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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

Main | Family List (MO) | Family List (INBio) | Cutting Edge
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The Cutting Edge

Volume XIII, Number 2, April 2006

News and Notes | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature | Season's Pick

Arbo, M. M.  2005. Estudios sistemáticos en Turnera (Turneraceae).   III.   Series Anomalae y Turnera.  Bonplandia (Corrientes) 14: 115–318.

Turnera is a genus of approximately 122 spp., of which two are African and all the rest neotropical.  This is the third installment in the author’s definitive revision of the genus, the first since 1883.  Nine series are recognized for Turnera, of which six were dispatched in the first two installments [see The Cutting Edge 8(1): 3, Jan. 2001] and two here, leaving just one (ser. Leiocarpae Urb.) to be revised.  The two series treated in the present contribution, characterized by floral nectar pockets, comprise 41 spp.:  14 in Turnera ser. Anomalae Urb., endemic to South America (mainly Brazil), and 27 in ser. Turnera.  The last-mentioned taxon is newly subdivided in two subseries:  subser. Umbilicatae Arbo, with eight spp. endemic to Brazil, and the widespread subser. Turnera, with 19 spp. (including the two African members of the genus).  Just two spp. in this group are represented in Costa Rica:  Turnera scabra Millsp. and T. ulmifolia L. (var. ulmifolia).  Accordingly, this is business as usual for us.  Includes full synonymy and typology and generous descriptions at all levels, a key (dichotomous and indented) to the series and subseries featured in this installment, plus separate sp. keys for each, distribution and phenology summaries, observations, specimen citations (representative or comprehensive), distribution maps, and indices to exsiccatae and common and scientific names.  Illustrated with excellent composite line drawings of most spp. and vars.  The introduction discusses important aspects of morphology, floral biology, cytology, phylogeny, and distribution.  Ten new spp. and two new vars. are described, none germane to Costa Rica.

Arias, S., T. Terrazas, H. J. Arreola-Nava, M. Vázquez-Sánchez & K. M. Cameron.  2005. Phylogenetic relationships in Peniocereus (Cactaceae) inferred from plastid DNA sequence data.  J. Pl. Res. 118: 317–328.

These analyses, utilizing 17 spp. of Peniocereus and a phenomenal 82 outgroup taxa, reveal the study genus to be rather seriously polyphyletic.  The only Costa Rican representative, Peniocereus hirschtianus (K. Schum.) D. R. Hunt, is distantly removed from the generic type and loosely associated with a group of spp. (subgen. Pseudoacanthocereus Sánchez-Mej.) nested in Acanthocereus.  Although the authors do not seem particularly interested in classification, it would seem that at least some Peniocereus spp. in this group might ultimately have to be transferred to Acanthocereus (and P. hirschtianus is as good a candidate as any).

Baudoin, J.-P., O. Rocha, J. Degreef, A. Maquet & L. Guarino.  2004. Ecogeography, demography, diversity and conservation of Phaseolus lunatus L. in the Central Valley of Costa Rica.  Syst. Ecogeogr. Stud. Crop Genepools 12, Int. Pl. Genet. Resources Inst., Rome.  84 pp.

As the title indicates, this work deals mainly with ecology and conservation of native populations of Phaseolus lunatus (the Lima bean), and is largely divorced from taxonomic concerns.  Nonetheless, it presents a good deal of raw information of interest to us, particularly with respect to distribution and phenology.  Also noteworthy is Chapter 3, succinctly reviewing the geography, geology, history, pedology, and climatology of the Valle Central.

Berg, C. C., P. Franco Roselli & D. W. Davidson.  2005. Cecropia.  Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 94: 1–230.

Cecropia (here maintained in Cecropiaceae) comprises 61 mostly distinctive and conspicuous pioneer tree spp. distributed throughout the Neotropics (though centered in the Andean region).  Five spp. are attributed to Costa Rica, as per William Burger’s Flora costaricensis treatment of the genus (Fieldiana, Bot. 40: 122–128; under Moraceae), with just one significant difference:  the name Cecropia polyphlebia Donn. Sm., applied by Burger to a montane sp. of Costa Rica and Panama, is here synonymized under C. angustifolia Trécul, reconceived as a "highly variable" entity ranging from southern Mexico to Bolivia and Venezuela.  Cecropia pittieri B. L. Rob., of Isla del Coco, remains the only Costa Rican endemic in this genus.  Remarkably, seven additional Cecropia spp. occur in Panama, one of which, C. heterochroma C. C. Berg & P. Franco, extends to Prov. Bocas del Toro and might reasonably be expected to turn up in adjacent Costa Rica.  Includes complete synonymy and typology, a brief genus description, 10 partial keys to spp. (mostly according to geographic regions), detailed sp. descriptions, distribution summaries, specimen citations (sometimes representative), discussions of varying length, distribution maps, sections on excluded and dubious names, and indices to exsiccatae, scientific names, and common names.  Many spp. are illustrated with at least one composite line drawing.  The introductory part, also well-illustrated, addresses taxonomic history, morphology and anatomy, phenology, pollination and dispersal, animal interactions (with a separate chapter by Davidson on ants), distribution, relationships, and uses.  One new combination is validated (not relevant to Costa Rica).

Butterworth, C. A. & R. S. Wallace.  2005. Molecular phylogenetics of the leafy cactus genus Pereskia (Cactaceae).  Syst. Bot. 30: 800–808.

These analyses portray Pereskia as paraphyletic (with respect to two genera of subfam. Cactoideae), loosely corroborating the results of a very recent and partly overlapping study [see The Cutting Edge 12(4): 4–5, Oct. 2005] and supporting the authors’ notion of Pereskia as "a grade of ‘basal’ taxa," rather than a monophyletic clade.  As in the previous study, the only sp. indigenous to Costa Rica, Pereskia lychnidiflora DC., is remote from the generic type (P. aculeata Mill.) and thus unlikely to remain in Pereskia should the genus be broken up.

Christenson, E. A.  2006. Brevilongium, un nouveau genre néotropical (Orchidaceae: Oncidiinae).  Richardiana 6: 45–49.

Oncidium sect. Serpentia (Kraenzl.) Garay, with only O. globuliferum Kunth in Costa Rica, was transferred to Otoglossum by Williams et al. in 2001 on the basis of molecular and cladistic analyses [see The Cutting Edge 8(4): 7, Oct. 2001).  Still, O. globuliferum was retained in Oncidium in the Manual, for pragmatic reasons, and perhaps it’s just as well.  The present author pronounces the inclusion of sect. Serpentia in Otoglossum as unsatisfactory on morphological grounds, citing the virtually unique, dimorphic inflorescences of the former taxon as particularly discordant.  On this basis, he exercises a third option:  separate generic status for sect. Serpentia, under the new name Brevilongium Christenson (alluding to the short fertile inflorescences and longer sterile ones).  To judge from the original analyses, Christenson’s stratagem appears perfectly tenable on cladistic grounds (based on the limited sample size), and was implied as an alternative by Williams et al.  Eight new combinations at sp. rank are validated, but only Brevilongium globuliferum (Kunth) Christenson concerns us.

Chung, K.-F., C.-I Peng, S. R. Downie, K. Spalik & B. A. Schaal.  2005. Molecular systematics of the trans-Pacific alpine genus Oreomyrrhis (Apiaceae):   phylogenetic affinities and biogeographic implications.  Amer. J. Bot. 92: 2054–2071.

Oreomyrrhis comprises ca. 25 spp. distributed "around the southern Pacific rim," including one that reaches Costa Rica.  Although it is weakly supported as monophyletic by these analyses, Oreomyrrhis appears nested within the otherwise north-temperate Chaerophyllum, a genus of ca. 30 spp.  The authors note that "preservation of the generic status of Oreomyrrhis would simultaneously mandate the erection of four small genera [from within Chaerophyllum s. str.], leaving Chaerophyllum a monotypic genus."  We sense that they lean toward the lumping option; however, formal nomenclatural changes are postponed pending "further study by employing additional molecular markers of chloroplast genome."

