Mosses from the Netherlands Antilles

The Netherlands Antilles comprise the islands Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire of the Leeward Group, and St. Eustatius, Saba and the southern part of St. Martin (St. Maarten) of the Windward Group. The northern part of St. Martin belongs to the French territory (Departement de la Guadeloupe). Botanical investigations were started already in the 18th century, but it was not before 1909 that an enumeration of the vascular plants of part of the Netherlands Antilles appeared in print (Boldingh, 1909; the other part appeared in 1914). In 1913 Boldingh published a Flora of the Netherlands Antilles (in Dutch). Brother M. Arnoldo published a Flora of Curaçao, Aruba and Bonaire (in Dutch, 1954; second edition 1964). An elaborate study of the vegetation of the islands was published by Stopfers (1956). Some of the data given below are borrowed from that paper. A new Flora is now in the course of publication (edited by Stoppers since 1962). This article describes the mosses family, species, location, and habitat preference that have been collected by the author in the Netherlands Antilles. The mossflora of the Leeward Group is very poor. It seems that no mosses have been collected in Aruba. Although the rainfall in Bonaire is distinctly higher than in Aruba, only 3 mosses, Hyophila microcarpa, H. tortula and Gymnostomiella orcuttii, have been collected on this island up till now. From Curaçao 6 species are listed below, five of which have been collected on the highest hill. The Windward islands Saba and St. Eustatius have by far the richest bryoflora of the Netherlands Antilles. This mainly due to the higher elevation (St. Eustatius 600 m and Saba 900 m) and to the higher rainfall.

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