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The Cutting Edge
Volume VIII, Number 2, April 2001
News and Notes | Recent Treatments | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature | Season's Pick
ARECACEAE. Quírico Jiménez (INB) was fortunate enough to be the first botanist to explore a large and remote tract of excellent, evergreen forest near Paquera, at the southeastern corner of the Península de Nicoya. There he found (among many other interesting things) a substantial population of Neonicholsonia watsonii Dammer, previously unrecorded from the Península de Nicoya. He also noted two individuals of an as-yet-unidentified fan-palm sp., possibly a Cryosophila. Native fan-palms are practically unknown on the Nicoya [but see The Cutting Edge 6(3): 2, Jul. 1999].
BORAGINACEAE. We are aware of literally hundreds of plant spp. that are known from countries both to the north and south of Costa Rica, but have never turned up in Tiquicia. Many probably never will (especially if the gap is large), but others do trickle in on a regular basis. The latest of these is Heliotropium rufipilum (Benth.) I. M. Johnst., a widespread sp. common as nearby as Nicaragua. Alexander ('Popeye') Rodríguez (INB) smoked out a population while collecting with Francisco Morales in the limestone regions of Cerro Caraigres.
CARYOCARACEAE. [See under Gesneriaceae, this section.]
EBENACEAE. A collection made by Reinaldo Aguilar (2749) during our 1993 exploration of Cerro Anguiciana [see The Cutting Edge 1(1): 6, Jan. 1994], the highest peak in the Pacific Fila Costeña, has been identified as Diospyros panamense S. Knapp, now a former Panamanian endemic. Thanks to INBio's José González for this item.
EUPHORBIACEAE. During their recent reconnaissance of a projected dam site in the Río Grande de Térraba gorge, an INBio team discovered what we described [The Cutting Edge 7(2): 1, Apr. 2000] as "a striking, opposite-leaved Pera," new to Costa Rica and (we thought) perhaps to science. In the field, Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora invented the provisional name "Pera oppositifolia"—a prophetic choice, because such a name already exists and, Nelson now believes, really is the correct name for this sp. While studying at NY late last year, Nelson verified that Pera oppositifolia Griseb., apparently known (till now) only from Cuba, is a fine match for the Térraba material. He also believes that Pera benensis Rusby, a South American sp. with opposite leaves, is a synonym of P. oppositifolia. Significantly, P. benensis has recently been identified from Prov. Darién, Panama (Duke & Bristan 8223, MO; det. R. Liesner, 1996). The Savegre project (see under "News and Notes") also yields a country record in Euphorbiaceae: Sebastiania panamensis G. L. Webster, treated speculatively by William Burger and Michael Huft in Flora costaricensis (Fieldiana, Bot. n. s. 36: 156. 1995), has turned up at 1500–1600 m elevation on Cerro Lira, near Providencia de Dota. Once again, Panama's loss of an endemic sp. is Costa Rica's gain.
FABACEAE/MIMOSOIDEAE. Roberto ('Lupo') Espinoza, dean of Guanacaste collectors, has discovered a thriving population of Havardia campylacanthus (L. Rico & M. Sousa) Barneby & J. W. Grimes at Puerto Soley, in the far northwestern corner of Costa Rica. This sp., not even described (in Pithecellobium) until 1986, has been recorded only from Mexico, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora reports that H. campylacanthus is not only common at Lupo's site, but aggressively invasive in pastures; he wonders that it was not detected much sooner! Accepting the fragmentation of Pithecellobium s. l. as according to Barneby and Grimes (which seems increasingly fashionable), this is also a generic record for the country. See under the next entry for additional information relevant to this subfamily.
GESNERIACEAE. A few years back, we reported on Manual co-PI Barry Hammel's rediscovery of Drymonia peltata (Oliv.) H. E. Moore [see The Cutting Edge 6(2): 2, Apr. 1999], a mystery plant long known only by the original collection, made in the 19th century. Barry found it on Fila Chonta, on the Pacific slope above Quepos. Now Francisco Morales has encountered a second population in the same general region, on Fila Mona, in the Río Savegre basin, between Quepos and Cerro de La Muerte, at ca. 1500 m elevation. At the same site, he collected what monographer Henk van der Werff (MO) assures us (from a scanned image) must be yet another new sp. of Pleurothyrium (Lauraceae). Somewhat lower down (at ca. 1000 m), two significant in-country disjunctions were vouchered: Anthodiscus chocoensis Prance (Caryocaraceae) and Parkia pendula (Willd.) Benth. ex Walp. (Fabaceae/Mimosoideae), both further north from their previously recorded ranges in the Golfo Dulce region, and at considerably higher elevations.