Clark, J. L.  2005. A monograph of Alloplectus (Gesneriaceae).  Selbyana 25: 182–209.

This is not at all what we expected.  Alloplectus, as we have come to know it, is a difficult genus of perhaps 40 spp., with seven mostly similar spp. occurring in Costa Rica.  However, "recent phylogenetic analyses of molecular and morphological data" by the author (as yet unpublished) have shown traditional Alloplectus to be polyphyletic (we knew it all along!), prompting a redistribution of its spp. among several different genera.  Alloplectus s. str. is reduced to just five spp., "united by the following unambiguous morphological synapomorphies:  indistinguishable dry secondary leaf venation, glabrous internal corolla surface, and corollas constricted apically."  Furthermore, all are epiphytic and have non-resupinate flowers.  So delimited, Alloplectus is principally an Andean genus, with just one sp. reaching Costa Rica:  A. weirii (Kuntze) Wiehler, until recently known to us by the unpublished name "Alloplectus trichocalyx Wiehler" [see The Cutting Edge 11(1): 2, Jan. 2004].  Features synonymy and typology at all levels, a genus description and detailed sp. descriptions, a key to spp., distribution and phenology summaries, representative specimen citations, discussions, range maps, an index to exsiccatae (as a table rather than an appendix), and an account ("nomenclator") of "excluded or uncertain species."  This last feature is critical, as a great many names have been proposed in Alloplectus.  Also, this is where the future disposition of all the spp. here removed from Alloplectus is revealed, and the necessary new combinations validated.  It turns out that the majority of spp. formerly comprising Alloplectus s. l. will be accommodated in the resurrected genus Glossoloma Hanst. (soon to be revised by the author), which differs from Alloplectus s. str. in its generally terrestrial habit (at least in Costa Rica) and resupinate flowers.  In Costa Rica, these sp. are:  Glossoloma ichthyoderma (Hanst.) J. L. Clark, G. medusaeum (L. E. Skog) J. L. Clark, G. panamense (C. V. Morton) J. L. Clark, G. pycnosuzygium (Donn. Sm.) J. L. Clark, and G. tetragonum Hanst.  The remaining Costa Rican representative of Alloplectus s. l. becomes Drymonia ambonensis (L. E. Skog) J. L. Clark.  The introduction presents a tabular comparison of Alloplectus with four related genera, plus several alternative cladograms.

Correa A., M. D. & T. R. S. Silva.  2005. Drosera (Droseraceae).  Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 96: 1–66.

Drosera is the only member of Droseraceae occurring in the Neotropics, where it is represented by 20 spp.  These all receive the deluxe treatment in this contribution, in which the neotropical spp. are apportioned among three sections.  A single collection of the wide-ranging Drosera capillaris Poir., obtained in the Coto Brus region just 10 years ago by Luis Diego Gómez [see The Cutting Edge 7(2): 7, Apr. 2000], is the only Costa Rican record for the genus.  Features full synonymy, typology, and descriptions at all levels, a combined key to sections and spp., and (for each sp.) a summary of distribution and phenology, specimen citations (sometimes representative), and a discussion.  At the end are a section on excluded and dubious names and indices to exsiccatae, common names, and scientific names.  Distribution maps are provided, and all spp. are illustrated with composite line drawings.   The abundantly illustrated introductory parts address a wide variety of topics including taxonomic history, morphology (with many SEM micrographs), cytology , palynology, phytochemistry, infrageneric relationships, distribution, floral biology, conservation, and uses.  There are no taxonomic novelties.  In Spanish (with English abstract).

Dressler, R. L.  2005. How many orchid species?  Selbyana 26: 155–158.

This is an informal and interesting read, but we’ll get right to the point:  the current estimate is 24,500 spp. of Orchidaceae on the planet, vs. 19,000 according to a 1986 estimate.  This ca. 20% increases is corroborated by various recent regional checklists, and the author does "not expect new species to stop appearing this year, or even this decade."  He also believes that Panama will eventually prove to have more orchid spp. than Costa Rica (heresy!).

-- & F. Pupulin.  2005. Some problems in Trichopilia (Orchidaceae: Oncidiinae) with two new species of modest flower size.  Harvard Pap. Bot. 10: 89–93.

The two new spp. are both probably Costa Rican in origin, although each is described on the basis of a single, potted plant, of questionable or unknown provenance, cultivated at the Jardín Botánico Lankester.  Both Trichopilia endresiana Dressler & Pupulin sp. nov. and T. tubella Dressler sp. nov. are most similar to T. turialvae Rchb. f., from which they are distinguished by various floral details.  The first-named sp. is dedicated to A. R. Endres, because its column is "effectively...quite like" that of a plant drawn (in 1879) and collected, from an unknown locality, by said individual.  The provenance of the Lankester plant, from which the type was prepared, is likewise unknown.  However, the plant yielding the type of Trichopila tubella is believed (on the basis of fourth-hand information!) to have originated from near La Suiza de Turrialba.  The value of horticultural collections is so often compromised by the failure of horticulturists and horticultural institutions to maintain reliable, vouchered locality data for their specimens.  Illustrated with the ever-wonderful composite line drawings of the second author.

Accepting these Trichopilia spp. as bona fide members of the Costa Rican flora, and adding the new spp. of Dichaea, Microchilus, and Polycycnis also reported in this issue (see under Gerlach, Ormerod, and Pupulin, this column), our infamous running total jumps to 226.

Faria, A. P. G. de, T. Wendt & G. K. Brown.  2004. Insights on the phylogenetic relationships of Aechmea and related genera in subfamily Bromelioideae.  J. Bromeliad Soc. 54: 147–152.

This is an attempt popularize (as if such a thing were possible) the authors’ technical paper on the same topic [see The Cutting Edge 11(4): 6, Oct. 2004], with some neat color graphics thrown in.

Ferrufino Acosta, L. & J. Gómez-Laurito.  2004. Estudio morfológico de Smilax L. (Smilacaceae) en Costa Rica, con implicaciones sistemáticas.  Lankesteriana 4: 5–36.

Somehow we skipped most of the articles in this issue of Lankesteriana, though we did, mysteriously, happen to review one [see The Cutting Edge 11(3): 8–9, 2004].  Despite its title, this careful study amounts to a full-scale taxonomic revision of the genus Smilax for Costa Rica.  We were vaguely aware of this work, which was undertaken almost simultaneously with Francisco Morales’s preparation of the Manual Smilacaceae treatment, and published just a few months after the latter (which is not cited).   The two accounts differ substantially:  whereas Chico recognized 12 Smilax spp. for Costa Rica, these authors accept just seven.  ost to us are Smilax angustiflora A. DC. and S. candelariae A. DC. (both to the synonymy of S. mollis Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.); S. kunthii Killip & C. V. Morton (now a synonym of S. domingensis Willd.); and S. luculenta Killip & C. V. Morton (to synonymy under S. spinosa Mill.).  To Chico’s credit, all of these synonymies save the last were anticipated in his discussions, and he even sought to scuttle S. angustiflora late (too) in the publication game.   Also missing in action is Smilax aristolochiifolia Mill., which was attributed to Costa Rica by Chico on the basis of a single collection (J. F. Morales 4350), apparently not cited here (though the absence of an index to exsiccatae frustrates our search); however, we find that specimen determined by the first author as S. vanilliodora F. W. Apt in TROPICOS.

