Current status of Aroid Species Diversity in Panama, Including New Records for the Country

Araceae (aroids) is a large and ancient monocot plant family, most notable for its impressive morphological diversity and high life-form diversity which also represents a group with great economic importance, since many species are used as medicinal, edible and ornamental plants. The aroid flora of Central America has about 778 species in 26 genera (including three introduced genera). In Panama, several studies, mainly taxonomic (few floristic studies), have contributed to the knowledge of the aroid flora of the country. The latest Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Panama list 349 published species of Araceae (355 species including Lemnoideae, formerly Lemnaceae). After this work, the number of species has increased significantly. In this paper, a brief historical review about the study of the Panamanian Araceae is made with comments on the current diversity of Panama. Additionally, five new records of Araceae for the country are presented.

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