HALORAGACEAE. Jorge Gómez-Laurito (USJ) reports that he has collected a sp. of Myriophyllum, probably M. aquaticum (Vell.) Verdc., from a pond near El Empalme, along the route to Cerro de La Muerte on the Cartago side. Although we have long harbored a vague notion that this genus was known from Costa Rica, we now find ourselves unable to substantiate this from actual records. The Flora de Nicaragua reports M. aquaticum from the Nicaraguan side of the Río San Juan (meaning that it would be included in the Manual on technical grounds), but that is as close as we've come. With Gunnera banished to its own family, this may constitute a family record as well.
LAURACEAE. [See under Gesneriaceae, this section.]
MELASTOMATACEAE. An enigmatic Miconia sp. from the Estación Biológica La Selva and vicinity (Hammel 17439) has been abruptly identified by Manual contributor Frank Almeda (CAS), who was on the verge of describing it as new. On a hunch, Frank borrowed the Ecuadorean type (and only previously known collection) of Miconia sparrei Wurdack, and paydirt was struck. Condolences to the people of Ecuador for the loss of their endemic sp. Our material had been going under the name Miconia aff. calvescens DC., or M. aff. paleacea Cogn.
ORCHIDACEAE. Manual contributor John Atwood (SEL) took the time to rehydrate a flower on a puzzling specimen from Estación Maritza, on the Pacific slope of Volcán Cacao (Cordillera de Guanacaste), revealing a new country record. John had originally determined the collection (II INBio 84) as "Maxillaria cucullata Lindl. vel aff.," and so it would have remained, probably for many years to come, had not he gone the extra yard. But now Costa Rica can lay claim to a former Nicaraguan endemic, Maxillaria mombachoensis A. H. Heller ex J. T. Atwood, "one of the most spectacular members of the M. cucullata complex." The Costa Rican sp.-total for Maxillaria, the third largest orchid genus in the country, now stands at 107.
PIPERACEAE. Vindicated yet again is Flora costaricensis helmsman William Burger, whose hypothetical inclusion of Peperomia petrophila C. DC. (Fieldiana, Bot. 35: 61. 1971) can now be justified with the first Costa Rican collection of said sp., by Alexander ('Popeye') Rodríguez, from the limestone flanks of Cerro Caraigres. In 1971, P. petrophila was unknown between Honduras and Colombia, but has since turned up in both Nicaragua and Panama. With Popeye's discovery, the gap is filled completely.
PODOSTEMACEAE. A previous Cutting Edge [4(4): 5–6, Oct. 1997] reviewed a paper by Novelo & Philbrick (Taxon 46: 451–455. 1997) that addressed an overlooked A. R. Endres collection of a Podostemum sp. from Costa Rica. The authors then believed that this material might belong to an undescribed sp. Now, Manual aquatic plants contributor Garrett Crow (NHA) reports that C. Thomas Philbrick (WCSU) has confirmed that the Endres collection does after all represent Podostemum ricciiforme (Liebm.) P. Royen, to which it had been assigned by van Royen (Acta Bot. Neerl. 3: 215–263. 1954). This reassessment is apparently based on Philbrick's examination of specimens that van Royen had at his institution. Podostemum is a genus not otherwise known from Costa Rica, and P. ricciiforme is a rare sp. hitherto regarded (except by van Royen!) as endemic to Mexico. Unfortunately, the label of the Endres collection reveals no locality data beyond the country.
VISCACEAE. Phoradendron nervosum Oliv., a wide-ranging sp. that has been collected in countries both to the north and south of Costa Rica, can finally be reported from Tiquicia. According to Francisco Morales (INB), P. nervosum occurs in dry or seasonally dry forests from 0–800 m elevation, in the Guanacaste region (Bagaces) and on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Tilarán (Haber et al. 10838; INB, MO).