessed from each person’s respective half of the trail, real or otherwise. "We saw monkeys.", "Oh yeah? Well we almost stepped on a poisonous snake." Forum member Alan Brickey (avb) marches on past on the left while his roommate & FM. Bill Sanford (BS Man about Palms) poses for the photo.

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- 2:04PM: People along the trail behind me began to rave about an orchid they had seen. I didn't see it at first, so I backtracked a bit to find it. I had to wait my turn to photograph, as it was so popular. This is Huntleya burtii, the only species of the genus in Costa Rica. The bloom was about 4 inches (10cm) across and had great texture. We were fortunate to be seeing it in bloom, as it only flowers in the mid to late dry season and the Biennial was taking place early in the wet season.

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- 2:06PM: Bill had mentioned a snake his group had seen and was using an ID sheet to describe it to FM. Bill Olson (Bill Olson).

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- 2:08PM: Both sub-groups parted ways and we continued on down the trail. At one turn in the trail, this large Astrocaryum alatum seemed to speak to Bill and said "Come here". He ambled down the hill doing his best not to find snakes and got up all nice and close with the spiny palm.

2008-05-05_14-08-43.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Quebrada González Ranger Station, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 2:09PM: The fruit was plentiful on the Astrocaryum alatum, featured in this tighter shot of the palm above.

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- 2:11PM: I came across our Forum moderators, Angela Blakely (putu enjula) & Dean Ouer (Dypsisdean) as they were doing some stranger than usual behavior. It turns out they were inspecting a nearby palm that had become the day time home for a tent making bat.

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- 2:13PM: As Angela would agree, photographing this shy Thomas' fruit-eating Bat, Artibeus watsoni, was not an easy thing to do. It was positioned under its 'tent' on the opposite side of the Calyptrogyne ghiesbreghtiana it had borrowed the leaf from.

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- From the outside, it was not difficult to spot the tent-modified leaf from the other ones in the crown. You can see the V-shaped chew marks in the leaf blade that caused the leaf to buckle. Above the tent leaf, you can see the spicate, unbranched inflorescence belonging to the Calyptrogyne ghiesbreghtiana. A popular common name for this palm in South Florida is Vampire Palm, since this species gets pollinated by these tent-making, fruit-eating bats. The flowers of this palm have an edible part of their anatomy that gives a reward to the bats as they move through pollinating them. These palms end up giving not only sustenance to these bats, but also a temporary home.

2008-05-05_14-13-31.jpg

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Quebrada González Ranger Station, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 2:16PM: In this area of the national park, I had expected to see more Welfia regia than what we did see. We saw so many more not far away at the Aerial Tram. This underneath view of a massive individual was a polar opposite to the overhead views we got from the Aerial Tram gondolas.

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- 2:26PM: We started a bit of a descent and came across a series of basic, wooden plank walkways that crossed a series of ditches and culverts. On one stretch of earthen trail we discovered this strange plant. No one, including the guides, knew what this was. The leafy part resembled a Chlorophytum or similar plant, but the bloom was totally bizarre. If anyone has any info on this thing please post away.

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- 2:28PM: The wooden walkways were slippery and unsteady at the best of times. We took our time and made our way down the trail. At one point, Forum members Linda Talbott (Linda Apriletti), Bill Olson (Bill Olson) and Jeff Searle stopped to take a better look at this juvenile Astrocaryum alatum; while FM. Ron Kiefert (moose knuckle) took a photo of that strange plant above.

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- 2:34PM: We continued a general descent and figured we were approaching the end of this side of the trail. After a few minutes we could see a gathering up ahead and caught up to them. We were wondering what could be mesmerizing FMs. Paul Norris (Palmnorris), IPS past-President Paul Craft (Licuala) and Linda Talbott (Linda Apriletti)?

2008-05-05_14-34-26.jpg

Ryan

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Quebrada González Ranger Station, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 2:35PM: Those three above and a few others were studying this small, yet highly venomous Eyelash Palm Pit Viper, Bothriechis schlegeli. It was curled up between the stilt roots of a large Socratea exorrhiza that was being ignored by attendees because of its small inhabitant.

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- 2:48PM: These colorful pods were forming right off the trunk of this tree. We were not sure what this tree was either, but because of its reproductive behavior we concluded that it might be a Cacao relative in the Theobroma genus. We were having an incredible time, as finding new plants like this were just an added gift during the Biennial.

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- 2:51PM: Along the trail, we came to a few lookout points. This view over this stream was one very popular lookout. We had to use that cable to cross over to the other side... Just kidding.

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- 2:54PM: FMs. Paul Craft (Licuala) and Jeff Searle had to watch their steps as the trail begins to descend quite rapidly.

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2008 IPS Biennial - Costa Rica

Day 03: Monday, May 5th

Quebrada González Ranger Station, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Bus #4

- 2:57PM: A mere three minutes later myself along with a few others emerged from the park trail. It was a great walk through a wonderful rain forest experience. It was exhilarating to see palms I had known for so many years in habitat and this was only the third day of the Biennial.

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- Bus #4 was again in view of its devoted passengers. As people finished the trail, they relaxed in the shade and raided the coolers off and on the bus.

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- 3:05PM: The Biennial spirit was hard to ignore as it was contagious and easily spread from attendee to attendee. The use of an adult beverage or two lubricated the process. The feelings were overflowing and they were a mix of accomplishment, satisfaction and joy.

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- 3:06PM: This solitary Peach Palm, Bactris gasipaes was at the top of the hill near the ranger station office. We had a few more minutes to chat, use the restroom and look around before we were told to again board the bus for home. You could not help but to turn and give the entrances to the national park one more look. You do not know when you might be back this way again.

2008-05-05_15-06-53.jpg

Ryan

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