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This book is dedicated to the memory of Martín Cárdenas Hermosa (1899–1973), outstanding botanist, Quechua scholar, historian, and a pioneer advocate of Andean crops. He was born of Indian parents and became Rector (President) of the Universidad Autónoma de Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Cárdenas was friend and advisor to innumerable horticulturists and botanists from many countries. He enhanced gardens around the world with his generous samples of the rich and varied flora of the Andes. A wise and tireless researcher and traveler whom all remember with affection, he published a large number of articles and two books. His 1969 Manual de Plantas Económicas de Bolivia—now unfortunately out of print—is the most comprehensive review of useful Andean plants ever made. Cárdenas left his herbarium containing about 6,500 Bolivian specimens—many originally described by him—to the Universidad de Tucumán, and his home and library in Cochabamba to the local university for the use of researchers.

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