Features three keys to species (vegetative, with flowers, with fruits), synonymy and typology, moderately detailed descriptions, distribution summaries, enumerations of common names and uses, lengthy discussions, comprehensive exsiccatae citations (for all of Mesoamerica!), basic distribution maps, a section on excluded taxa, and decent composite line drawings of each sp.  The opening pages address taxonomic history and various morphological features, with SEM micrographs of pollen.  There are no new taxa.

Gerlach, G.  2004. Stanhopeinae mesoamericanae II (Orchidaceae).   Dos especies nuevas:  Polycycnis blancoi y Coryanthes maduroana.  Lankesteriana 4: 67–73.

Polycycnis blancoi G. Gerlach honors our friend Mario Blanco (FLAS), who collected the only known specimen at ca. 1000 m elevation in the Pacific Fila Costeña, near Tinamastes.  Mario’s collection was apparently sterile, but later flowered in a German greenhouse.  The new sp., illustrated with a composite line drawing and two color photos of the live plant, is compared with three spp. not occurring in Costa Rica.  All 17 Polycycnis spp. recognized by the author are enumerated, with geographic distributions indicated, and assigned to one of two subgenera.  We note that, of the three Polycycnis names used for accepted spp. in the Manual, P. muscifera (Lindl.) Rchb. f. is here not attributed to Costa Rica, while P. gratiosa Endres & Rchb. f. is relegated to synonymy under P. lepida Linden & Rchb. f.; only P. barbata (Lindl.) Rchb. f. remains unimpacted.  The new Coryanthes is Panamanian.

Homeier, J.  2004. Baumdiversität, Waldstruktur und Wachstumsdynamik zweier tropischer Bergregenwälder in Ecuador und Costa Rica.  Diss. Bot. 391: 1–207.

Forest structure and diversity and growth of tree spp. were compared for two neotropical forests:  the Reserva San Francisco, at 1850–2450 m elevation in Prov. Zamora-Chinchipe, Ecuador (on the Amazonian slope); and the Reserva Biológica Alberto Brenes, at 850–1210 m, in the Cordillera de Tilarán of Costa Rica.  The Ecuadorean site yielded 230 spp. of trees representing 65 families (in 15 permanent plots), the Costa Rican site just 147 spp. in 55 families (in 13 permanent plots).  Not surprisingly, the most diverse families were the same at each site:  Lauraceae, Rubiaceae, and Melastomataceae (in that order for Ecuador, but with Rubiaceae first for Costa Rica).  Ocotea and Miconia were among the most diverse genera at each site, joined by Weinmannia (Ecuador) or Inga (Costa Rica).  An appendix enumerates the tree spp. (DBH >5 cm) recorded from each reserve.  In German (with English summary).

Klitgaard, B. B.  2005. Platymiscium (Leguminosae: Dalbergieae):  biogeography, systematics, morphology, taxonomy and uses.  Kew Bull. 60: 321–400.

The endemic neotropical Platymiscium, with 19 spp. here recognized, is highly distinctive by virtue of its opposite leaves with interpetiolar stipules in conjunction with its yellow petals.  The genus includes important hardwood timber spp., generally known as cristóbal in Costa Rica, from which four taxa are recorded:  Platymiscium pinnatum (Jacq.) Dugand subsp. polystachyum (Benth.) Klitg.; the endemic P. curuense N. Zamora & Klitg.; P. parviflorum Benth. (including P. pleiostachyum Donn. Sm.); and P. dimorphandrum Donn. Sm.  The last-mentioned sp. was first reported from Costa Rica as Platymiscium yucatanum Standl. [see The Cutting Edge 3(2): 5, Apr. 1996], a closely related sp. of northern Mesoamerica.  This painstakingly executed contribution includes synonymy, typology, and detailed descriptions at all levels, comprehensive and regional keys (non-indented) to spp., keys to infraspecific taxa, distribution and phenology summaries, selected specimen citations, assessments of conservation status, discussions, distribution maps, ample composite line drawings depicting most taxa, a section on doubtful and excluded names, and indices to scientific names and exsiccatae.  The opening part, richly illustrated with vivid color photos of living material, features accounts of taxonomic history, morphology, phenology, myrmecophily, chromosomes, and biogeography and phylogeny.  One new sp. is described (from Mexico).

Kriebel, R., F. Almeda & A. Estrada.  2005. Two new species of Melastomataceae from southern Mesoamerica.  Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. ser. 4, 56: 675–683.

Blakea venusta Kriebel, Almeda & A. Estrada is endemic to Costa Rica, where it is known only from 1300–1750 m elevation on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca.  A short key is provided to separate it from B. foliacea Gleason and B. guatemalensis Donn. Sm., to both of which it bears a general resemblance.  Miconia dissitinervia Kriebel, Almeda & A. Estrada is also restricted in Costa Rica to the Pacific slope, at 0­–600 m elevation from the slopes of Cerro Turrubares to the Península de Burica (where it squeaks into Panama).  Although it has been confused with the superficially similar Miconia argentea (Sw.) DC., M. dissitinervia instead belongs to a group of spp. characterized by a fused calyx that ruptures at anthesis.  The 11 Mesoamerican spp. of this group are distinguished in a dichotomous key.  Illustrated with photos from living material, as well as excellent composite line drawings by INBio’s Claudia Aragón and Silvia Troyo.

Lentz, D. L. & R. Dickau.  2005. Seeds of Central America and southern Mexico:  the economic species.  Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 91: 1–296.

This is a compendium of black-and-white photos of the seeds of 503 gymnosperm and angiosperm spp. "of most common interest" occurring in the region specified by the title.  Generally, just one sp. per genus is featured; moreover, spp. not of New World origin are mostly excluded, as are spp. that range into North America (where they may have been treated in other works).  Each sp. entry—there are two per page—comprises a single photo, with adjacent text providing the family name, common names, geographic range, habitat and growth habit, economic uses, and a seed description.  The sp. entries are ordered phylogenetically (beginning with Zamiaceae, ending with Asteraceae), but there is a combined index to scientific and common names at the end (following a handy glossary).  This work is more of an encyclopedic reference than an identification guide, as there are no keys or other identification aids.  The nomenclature appears reasonably up-to-date.  Vouchers are not provided.

Lobo C., S.  2004. Tipos de orquidáceas brenesianas, descritas por R. Schlechter, en el Herbario Nacional de Costa Rica.  Lankesteriana 4: 37–45.

The author reports on the discovery, in CR, of six previously unannotated and unreported isolectotypes and one isoneotype of Orchidaceae described by the late Rudolf Schlechter (many of whose holotypes were destroyed during war action in Berlin).  The condition of each specimen is evaluated, and each is illustrated with a (mostly) full-page, black-and-white photo.

Lohmann, L. G.  2006. Untangling the phylogeny of neotropical lianas (Bignonieae, Bignoniaceae).  Amer. J. Bot. 93: 304–318.

Bignoniaceae tribe Bignonieae, widespread in tropical and subtropical reagions of the New World, apparently harbors all the lianescent members of the family in this region (we hadn’t realized this was a natural group), as well as a few shrubby spp.  However, many of its genera are small (30 of 47 have fewer than four spp.) and weakly characterized.  This analysis of both chloroplast and nuclear DNA sequences by long-time MO associate Lucía G. Lohmann (SPF) succeeds in identifying 21 strongly supported sp. groups, or clades, within tribe Bignonieae, each "distinguished by one or more putative morphological synapomorphies."  The author is "confident of this framework," to the extent of asserting that "the remaining Bignonieae species [i.e., those not included in the study] can be assigned without difficulty to one of the 21 species groups" solely on the basis of morphology.  In fact, the phylogenetic framework here elucidated "is the basis of a new classification scheme [in press by the author] in which each of the 21 species groups is formally recognized at the generic level."  We eagerly await that definitive publication, but in the meantime will have to settle for a few meager gleanings.  Six traditional genera are here anointed as monophyletic:  Anemopaegma, Lundia, Martinella, Pleonotoma, Stizophyllum, and TynanthusMansoa and Pyrostegia (the latter cultivated in Costa Rica) are nearly so, with minor exceptions; most notably, Mansoa kerere (Aubl.) A. H. Gentry (which occurs in Costa Rica) pairs with the monotypic, Amazonian Leucocalantha, in which it will presumably be subsumed.  Other oligotypic genera appear to be monophyletic in the cladograms but are not mentioned in that context (e.g., Amphilophium, Clytostoma, Distictella, and Mussatia), presumably because they will be combined with other elements in the final classification.  The major genera Adenocalymma and Arrabidaea are both polyphyletic, though a large chunk of the latter (including the generic type) will evidently survive the holocaust.  We’ll resist the temptation for further speculation at this time.  Incidentally, why is it that we are able to count only 20 sp.-groups in Fig. 6?

