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In 1932, José Cuatrecasas made his first visit to the high-altitude zones of the northern Andes in South America. He was struck by the rich and complex vegetation of the páramos of Colombia; in particular, the bizarre life-form of Espeletia gave him "the impression of being confronted with a different world." At the time of his death in 1996 at the age of 93, Cuatrecasas had nearly completed his ambitious taxonomic revision of this fascinating group of plants. Seven genera of subtribe Espeletiinae are included here. The 269 botanical illustrations, 60 micrographs, and 190 monochrome photographs provide a wealth of historical, ecological, phytogeographical, anatomical, and cytological information.
Jos‚ Cuatrecasas (1903-1996) was a botanist. He was born on March 19, 1903 in Camprodon, Catalonia, Spain. His research focused on the high-elevation p ramo and sub- p ramo regions of the Andes Mountains in South America, especially the flowering plant families Asteraceae and Malpighiaceae. In 1997, the Smithsonian Institution established the Jos‚ Cuatrecasas Botanical Fund to "support significant research projects that emulate the spirit of the research of Jos‚ Cuatrecasas". The Smithsonian also awards a Jos‚ Cuatrecasas Medal for Excellence in Tropical Botany annually. Jos‚ Cuatrecasas's Author Page