Credits and Acknowledgments

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RainforestPlants should be cited as “Shumway, SW, Letcher, SL, Friberg, A, and DeMelo, D. 2009. RainforestPlants.

Dr. Scott Shumway is responsible for the creation of RainforestPlants, as well as the field marks, photographs, and errors contained in RainforestPlants. Detailed descriptions and line drawings are from Common Plant Families of La Selva Biological Station and are reproduced with permission of the author, Dr. Susan Letcher. Ecological references have been supplied by Wheaton College students enrolled in Dr. Shumway’s Tropical Field Biology class. Web design is by Alexander Friberg and Diane DeMelo. Dr. Shumway is indebted to Dr. Humberto Jimenez-Saa for sharing his love of tropical plants and the Plant Family Matrix as part of a course on Tropical Dendrology.

Dr. Scott Shumway

Dr. Scott Shumway is Professor of Biology at Wheaton College in Norton, MA where he teaches courses in botany, marine biology, environmental science, and tropical ecology. He has conducted research on the ecology of coastal sand dune and salt marsh plants. He is the author of A Naturalist’s Guide to the Atlantic Seashore published by Globe-Pequot Press in 2008. His first introduction to tropical biology came as an undergraduate at Tufts University studying with Dr. Norton Nickerson on a Bahamian island named Hummingbird Cay. In 1996 he enrolled in an OTS course on tropical forests and has been teaching and taking courses in tropical field biology ever since.

Dr. Susan Letcher

Dr. Susan Letcher is a resident professor for the Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica. She earned her Ph.D. from University of Connecticut after studying the structural, floristic, and phylogenetic dynamics of tropical forest stands during succession at the La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica. She is the author of Common Plant Families of La Selva Biological Station and The Barefoot Sisters – Southbound – an Adventure on the Appalachian Trail. She is deeply indebted to many people who helped make the plant families guide possible: Mark McKone, Robin Chazdon, Reinaldo Aguilar, Brad Boyle, Robbin Moran, Nelson Zamora, J. Francisco Morales, José González, Orlando Vargas, and Ricardo Kriebel, and Carlos García-Robledo. Her adventures in Costa Rica are documented on her blog at

Alex Friberg is a Wheaton College undergraduate in the class of 2010. He is responsible for the web design of RainforestPlants.

Shawn Wise is a Wheaton College undergraduate in the class of 2013. He is responsible for the web design of RainforestPlants.

Diane DeMelo is a Faculty Technology Liaison at Wheaton College.

Scott Shumway received funding to develop RainforestPlants from Wheaton College Faculty Scholarship Awards, a Patricia Higgins Arnold ’66 and Christopher B. Arnold Faculty Enrichment Award, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Please Help Us Improve RainforestPlants

RainforestPlants is a wiki and, therefore, open to continual improvements and contributions that are in keeping with its original mission as a teaching tool that is easily accessible to undergraduates beginning their study of tropical forest plants. Comments and suggestions for improvements should be directed to Scott Shumway at