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.
Mededelingen van het Botanisch Museum en Herbarium van de Rijksuniversiteit te Utrecht
In 1930 Mr. P. Wagenaar Hummelinck made an excursion to Curacao, Aruba, and Bonaire with the main object of studying the land and freshwater fauna. In 1936 and 1937 he again visited these islands and, moreover, a.o. the island of Margarita off the Venezuelan coast, the Venezuelan peninsula Paraguana and the Colombian peninsula La Goajira (Wagenaar Hummelinck, 1940). In the various inland-waters also Algae and Phanerogams have been collected. The aquatic Phanerogams were described by Van Ooststroom (1939); the Charophyta will be the subject of the present paper.
As a result of these trips only two species of Chara were collected, one of which, viz. C. fibrosa , was new for the area under discussion. No representative of the other Charophyta genera was detected. Though several species are recorded from the north coast of South America (cf. Braun, 1858; Braun & Nordstedt, 1882), so little is known of the Charophyta of the Netherlands West Indian islands that it is worth publishing these few notes. Moreover, a number of ecological data were gathered, which are enumerated at the same time.