THE PLANTS OF 'OCOQUILI' ISLAND, SAN BLAS COAST, PANAMA' W. G. D'ARCY AND BARRY HAMMEL2 ABSTRACT Study of one of the few San Blas Islands (Panama) with intact vegetation indicates that the florahas a greater affinity with distant circum-Caribbean islands than with the nearby mainland. The San Blas coast of northeastern Panama isfringed by a series of small flat islands, few ofthem as long as 1 km, and few more than 1 kmoffshore. Nothing is known about the vegetationof the islands before they were settled by theKuna Indians in the middle of the last century(Ja�n, 1978). Today most of the islands aredensely populated without a single trace of orig-inal plant life remaining. On 9 October 1978, wehired an outboard motor boat and visited a smallisland in the group that was uninhabited andappeared to have a large measure of its naturalvegetation intact. The 34 species noted duringthis morning included two new to Panama andan assemblage of species more likely to be foundon a flat limestone island in the northern Carib-bean hundreds of miles away than on the main-land of Panama less than 1 km away. The island's location, 9�14'N, 48�01'45"W, ismidway between Isla Nustupo and Ailigandi, andit is approximately halfway along the San Blascoast between Porvenir, the district capital, andPuerto Obaldia at the Colombian frontier. It isonly a few hundred meters from the mainland.This island is not marked on any maps we con-sulted, and we refer to it by the name given byour Indian guides, 'Ocoquili,' which refers to thecoconut trees on it. Upon leaving the area laterin the day, we persuaded our pilot to circle 'Oco-quili' and the photo shown here (Fig. 1) was tak-en. Ocoquili Island is about 1 km long and 300-400 m wide, and it is formed of coquina-likelimestone. Coconuts grow around most of theedges, and on the western end there is an accu-mulation of sand. Much of the interior is lowand flooded, covered by mangroves. Across theisland toward the eastern end is a shallow chan-nel and holes in the partly emergent limestone,at the edges of this, harbored small plants. Although no one lived there at the time, our guides reported that boatmen sometimes visited the island for coconuts, fishing, parties, and other reasons but did not stay long at a time. We found no signs of construction and no sign of feral an-imals. A total of 37 collections were made, some of them sterile. Determinations of Gramineae and Cyperaceae were made by Gerrit Davidse, of Rubiaceae by John D. Dwyer, and the balance by the senior author. Thirty-three species were represented, and the sight record of Cocos nu-cifera yielded a total of 34 species (Table 1). Al-though more species may be present, none were apparent at the time of this visit even in sterile condition. Our coverage was nearly complete. All collections are deposited with the Missouri Botanical Garden (MO). Ofthe trees, three species are mangroves. Red, white, and black mangroves were all present, but we found only one species ofred mangrove, Rhi-zophora mangle. Of the other tree species, Hip-pomane mancinella is neotropical, Cocos nuci-fera is introduced, and Cordia sebestena,commonest in the northern Caribbean, has beencollected few times in Panama, and then onlyalong this same San Blas coast. Ail tree speciesare mainly known from neotropical seacoasts,although some range inland in gallery forests, andall are to be found in proximity in many Carib-bean sites (Table 2). The shrubs have pan-Caribbean distribution,although some also occur elsewhere. Conocarpuserecta and Dalbergia ecastophyllum are foundnear many Caribbean coastlines, and they alsooccur in West Africa. Suriana maritima, which ' Supported by National Science Foundation Grant DEB 79-22192. 2 Missouri Botanical Garden, P.O. Box 299, St. Louis, Missouri 63166.ANN. MISSOURI BOT. GARD. 72: 264-267. 1985.