Michelangeli, F. A.  2005. Tococa (Melastomataceae).  Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 98: 1–114.

Tococa, well-known for its leaves with ant domatia (in about 2/3 of the spp.), is widely distributed throughout the Neotropics, being absent only from the Antilles.  Forty-five spp. are here recognized, though two others, known only by their types, are appended under the heading "Poorly Known Taxa."  According to the author’s own morphological cladistic analysis (presented here), Tococa is not monophyletic; rather, 11 of its spp. are nested in the huge genus Miconia [see also The Cutting Edge 11(4): 10, Oct. 2004].  Pending additional studies, no transfers to Miconia are ventured; however, the 11 spp. in question are treated separately as "Incertae Sedis. "  Having said all of that, there are no notable changes here for the small Costa Rican contingent of Tococa s. l., comprising just two spp.:  Tococa guianensis Aubl. and T. platyphylla Benth.  The latter is one of the "incertae sedis" spp., and has the name Miconia platyphylla (Benth.) L. O. Williams already available.  Features complete synonymy and typology, detailed descriptions at all levels, an artificial key to all 45 spp., distribution summaries, representative specimen citations, discussions, distribution maps, a section on excluded and invalid taxa, and indices to exsiccatae, common names, and scientific names.  Selected spp. are illustrated with line drawings.  The well-illustrated preliminary section includes discussions of taxonomic history, morphology, chromosome numbers, phytochemistry, relationships, distribution, ecology, and ethnobotany.  One nomen novum is validated.

Morales, J. F.  2004. Sinopsis del género Gibsoniothamnus (Schlegeliaceae) en Costa Rica, con una nueva especie.  Lankesteriana 4: 1–4.

This is essentially a somewhat glorified version of Chico’s draft Manual treatment of Gibsoniothamnus [see The Cutting Edge 10(2): 3, Apr. 2003], with the validation of one of the two spp. then believed to be undescribed [the other turned out to be G. allenii A. H. Gentry; see The Cutting Edge 11(1): 2, Jan. 2004].  Gibsoniothamnus ficticius J. F. Morales sp. nov. (not the original choice of name) is known by a single collection from ca. 1200 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca (Fila Matama).  It is most similar to the Panamanian G. mirificus A. H. Gentry, from which it differs in several floral and inflorescence details.  Includes a dichotomous key to all six Gibsoniothamnus spp. in Costa Rica, distribution summaries and brief discussions for each, and representative specimen citations for...well, two.  The new sp. is depicted in a line drawing.

-- . 2005. Estudios en las Apocynaceae neotropicales XIX:  monografía del género Peltastes (Apocynoideae, Echiteae), con una sinopsis de Stipecoma (Apocynoideae, Echiteae).  Candollea 60: 289–334.

Of the two genera mentioned in the title, only Peltastes interests us, the monospecific Stipecoma being restricted to South America.  Peltastes is itself principally South American, with just one of its 10 spp., P. isthmicus Woodson, extending into Mesoamerica as far as Costa Rica.  Thus there is nothing terribly new here for us.  Features full synonymy and typology at all levels, dichotomous (but non-indented) keys to genera and spp., detailed genus and sp. descriptions, distribution summaries, discussions, comprehensive specimen citations, and indices to scientific names and exsiccatae.  The brief introductory section addresses taxonomic history and important morphological features.  Each sp. is illustrated with a composite line drawing, and several are also depicted in black-and-white photos of living material.   Three new spp. and one new combination are validated for South American taxa.  N.B.:  surely the Roman numeral in the title be XXI!

-- . & M. Méndez G.  2005. Estudios en las Apocynaceae neotropicales XXII:  nuevos realineamientos taxonómicos en el género Stemmadenia (Apocynaceae, Rauvolfioideae, Tabernaemontaneae).  Candollea 60: 345–371.

This synopsis of the largely Mesoamerican Stemmadenia recognizes a total of 16 spp., compared with just 10 accepted in a 1994 monograph [see The Cutting Edge 1(4): 7–8, Oct. 1994].  Costa Rica qualifies as the center of diversity for the genus, boasting nine spp., including one of two that are here described as new:  Stemmadenia hannae M. Méndez & J. F. Morales, known from widely disjunct populations in Chiapas and the Península de Nicoya.  Though quite similar to the recently described Costa Rican endemic Stemmadenia abbreviata J. F. Morales, S. hannae differs in numerous floral details as well as habitat (the former sp. being restricted to very wet forests on the Atlantic slope).  Also of relevance to us:  the names Stemmadenia greenmanii Woodson and S. macrophylla Greenm., both frequently applied to Costa Rican collections, are here relegated to synonymy under S. litoralis (Kunth) L. Allorge; and the illegitimate Stemmadenia obovata K. Schum. is officially replaced by S. pubescens Benth., as already effected in a previous paper by the first author, presumably intended to be published later [see The Cutting Edge 13(1): 9–10, Jan. 2006].  This paper boasts many of the features described for the preceding entry, except that descriptions and specimen citations are omitted for most spp. (and there are no indices).  Most of the spp. are illustrated with black-and-white photos, usually of living material.

Murillo A., J.  2005. Revisión sistemática de la subtribu Conceveibinae (Euphorbiaceae).  Boissiera 60: 5–99.

The title of this work is slightly misleading.  This is essentially a revision of a single genus, Conceveiba, under which two other genera formerly considered distinct (Gavarettia and Polyandra) are synonymized on the basis of previous cladistic studies by the author.  Those studies had also resulted in the removal of African elements once included in Conceveiba to a new genus (Aubletiana J. Murillo) in a different tribe.  Thus reconceived, Conceveiba comprises 14 spp. of dioecious trees, grouped in two sections.  The genus is almost restricted to South America, with only Conceveiba pleiostemona Donn. Sm. reaching as far as Costa Rica.  Therefore, this does not impact us in any significant way.  Features synonymy, typology, and extensive descriptions at all levels, a key to the sections, dichotomous (but non-indented) sp. keys for each section, distribution summaries, comprehensive specimen citations, distribution maps, an index to exsiccatae (but none to names), and composite line drawings of every sp.  The introductory parts expound on morphology and anatomy, distribution, and taxonomic history.  There are no taxonomic novelties.

Ormerod, P.  2004. Notulae Goodyerinae.  Oasis (Dora Creek) Suppl. 3: 3–19.

Most of the articles in this Australian orchid journal deal with Asian taxa, but this one touches briefly on the genus Microchilus (i.e., the New World component of Erythrodes s. str.).  Two new spp. of Microchilus and three new combinations are validated, one of each pertinent to Costa Rica.  Microchilus platanilloensis Ormerod sp. nov., a member of the M. hirtellus (Sw.) D. Dietr. sp. complex (otherwise restricted to South America and the Antilles), is known only by the holotype, which happens to be the same specimen cited as the voucher for "Erythrodes sp. C" in the Manual.  It is illustrated with a rather basic, composite line drawing.  The new combination Microchilus bimentatus (Dressler) Ormerod is based on Erythrodes bimentatus Dressler, the only validly named Costa Rican sp. of Erythrodes s. l. that had not been previously assigned to a segregate genus.

