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The Cutting Edge
Volume XI, Number 2, April 2004
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ARALIACEAE. J. F. Morales (INB), M. J. Cannon & J. F. M.
Cannon. This constitutes an extensive revision by Francisco Morales
of the original draft [see
The Cutting Edge 3(3): 2, Jul. 1996] submitted by the husband/wife team of
Margaret J. Cannon (deceased) and John F. M. Cannon (formerly of BM,
but now retired). The Cannonís were engaged to produce a Manual treatment for
this family on the strength of their prior completion of a Flora mesoamericana
account. However (as stated in a letter to us dated 16 January 1996), they had by
that time already returned their borrowed specimens, so that "the full range
of Costa Rican material was not available"; furthermore, their acknowledged
"lack of first-hand experience of the country and the flora" put them at
a distinct disadvantage, particularly in formulating "statements involving
the distribution and ecology." With his profound knowledge of the country and
access to hundreds of collections not seen by the Cannonís, Chico infuses new life
into this project. Five genera with a total of 44 spp. are now formally treated,
up from four genera and 36 spp.; the added genus is Tetrapanax, with only
the cultivated T. papyrifer (Hook.) K. Koch, of Chinese origin.
Dendropanax, with 16 Costa Rican spp., becomes the most diverse genus of
Araliaceae in the country, surging ahead of Oreopanax
(15 spp.) and
Schefflera (11 spp.); in the original draft, both of the latter genera
(with 14 and 11 spp., respectively) bested Dendropanax (10 spp.) in this
regard. Rounding out the list (in both versions) is the monotypic
Sciadodendron. Six spp. (four in Dendropanax and two in
Oreopanax) are given provisional ("ined.") names, and at least
10 spp. are ostensible Costa Rican endemics; in the latter category are all save
one of the "ined." spp., plus Dendropanax ravenii M. J. Cannon
& Cannon, Oreopanax anomalus M. J. Cannon & Cannon, O. oligocarpus
Donn. Sm., Schefflera cartagoensis M. J. Cannon & Cannon and S.
instita M. J. Cannon & Cannon. No taxa are included hypothetically, and
none (apart from Tetrapanax) exclusively on the basis of cultivated plants.
Because the original draft of this treatment neglected to cite vouchers, it is
occasionally difficult to compare the usage of names in the two versions. Three
names used for accepted spp. in the first draft have been explicitly synonymized
in the second: Oreopanax superoerstedianus M. J. Cannon & Cannon (under
O. standleyi A. C. Sm.), O. vestitus A. C. Sm. (under O.
oerstedianus Marchal) and Schefflera pubens M. J. Cannon & Cannon
[under S. systyla (Donn. Sm.) R. Vig.]. Three additional names employed
by the Cannonís are abandoned by Chico as apparently having been misapplied to
Costa Rican material: Dendropanax oliganthus (A. C. Sm.) A. C. Sm. [to
D. gonatopodus (Donn. Sm.) A. C. Sm.]; Oreopanax nicaraguensis M.
J. Cannon & Cannon (to one of the provisionally named spp.); and O.
obtusifolius L. O. Williams (mainly to O. nubigenus Standl.). On
the other hand, Chico has resurrected Dendropanax stenodontus (Standl.)
A. C. Sm. [see
The Cutting Edge 10(2): 4, Apr. 2003], cited by the Cannonís in synonymy under
D. arboreus (L.) Decne. & Planch., as well as Oreopanax oligocarpus,
tacitly (on the basis of specimen determinations) considered a synonym of O.
capitatus (Jacq.) Decne. & Planch. by the Cannonís. Finally, the new revision
boasts four outright additions to the flora, comprising two spp. of Dendropanax
(see our last issue, under "Leaps and Bounds"), plus Oreopanax
echinops (Cham. & Schltdl.) Decne. & Planch. [see
The Cutting Edge 5(2): 1, Apr. 1998] and Schefflera albocapitata M. J.
Cannon & Cannon [see
The Cutting Edge 10(2): 4, Apr. 2003].
ERICACEAE. J. L. Luteyn (NY), R. L. Wilbur (DUKE) & J. F.
Morales (INB). This is another wholesale extensive revision of a previous
The Cutting Edge 8(3): 3, Jul. 2001], one of the products of the first authorís
recent extended residence at MO (see under "News and Notes" in our last
issue). The manuscript is now almost perfectly adapted to our Manual format. We
detect just two significant changes in the taxonomic content: Disterigma
trimerum Wilbur & Luteyn has now been added, as well as Vaccinium
floccosum (L. O. Williams) Wilbur & Luteyn (see under "Leaps and
Bounds," this issue). Moreover, the monotypic genus Utleya is affirmed
as endemic to Costa Rica, and we now count 22 spp. that are explicitly indicated
MAGNOLIACEAE. J. González (INB). Just three spp. of this archaic
family of trees are attributed to Costa Rica: Magnolia poasana (Pittier)
Dandy, M. sororum Seibert, and Talauma gloriensis Pittier. Although
none is endemic, all are shared only with Panama. The two Magnolia spp.
are montane (above 1300 m), but Talauma descends to near sea level. Two
recently described taxa have been overlooked [see The Cutting Edge 1(3): 8, Jul.
1994]: Magnolia sororum subsp. lutea A. Vázquez, which is
endemic to Costa Rica (the autonymic subsp. apparently being confined to Panama),
and Magnolia panamensis A. Vázquez & H. H. Iltis, which should
arguably receive formal treatment, since it has been collected "on the Costa
Rican-Panamanian border" (in the vicinity of Cerro Echandi). Moreover, some
workers (your editors included) believe that there are in fact two spp. of
Talauma in Costa Rica. No cultivated taxa are mentioned, although
Magnolia grandiflora L. is sometimes planted for ornament, e.g., in the
Valle Central. While the traditional Magnolia/Talauma separation is
grudgingly maintained, the author cites an anomalous collection from near
ChitarŪa (at the north edge of the Cordillera de Talamanca) that appears to
combine some diagnostic characters of the two genera (stipules adnate to the
petioles, as Talauma, but distinct, longitudinally dehiscent follicles,
as Magnolia), blurring the distinction. We expect that plans are
underway to track down additional material of this intriguing, unknown taxon.
SYMPLOCACEAE. Ricardo Kriebel (INB) & Frank Almeda (CAS).
Symplocos, the only genus in the family, is represented in Costa Rica
by a dozen spp., of which two are provisionally named ("ined.").
Five spp. are endemic to the country, including both provisional entities, as
well as Symplocos naniflora L. M. Kelly & Almeda, S. oreophila
Almeda and S. povedae Almeda. Most of the others are restricted to
southern Central America. No hypotheticals or cultivated spp. are included.