Since I started working on this book in 2008, I have been fortunate enough to return to the cloud forests of Ecuador for a separate research project every winter. This has afforded me the opportunity to both add to, and improve this guide. It has also expanded the study area slightly. About 50 of the new species in this edition were photographed in the primary forests of Reserva Los Cedros, 40 km north of Mindo.
This work is not a comprehensive flora of the Andean cloud forest or even of the area directly around Mindo, Ecuador. To do justice to the diverse and abundant plant species would take volumes. This guide provides guidance in identifying some of the most common and visible species.
While hardly an expert on the flora of the neotropics, by spending months in the field, and drawing on a diversity of resources, I put together the type of field guide that I would have loved to have had when I first came to the cloud forest.
In the process this book has benefitted from the review and criticism of several professional botanists and tropical naturalists who have helped to catch my errors.
It is my sincere hope that this guide will inspire appreciation and further study of the plant world for both locals and visitors alike.