Ossenbach, C.  2005. History of orchids in Central America Part I:  From prehispanic times to the independence of the new republics.  Harvard Pap. Bot. 10: 183–226.

This is a learned, intensively researched, and exquisitely detailed general account of the subject indicated in the title, very broad in its scope.  It is by no means strictly a taxonomic history; indeed, this first installment strays only briefly into the post-Linnaean era.  The emphasis here is on political history, archeology, the history of economic taxa (with a six-page section devoted to Vanilla), the history of exploration, and the evolution of ideas and institutions.  In addition to various maps and old illustrations of plants and people, we get several interesting lists, e.g., of the orchids known by Central American Indians during the prehispanic period, the ingredients for "the renowned jasmine chocolate of the Grand Duke of Tuscany" (you’ll need "2 scruples ambergris"!), and the orchids collected by Mociño during his expedition of 1793–1794.  Absorbing reading, even for non-botanists.

Pupulin, F.  2005. Dichaea viridula (Orchidaceae: Zygopetalinae), a new species in the D. tenuifolia complex.  Harvard Pap. Bot. 10: 83–87.

According to its author, Dichaea viridula Pupulin sp. nov. is a Costa Rican endemic corresponding to the entity to which the Manual (among other publications) misapplied the name D. tenuifolia Schltr.; mysteriously, however, the voucher cited under the latter name in the Manual is not among the paratypes of D. viridula (though it is mentioned in the text).  The real Dichaea tenuifolia, as here lectotypified, is restricted to Colombia and Ecuador and entrains D. undulifolia Dodson as a synonym.  Illustrated with a fabulous composite line drawing by the author.

Roalson, E. H., J. K. Boggan & L. E. Skog.  2005. Reorganization of tribal and generic boundaries in the Gloxinieae (Gesneriaceae: Gesnerioideae) and the description of a new tribe in the Gesnerioideae, Sphaerorrhizeae.  Selbyana 25: 225–238.

The new tribe and the tribal gerrymandering do not interest us, but a few of the proposed generic realignments do.  The conclusions presented hinge mainly on recent molecular-phylogenetic analyses by these authors and others (with a hypothetical cladogram here presented).  Just two changes are immediately significant for Costa Rican floristics.  Gloxinia is polyphyletic [see The Cutting Edge 9(2): 11, Apr. 2002] and "requires considerable reorganization"; our only sp., G. perennis (L.) Fritsch, is the generic type and remains unaffected.  However, Koellikeria erinoides (DC.) Mansf. is cladistically aligned with G. perennis and bears a "distinctive morphological similarity," particularly in "the raceme-like flowering stem, with flowers solitary in the axils of strongly reduced bract-like leaves."  Enter Gloxinia erinoides (DC.) Roalson & Boggan.  Capanea is nested within Kohleria [see The Cutting Edge 12(3): 10, Jul. 2005], and its two spp. "are best treated as specialized epiphytic" members of the latter genus; however, the epithet grandiflora is preoccupied in Kohleria, so the next oldest name must be used.  And so it is that the venerable Capanea grandiflora (Kunth) Decne. abruptly becomes Kohleria t igridia (Ohlend.) Roalson & Boggan (horticulturists will be lashing themselves into a fury over this one).  Impending changes are intimated for several other genera, particularly Phinaea, already shown to be polyphyletic [see The Cutting Edge 12(2): 15, Apr. 2005]; a separate paper is promised that will "clarify the circumscription of Phinaea...and will include the description of a new genus..."  Features a key to the genera of Gloxinieae and another to the tribes of Gesnerioideae with inferior and half-inferior ovaries (both non-indented).

Robinson, G. L. & R. P. Wunderlin.  2005. Revision of Fevillea (Cucurbitaceae: Zanonieae).  Sida 21: 1971–1996.

Fevillea is a genus of seven spp. (as here construed), ranging throughout the Neotropics.  One sp. is described as new, as is one of the two subgenera invoked, but neither novelty is relevant to Costa Rican floristics.  Most of the spp. are restricted to Amazonian South America or Brazil, with only Fevillea cordifolia L. extending to Mesoamerica (including Costa Rica) and the Antilles.  Hence there is nothing new here for us.  Features full synonymy and typology, adequate descriptions at all levels, a key to subgenera, a key to spp. in subgen. Fevillea (which includes all but one sp.), distribution summaries, specimen citations (comprehensive or representative, depending on the sp.), and a section on "Excluded Names."  The introductory part addresses taxonomic history, floral and fruit morphology, distribution, economic importance, and infrageneric relationships.  Composite line drawings depict most spp.

Rodríguez, A.  2005. Una nueva especie de Guarea (Meliaceae) para Costa Rica.  Sida 21: 2039–2044.

Guarea subsessilifolia Al. Rodr. is sharply distinguished by its shrubby habit; subsessile leaves with up to 10 leaflets, the proximal ones conspicuously reduced; short, few-flowered inflorescences; pistillate flowers with a sericeous, 4-loculed ovary, with one ovule per locule; and small, globose, thin-walled fruits.  The new sp. is endemic to Costa Rica, where it is known by just seven collections, from two disjunct sites (Monteverde region and Cerro Turrubares) at 850–1600 m elevation on the Pacific slope.  Illustrated with a fine composite line drawing by INBio’s Silvia Troyo.

-- . 2005. Sinopsis de Neomirandea (Asteraceae: Eupatorieae) en Costa Rica.  Lankesteriana 5: 201–210.

Neomirandea is a neotropical genus of about 28 spp., characterized by their generally shrubby, often epiphytic habit (occasionally arborescent or subscandent) and usual occurrence in cloud forests or other very humid habitats.  As is typical of montane taxa, seven of the 15 Neomirandea spp. attributed to Costa Rica in this synoptic treatment are endemic, and most of the others are localized in southern Central America.  The Costa Rican endemics include:  Neomirandea angularis (B. L. Rob.) R. M. King & H. Rob., N. burgeri R. M. King & H. Rob., N. guevarii R. M. King & H. Rob., N. parasitica (Klatt) R. M. King & H. Rob., N. psoralea (B. L. Rob.) R. M. King & H. Rob., and N. turrialbae R. M. King & H. Rob.  The remaining endemic is Neomirandea pendulissima Al. Rodr., the only new taxon described here, known by just two collections at ca. 1000 m elevation from disparate sites on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca.  The new sp. (which alone is illustrated with a composite line drawing) is compared with N. costaricensis R. M. King & H. Rob., from which it differs in its larger leaves and inflorescences.  We believe that there are probably at least a few new country records here as well (e.g., Neomirandea croatii R. M. King & H. Rob.), plus at least one new synonymy (N. grosvenorii R. M. King & H. Rob. under N. burgeri), but these aspects are not emphasized.  Features an indented, dichotomous sp. key, complete synonymy (but no typology), distribution summaries, discussions (highlighting diagnostic features), and representative specimen citations.  Except for the new sp., there are no descriptions.

Incidentally, this issue of Lankesteriana appears to be better bound than past issues, so we expect that the pages will not all fall out.

Rojas Alvarado, A. F.  2005. Una nueva especie de Elaphoglossum sección Elaphoglossum (Lomariopsidaceae) en Costa Rica.  Lankesteriana 5: 185–189.

The new sp. is Elaphoglossum lenticulatum A. Rojas, endemic to Costa Rica, where it is known from 1200–2000 m elevation (on the Atlantic slope and near the Continental Divide) in the Cordilleras de Guanacaste, de Tilarán, and Central.  It is compared with E. mitorrhizum Mickel and E. proximum (J. Bommer) Christ, from both of which it differs in the shape of the leaf-blades and details of the rhizome- and laminar scales.  A tabular comparison of the three spp. is provided, as well as a photographic comparison of the scales of E. lenticulatum and E. proximum.  The holotype of the new sp. is also depicted in a photo.

