Dave Looks for Plants

Journal of a plant explorer

Dave’s travel blog

Dave in Panama, 2008

It’s August 2022 and I have finally gotten back to tropics after two years of Covid!  I have updated my main website for the many changes in taxonomy and for 18 new species in Costaceae that we are publishing this summer.  

Now I need to get back to updating this travel blog, completing the stories of the previous trips and reminiscing about exploring the jungles of Central and South America looking for Costus.  I have a lot of work to do to catch up, but like any trip, you have to start somewhere.  I am slowly working my way forward, so tune in here from time to time to check on my progress.

Below is a list of my trips with blue hi-lited links for the ones I have completed so far.


  • Costa Rica, June-July 2005: my first time in the jungle and I am hooked!
  • Costa Rica, May 2006: I learn all about riding buses (and horses).
  • Costa Rica, August 2006: my wife learns about mountain rats (in bed with us).
  • Costa Rica, November-December 2006: “Friends of the Osa” are friends of mine.
  • Ecuador, May-June 2007: mud, mules and my escape from the Shuar Indians.
  • Costa Rica, January-February 2008: a little monkey named “Sweetie” is in love (with me).
  • Peru, June-July 2008: Heliconia Society International conference and tours.
  • Panama, October-November 2008: : seeing everyday family life in Panama home stays.
  • Ecuador, October 2009: : I tour the country from one end to the other (with friends).
  • Singapore; Borneo, July 2010: : Heliconia Society conference and tour in Borneo
  • Costa Rica, June-July 2011: at long last, I re-discover a nearly extinct species.
  • Guyana, August 2011: overnight deep in the mountain jungle with a drunken Indian.
  • Brazil, November 2012: my “luxury tour” and first Chamaecostus in habitat
  • Panama & Colombia, July-August 2012: Heliconia Society conference and Colombia tour.
  • Peru, January-February 2013: a long treacherous ride through the summits of the Andes.
  • Costa Rica, September 2013: a visit with my friend and super plantsman Reinaldo.
  • Brazil, January-February 2014: Thiago and I find Chamaecostus cuspidatus in habitat.
  • Colombia, April 2014: exploring the beauty of the Colombian Chocó and eastern mountains.
  • Mexico, July 2014: I find Costus and coffee, two of my favorites.
  • Ecuador, February-March 2015: exploring with father and son – Marco Jiménez Sr. and Jr.
  • Panama, November 2015: Carla Black and I search for the elusive Costus vinosus.
  • Costa Rica, July 2016: Visiting the type localities of C. glaucus, C. nitidus and C. curvibracteatus.
  • Costa Rica, September 2016: A near tragedy, rolled my car down the mountain.
  • Peru, November 2016: Following Ruiz
  • Dominica, January 2017: The most beautiful island in the Caribbean
  • Bolivia, March 2017: FINALLY, I find the source of the cultivated C. comosus incorrectly known as barbatus
  • Mexico, August 2017: Helping Paul Maas with his new species Costus alticolus
  • Holland, October 2017: a visit with Paul and Hiltje Maas in the Netherlands
  • Peru, March 2018: Finding the REAL Costus tarmicus and confirming another NEW SPECIES
  • Trinidad, June 2018: Short trip to another island in the Caribbean
  • Guatemala, July 2018:  I rediscover an insufficiently known species Costus sepacuitensis
  • Mexico, August-September 2018:  Another trip with my friend Manuel
  • Colombia, December 2018: At last it is safe to explore the jungles of southern Colombia
  • Brazil, February 2019: A two-day boat trip takes us deep into drug trafficking terretory
  • Brazil, April 2019: I find a species first collected by a German explorer 120 years ago
  • Panama, July 2019:  Carla Black and I look for two new species needing further documentation
  • Honduras, September 2019: Studying the mesoamerican forms of Costus pulverulentus and Costus scaber
  • Brazil, January 2020:  Finally I understand and can recognize the true Costus acreanus
  • Ecuador, January 2022: Documenting another new species and exploring remote indigenous areas
  • Peru, April 2022:  Exploring the Amazonian jungles of eastern Peru with Devon Graham

This travel blog is a part of the website with detailed decriptions and
thousands of photos of plants in the family Costaceae.



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