This website is intended as an evolving repository of information about the neotropical tree genus Swartzia, a striking and important member of the plant family Leguminoseae. With over 200 species, Swartzia is a ubiquitous and ecologically key component of lowland rainforest ecosystems from southern Mexico and the Caribbean islands to southern Brazil and Bolivia. It is particularly diverse and abundant in rainforests of the Amazon Basin and Guayana Shield area of northern South America. In this region, it is not uncommon to encounter a dozen or more species of Swartzia growing together in the same area of forest, each unique in its complex relationships with other plant species, pollinators, seed dispersers, herbivores, and humans. Because of its species-richness, ecological complexity, and ubiquity in neotropical rainforests, Swartzia is a candidate model organism for understanding the origins and maintenance of neotropical rainforest plant diversity.
We anticipate that this website, as it is increasingly populated, will be used by scientists and the general public alike. The eight tabs at the top of this page provide access to individual modules of the website. These modules, although they contain different kinds of information are seamlessly integrated in the functioning of the website. By clicking on the Taxonomy tab, the user will be able to access detailed information about the characteristics, distributions, ecologies, conservation status and uses of particular species of Swartzia. The Phylogeny module contains a brief review of the phylogeny, classification, and biogeographic history of the genus. The Identification module will host interactive “multiple entry” keys that in combination with the Taxonomy and Images modules will allow for rapid identification of herbarium material and living specimens. The Specimens module provides access to specimen data and specimen images from the Herbarium of the New York Botanical Garden and other herbaria with important collections of Swartzia. The Images module can be used to query our holdings of specimen and living plant images separately. The Literature module will contain a comprehensive bibliography of the references that were used to compile this website, as well as the protologs (i.e., original descriptions) of all of the species of Swartzia and other pertinent literature on the genus. Finally, the Contributors module gives brief description of and contact information for the international scientific team that have developed the structure and content of this website.