-- . 2005. Nuevos taxa de helechos arborescentes (Filicales: Cyatheaceae) en Costa Rica.  Lankesteriana 5: 191–200.

One new sp. and one new hybrid, both endemic to Costa Rica, are formally described in Cyathea.  The former is Cyathea povedae A. Rojas, widespread from 500–1600 m elevation in the Cordilleras de Tilarán, Central, and de Talamanca, as well as the Pacific Fila Costeña.  The new sp. corresponds to Costa Rican material that has previously been identified as Cyathea fulva (M. Martens & Galeotti) Fée, now considered by the author to range from Mexico to Nicaragua.  It differs from the latter in its more slender stems, deciduous fronds (leaving scars), and in details of the petiolar scales and laminar scales and trichomes.  An image of the holotype of C. povedae is presented, and some details are illustrated from other material.  A key is provided to the Cyathea spp. with globose indusia in Costa Rica.  The author takes this opportunity to retract a previous statement attributing Cyathea caracasana (Klotzsch) Domin var. boliviensis (Rosenst.) R. M. Tryon and C. c. var. meridensis (H. Karst.) R. M. Tryon to Costa Rica [see The Cutting Edge 9(2): 9, Apr. 2002], instead invoking polymorphic variation in C. c. var. maxonii (Underw.) R. M. Tryon.

The new hybrid was previously characterized in the literature (see Smith & Grayum, Amer. Fern J. 78: 105–108.  1988), but has never been formally named as a nothospecies.  Cyathea ×smithiana A. Rojas, as it will henceforth be known, involves two rare, acaulescent spp., C. stolzei A. R. Sm. ex Lellinger and C. ursina (Maxon) Lellinger, both of localized occurrence in the Atlantic lowlands (the hybrid being known from just two localities near Chilamate de Sarapiquí).  Fine line drawings compare the fronds, pinnae, and petiolar scales of C. ×smithiana and both of its putative parent spp.

Lastly, the new combination Cnemidaria chiricana (Maxon) R. M. Tryon var. contigua (Underw. ex Maxon) A. Rojas (based on Hemitelia contigua Underw. ex Maxon) is validated for an endemic Costa Rican taxon that has most recently been known (e.g., in Flora mesoamericana) as Cnemidaria mutica (Christ) R. M. Tryon var. contigua (Maxon) Stolze.  The author’s criteria for distinguishing C. chiricana from C. mutica are expressed in a key to all the taxa of Cnemidaria occurring in Costa Rica.

Sánchez, E. & A. M. Espinoza.  2005. Ultrastructure of Oryza glumaepatula, a wild rice species endemic of tropical America.  Revista Biol. Trop. 53: 15–22.

This paper offers a rare glimpse into a parallel universe of which, until now, we have been only vaguely aware.  Much of the genetic and taxonomic research involving major cultivated crops like potatoes and rice is undertaken by agronomists and published in agronomy journals and the proceedings of international symposia, which often don’t reach our library and are not cited in standard taxonomic publications.  There has been a recent explosion of such work on rice (Oryza) in Central America, and despite the fact that much of it has been accomplished in Costa Rica and by Costa Ricans, we have been largely in the dark.  Gleaning as much as we can from this paper, we gather that there must be at least five spp. of Oryza in Costa Rica, as opposed to the three treated in the Manual.  It seems that the entity we called Oryza rufipogon Griff., an adventive Old World sp., is in reality O. glumipatula Steud., a wild sp. endemic to the New World.  Furthermore, at least one other wild Oryza sp., O. grandiglumis (Döll.) Prodoehl, apparently occurs in Costa Rica.  The real O. rufipogon is also found in Costa Rica, where it "is part of the weedy rice complex associated with rice fields...but...has never been found in natural ecosystems."  We are guessing that said "weedy rice complex" may harbor yet additional Old World Oryza spp.  This is a relatively minor paper adducing several micromorphological characters to "confirm that O. glumaepatula is a different species from O. rufipogon."  But it is valuable to us mainly for the references, which provide an inroad to a vast and unfathomed body of research.

Seigler, D. S. & J. E. Ebinger.  2006[‘2005’]. New combinations in the genus Vachellia (Fabaceae: Mimosoideae) from the New World.  Phytologia 87: 139–178.

With Acacia shattered by molecular analyses and its generic type now officially changed to an Australian sp. [see The Cutting Edge 12(4): 1, Oct. 2005], the rechristening of the orphaned hordes may now proceed.  Vachellia Wight & Arn. is the operative generic name for the former Acacia subgen. Acacia (i.e., the taxon that would have retained the generic name Acacia under the old type), with about 163 spp., including 60 in the New World.  Necessary new combinations for the latter are here provided by authors who have long worked on the group [see, e.g., The Cutting Edge 8(1): 5, Jan. 2001].  For Costa Rica, the spp. involved are:  Vachellia allenii (D. H. Janzen) Seigler & Ebinger; V. collinsii (Saff.) Seigler & Ebinger; V. cornigera (L.) Seigler & Ebinger; V. guanacastensis (H. D. Clarke, Seigler & Ebinger) Seigler & Ebinger; and V. ruddiae (D. H. Janzen) Seigler & Ebinger.  Astute readers will recognize these as the so-called "swollen-thorn" or "ant acacias."  The combination Vachellia farnesiana (L.) Wight & Arn. was already available.

Silba, J.  2005. A monograph of the genus Cupressus L. in the twenty-first century.  J. Int. Conifer Preserv. Soc. 12: 31–103.

This comes just seven years after the author’s monograph of Cupressus (Cupressaceae) for the twentieth century [see The Cutting Edge 5(3): 5–6, Jul. 1998] which, rather mysteriously, is not mentioned or cited in this similarly homemade sequel.  A few changes have indeed been made, as there are now 27 spp. (up from 25), and we note a number of new taxa (none relevant to us).  Also, the author’s infrageneric classification, featuring two subgenera and seven sections, has vanished without a trace, and with nary a word of explanation (that we can find).  This contribution is noteworthy mainly for its frequent, vehement, and sometimes inarticulate attacks on Aljos Farjon (K), whose recent, lavish, and professionally published monograph of Cupressaceae [see The Cutting Edge 12(4): 5, Oct. 2005] will—for better or for worse—undoubtedly be better received.

Sklenář, P., J. L. Luteyn, C. Ulloa Ulloa, P. M. Jørgensen & M. O. Dillon.  2005. Flora genérica de los páramos: guía ilustrada de las plantas vasculares.  Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 92: 1–499.

Páramo, as briefly defined in this work, extends mainly from Colombia to Peru and Venezuela, with outliers in Costa Rica and Panama.  This very pleasing and ergonomically designed volume (a manual in every sense of the word) treats 540 genera of vascular plants (including 27 that are non-native) from páramo habitats in these countries, representing 127 families.  The book is presented in the form of a conventional flora, beginning with an extensive, dichotomous and indented key to families (which often goes to genus level), broken up according to major groups (pteridophytes, gymnosperms, monocots, and dicots).  The authors are responsible for most of the family treatments, but got help from Ihsan Al-Shehbaz (MO), Piero G. Delprete (UFG), Noel H. Holmgren (NY), Simon Lægaard (AAU), Robbin C. Moran (NY), and Michael H. Nee (NY), among others.  For each family, we get a description, a key to genera (where necessary), plus descriptions (often rather brief) and curt discussions (generally indicating the overall distribution and sp. total, plus the number of páramo spp.) for each genus.  Important references are provided throughout, and nearly every genus (all but seven of those treated) is illustrated, usually with a composite line drawing (sometimes depicting a non-paramo sp.).  The sources for these illustrations are indexed at the end of the volume, where also are found an illustrated glossary and an index to scientific names.  Four new combinations are validated in these end-pages, but none are germane to Costa Rica.

The introduciton to this work is quite succinct, but full of pertinent and interesting data.  Of the 540 páramo genera accepted, 183 occur in Costa Rica.  Although spp. are not formally treated, 3595 are said to occur in the study region, with 328 represented in Costa Rica.  Fourteen genera are claimed as páramo endemics, but of these just Westoniella (Asteraceae) is known from Costa Rica; however, it seems to us that Iltisia (Asteraceae) might also qualify on both counts.  By far the most diverse páramo family is Asteraceae (113 genera, 973 spp.), followed distantly by Poaceae (47 genera, 231 spp.) and Scrophulariaceae (14 genera, 240 spp.).  The four most diverse páramo genera all belong to Asteraceae:  Espeletia s. l, Pentacalia, Diplostephium, and Senecio (with 126, 111, 73, and 67 spp., respectively); of these, only Espeletia does not reach Costa Rica.  Among pteridophytes, the most diverse páramo families are Lycopodiaceae (3 genera, 69 spp.), Elaphoglossaceae (1 genus, 65 spp.), and Polypodiaceae (14 genera, 60 spp.), while Elaphoglossum (65 spp.) and Huperzia (60 spp.) are the most diverse genera.  We could not help noticing, in our perusal of this volume, that many genera well represented in the South American páramos do not reach that habitat in Costa Rica, even though they occur elsewhere in the country.  In a few cases, this may reflect oversight (Aa?); but in the main, we believe it to be a real phenomenon.

This book will be an essential resource for ecotourists and biologists throughout the neotropical páramo regions.  For Costa Rica, it becomes an invaluable companion to Kappelle & Horn’s recent (2005) tour-de-force overview of the country’s páramos (see this column in our last issue).  From our perspective, this flora is scrupulously comprehensive and nomenclaturally au courant.  Indeed, we noted two genera attributed to Costa Rica for which even we have no records:  Elatine (Elatinaceae) and Calandrinia (Portulacaceae).  We also happened to notice that Lewisia (Portulacaceae), known from the Costa Rican páramo, was missing, and we have since learned that it has lately been subsumed within Calandrinia.  Here, a little synonymy (largely lacking throughout the volume) would have been helpful!  We’d like to know more about Elatine, though.

Soejima, A. & J. Wen.  2006. Phylogenetic analysis of the grape family (Vitaceae) based on three chloroplast markers.  Amer. J. Bot. 93: 278–287.

We are only interested in those few genera occurring naturally in Costa Rica, viz., Ampelocissus, Cissus, and VitisCissus, by far the largest of these, is portrayed as monophyletic, with the exception of one South American sp. that we will happily overlook.  Vitis is also monophyletic, but Ampelocissus apparently is not:  A. javalensis (Seem.) W. D. Stevens & A. Pool, the only New World sp. studied (and the only sp. recorded from Costa Rica), is sister (at least in some cladograms) to a clade comprising the Old World Ampelocissus spp. plus two Indomalesian genera, Nothocissus (monotypic) and Pterisanthes (with 18 spp., fide The Plant-book).  This relationship, if substantiated, could mandate either the enlargement of Ampelocissus (already with ca. 100 spp.) to include both Nothocissus and Pterisanthes or, perhaps more likely, separate generic status for the New World Ampelocissus spp. (of which there are very few).  The authors do not speculate.

Szlachetko, D. L. & M. Kras.  2006. Notes sur le genre Habenella. Richardiana 6: 33–39.

A few years back, the first author’s protracted assault on Habenaria (Orchidaceae) resulted in the publication of a new genus, Platantheroides Szlach., along with 34 new combinations at sp. rank [see The Cutting Edge 11(3): 12–13, Jul. 2004].  Turns out he had not done his homework, as he included the type sp. of Habenella Small, the name that ought to have been used.  Consequently, the cumbersome Platantheroides is illegitimate, and all the combinations have to be newly validated under the more elegant Habenella.  Relevant to us are Habenella alata (Hook.) Szlach. & Kras-Lap., H. eustachya (Rchb. f.) Szlach. & Kras-Lap., and H. strictissima (Rchb. f.) Szlach. & Kras-Lap.

——, P. Rutkowski & J. Mytnik.  2005. Contributions to the taxonomic revision of the subrtibes Spiranthinae, Stenorrhynchidinae and Cyclopogoninae (Orchidaceae) in Mesoamerica and the Antilles.  Polish Bot. Stud. 20: 3–387.

This treatment, based on "over 1800 herbarium specimens," accepts a total of 170 spp. in 35 mostly rather narrowly circumscribed genera.  Because their generic classification conflicts with the results of recent molecular studies, the authors devote most of their five-page introduction to an assessment of molecular vs. morphological evidence.  They maintain that they are "not averse to molecular taxonomy" and "advocate all kinds of research," but insist that "the results of new studies should be weighed carefully and combined with information we already have."  So, on with the show, taking each subtribe individually.  Spiranthinae is represented in Costa Rica by Microthelys (considered a synonym of Galeottiella in the Manual), Beloglottis, Brachystele, Eurystyles, and Hapalorchis (Spiranthes s. str. is obviously in this subtribe as well, but "was not examined" for this study).  For Costa Rica, the changes in Spiranthinae are minimal:  only one sp. is added to the flora, Beloglottis mexicana Garay & Hamer, based on Garwood et al. 753 (BM, F; "sine loc.").  On the other hand, B. subpandurata (Ames & C. Schweinf.) Garay, vouchered from Costa Rica in the Manual, is not here (and we are unable to determine if these last two facts are related).   Furthermore, "Eurystyles sp. A" of the Manual is not accounted for in any way by these authors.  We should also mention Gracielanthus pyramidalis (Lindl.) R. Gónzalez & Szlach., mentioned in the Manual [p. 6, under Deiregyne pyramidalis (Lindl.) Burns-Bal.] as having been reported from Costa Rica, but here restricted to northern Mesoamerica (though the relevant Costa Rican voucher was not seen).

Subtribe Stenorrhynchidinae, in Costa Rica, comprises the genera Coccineorchis, Eltroplectris, Funkiella, Lankesterella, Mesadenella, Sacoila (treated as a synonym of Stenorrhynchos in the Manual), Schiedeella, and Stenorrhynchos.  The biggest changes are in Coccineorchis, which swells from three spp. (as per the Manual) to seven, based on the recent description of three new spp. by these same authors [see The Cutting Edge 12(2): 14, Apr. 2005], together with their segregation of C. navarrensis (Ames) Garay from C. bracteosa (Ames & C. Schweinf.) Garay (with both spp. occurring in Costa Rica).  We must also double the sp.-total for Funkiella, as both F. stolonifera (Ames & Correll) Garay and F. versiformis Szlach. are here attributed to Costa Rica (the Manual indicates the former name as having been misapplied to the latter sp.).  Lastly, Eltroplectris roseoalba (Rchb. f.) Dressler, included formally in the Manual with a Costa Rican voucher cited, is restricted (in Mesoamerica) to El Salvador, with no evidence that the Manual voucher was seen.

The Costa Rican members of subtribe Cyclopogoninae are Cyclopogon, Pelexia, Sarcoglottis, Stigmatosema, and Zhukowskia (treated as a synonym of Sarcoglottis in the Manual).  But let’s back up:  Stigmatosema?  Indeed, this is the biggest shocker here, a new genus for the country!  Stigmatosema fuscofloralis Szlach. becomes the first Mesoamerican representative of this small, otherwise South American genus on the basis of Fuentes 168 (MO), from 1500 m elevation on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Tilarán (near Monteverde).  Six additional spp. in this subtribe may be added to the Costa Rican flora:  Cyclopogon miradorensis Schltr. [freed from synonymy under C. comosus (Rchb. f.) Burns-Bal. & E. W. Greenw.], C. storeri (Chapm.) Szlach., Mytnik & Rutk., and C. violaceus (A. Rich. & Galeotti) Schltr. [based on Grayum & Schatz 5243 (MO), from near Turrialba]; Pelexia maculata Rolfe [based on Lent 3738 (F), also from near Turrialba]; and Sarcoglottis acaulis (Sm.) Schltr. [based on Kupper 391 (M), from Carrillo] and S. sceptrodes (Rchb. f.) Schltr. [based on Brade 796 (W; "sine loc.")].  The record for Cyclopogon storeri is particularly dismaying, as it is based on the Costa Rican type [Pittier s. n. (AMES, B; "sine loc.")] of Sauroglossum nigricans Schltr., a name we unaccountably overlooked for the Manual.  Members of subtribe Cyclopogoninae attributed to Costa Rica in the Manual, but not here, are Cyclopogon obliquus (J. J. Sm.) Szlach. [as Pelexia obliqua (J. J. Sm.) Garay in the Manual] and C. olivaceus (Rolfe) Schltr.  The authors reject the latter name as misapplied to Mesoamerican material, but did not see the Manual voucher for either.  They also did not see the Manual voucher for "Cyclopogon sp. A," but cite the Manual voucher for "Sarcoglottis sp. A" under S. hunteriana Schltr. (treated separately in the Manual).  Finally, the taxon treated as Pelexia congesta Ames & C. Schweinf. in the Manual becomes P. olivacea Rolfe subsp. congesta (Ames & C. Schweinf.) Szlach., Mytnik & Rutk. [see The Cutting Edge 12(3): 8, Jul. 2005].

Features a key to all the subtribes of tribe Spirantheae, a comprehensive key to genera in subtribe Spiranthinae, a regional key to the genera treated in this work, synonymy and typology, generous descriptions of genera and spp. (and brief ones of infraspecific taxa), keys to spp. and infraspecific taxa, distribution summaries, representative specimen citations, discussions ("Notes"), distribution maps, many illustrations of all sorts (especially depicting floral details), an index to synonyms, and a completely useless "index of collections" (which only enumerates the specimens seen, without indicating their identity).  Despite the large number of collections studied, it is clear that these authors saw relatively few recent collections from Costa Rica (or at least, they do not cite them).  Moreover, they do not cite, and evidently did not even see, the Manual orchid volume!  No taxonomic novelties appear to be validated here, though we did note at least one new sp. said to be "in press".

Taylor, C. M.  2005. Margaritopsis (Rubiaceae, Psychotrieae) in the Neotropics.  Syst. & Geogr. Pl. 75: 161–177.

Until about five years ago, the genus name Margaritopsis was restricted to three obscure spp. endemic to Cuba and Hispaniola.  But molecular and cladistic investigations on Rubiaceae tribe Psychotrieae eventually discriminated a monophyletic, pantropical group of at least 50 spp., for which Margaritopsis, as luck would have it, proved to be the oldest generic name available [see The Cutting Edge 8(4): 3, Oct. 2001].  This paper comprises a synopsis of the neotropical members of this group, which "can generally be recognized quickly by the combination of flattened internodes with a slender longitudinal ridge on at least the young stems and stipules that are partially deciduous with the persistent basal portion becoming indurated."  Though it is "likely to be incomplete," the author’s enumeration accounts for 27 spp., ranging from southern Mexico to Bolivia and Paraguay and in the Antilles.  All were formerly classed in Psychotria, except for the three original (Antillean) spp. and one sp. (from South America) here described as new; all the necessary new combinations (22 in all) are validated in the name of the author.  As far as we can tell, just three spp. are definitely known from Costa Rica:  Margaritopsis haematocarpa (Standl.) C. M. Taylor, M. kappleri (Miq.) C. M. Taylor (disjunct from South America), and M. microdon (DC.) C. M. Taylor.  However, Margaritopsis impatiens (Dwyer) C. M. Taylor has been collected in both Nicaragua and Panama, and might be expected in Costa Rica.  Features synonymy and typology at all levels, an amended description of the genus, a dichotomous (but non-indented) key to spp., distribution summaries, and occasional discussions, but (except for the new sp.) no sp. descriptions or specimen citations (apart from types), and no distribution maps or indices.  The sp. entries are organized according to three informal groups (one with 20 spp.), within which they are ordered alphabetically.  Illustrated with one composite line drawing depicting three spp. (including the new one).

Ward, D. B.  2005. A case of disputed orthography:  is it Echinochloa colona; or is it Echinochloa colonum (Gramineae)?  Sida 21: 2171–2183.

Disdaining (and failing to cite!) established usage in such august works as Flora mesoamericana, Flora de Nicaragua, and the Manual(!), the author pronounces colonum as the correct spelling, on the grounds that it is a noun in apposition that must remain unaltered.  Though it is clearly well-informed, we find his argument unconvincing; however, the possibility that we are too stupid to comprehend it deserves serious consideration.  We have a vague recollection of having read an equally learned discourse, not cited by this author, that reached the opposite conclusion.  Unfortunately, our efforts to trace that source have been unsuccessful.  At any rate, the point is moot for us, since Poaceae are history for the Manual.

Watkins, J. E., Jr., C. Cardelús, R. K. Colwell & R. C. Moran.  2006. Species richness and distribution of ferns along an elevational gradient in Costa Rica.  Amer. J. Bot. 93: 73–83.

This study was conducted on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera Central utilizing the so-called "Barva transect," with sampling ranging from the Estación Biológica La Selva (at ca. 30 m elevation) to the upper slopes of Volcán Barva (at ca. 2600 m).  Throughout, 264 fern spp. were found, representing 60 genera.  Terrestrial spp. totaled 69, low-trunk epiphytes 121, and canopy epiphytes 113.  For both categories of epiphytes, sp.-richness peaked at about 1000 m; however, sp.-richness of terrestrial spp. was more or less constant at middle and upper elevations, but declined at lower elevations.  The most diverse genera were Elaphoglossum (25 spp.), Trichomanes (18 spp.), Asplenium (15 spp.), Hymenophyllum (13 spp.), and Diplazium (12 spp.).  Only two spp. were found at all six sampling stations along the transect:  Asplenium serra Langsd. & Fisch. and Elaphoglossum peltatum (Sw.) Urb.  And just one sp., Elaphoglossum cismense Rosenst., occurred in all three vertical positions (terrestrial, low-trunk epiphyte, canopy epiphyte) at a single site.

Williams, N. H., W. M. Whitten & R. L. Dressler.  2005. Molecular systematics of Telipogon (Orchidaceae: Oncidiinae) and its allies:  nuclear and plastid DNA sequence data.  Lankesteriana 5: 163–184.

The most important result of these analyses, to us, is the revelation that Stellilabium is embedded within Telipogon (as some have suspected), and is polyphyletic even within that context.  It is evident that the "Stellilabium habit,’ which is essentially small flowers and a tendency to leaflessness at maturity, has arisen at least twice."  For Stellilabium to persist as an accepted genus name, Telipogon would have to be "broken into three genera and Stellilabium into at least two... "  On that note, the authors (as "N. H. Williams & Dressler") provide (where necessary) new combinations or names (as the case may be) in Telipogon for all accepted spp. formerly assigned to Stellilabium, of which at least 14 are now known from Costa Rica.  No nomina nova were required for any Costa Rican spp., three of which already had available names in TelipogonT. lankesteri Ames, T. minutiflorus Kraenzl., and T. standleyi Ames.

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