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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XIV, Number 2, April 2007

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

Barrie, F. R.  2006. A new species of Eugenia (Myrtaceae) from the Monteverde region, Costa Rica.  Sida 22: 1071–1073.

Just in time for the impending publication of the Manual Myrtaceae treatment, family coordinator Fred R. Barrie (MO) validates a name for the last of the 22 new Eugenia spp. described in connection with that work [see also The Cutting Edge 12(3): 2–3, Jul. 2005].  Eugenia haberi Barrie, honoring resident Monteverde biologist William Haber, is appropriately restricted to the Cordilleras de Guanacaste and de Tilarán of Costa Rica, where it has been found at elevations of 1100–1350 m on the Pacific slope.  The new sp. is compared with Eugenia rhombea (O. Berg) Krug & Urb., a widespread sp. that is known from both Nicaragua and Panama, but not Costa Rica.  Needless to say, E. haberi has already been accommodated in the Manual account of the family [see The Cutting Edge 13(3): 2–3, Jul. 2006].  Illustrated with a photographic image of the holotype specimen.

Chacón, E. & G. Saborío-R.  2006. Análisis taxonómico de las especies de plantas introducidas en Costa Rica.  Lankesteriana 6: 139–147.

This analysis of 1048 plant spp. introduced in Costa Rica is, according to its authors, the first such study involving that country or, for that matter, the Neotropics in general.  Both cultivated and naturalized spp. were considered, accounting for 47% and 22% of the total, respectively (the remainder being of undetermined status).  Of the 148 families represented, Poaceae contributed the largest number of spp. (118), followed by Fabaceae (74), Asteraceae (49), Cactaceae (36), Arecaceae (33), and Myrtaceae (29).  In terms of plant habit, herbs were the major component (55% of all spp.), while ornamentals comprised the largest use category (52% of spp.).  Asia yielded the most introductions (19.4% of spp.), edging out even South America (including southern Central America) in this regard.

Cheek, M.  2006. The validation of two new family names in MalvalesDurionaceae and Brownlowiaceae.  Kew Bull. 61: 443.

The author is evidently on the verge of publishing “a revised classification...of the ‘core’ Malvales in which ten families are recognized,” the splitter’s alternative to the single mega-family promoted by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group [see The Cutting Edge 19(3): 5–6, Jul. 2003].  Both of the new family names mentioned in the title impact Costa Rican floristics, at least obliquely:  Brownlowiaceae includes the genus Christiana (formerly in Tiliaceae), which occurs naturally in Costa Rica, while Durionaceae obviously harbors the Asian genus Durio (formerly in Bombacaceae), represented in Costa Rica by the very sparingly cultivated durian (D. zibethinus Rumph ex Murray).  The title of the author’s upcoming treatment of the group (cited as “In Press”) reveals that, in addition to his new families and the traditional Bombacaceae, Malvaceae, Sterculiaceae, and Tiliaceae, he will recognize families called Byttneriaceae, Helicteraceae, Pentapetaceae (all formerly Sterculiaceae), and Sparrmanniaceae (formerly Tiliaceae).

Chiapella, J. 2007. A molecular phylogenetic study of Deschampsia (Poaceae: Aveneae) inferred from nuclear ITS and plastid trnL sequence data:  support for the recognition of Avenella and Vahlodea.  Taxon 56: 55–64.

The only sp. of Deschampsia occurring in Costa Rica, the introduced D. flexuosa (L.) Trin., belongs to a group that is sister to the genus Aira, and must therefore be excluded from Deschampsia on cladistic grounds.  The genus name Avenella (Bluff & Fingerh.) Drejer is deployed for this group, and the combination A. flexuosa (L.) Drejer is available for our sp.  Morphological distinctions between Avenella and Deschampsia s. str. are presented in a table.

Christenhusz, M. J. M. & H. Tuomisto.  2006. Five new species of Danaea (Marattiaceae) from Peru and a new status for D. elliptica.  Kew Bull. 61: 17–30.

We are interested only in the status of Danaea elliptica Sm., a name that has been used in Costa Rica for a distinctive sp. occurring, e.g., at the Estación Biológica La Selva.  The earliest acceptable lectotypification of D. elliptica effectively rendered that name synonymous with Danaea nodosa (L.) Sm., an older name widely accepted for a different sp.  Lellinger [2000; see The Cutting Edge 8(2): 10, Apr. 2001] sought to relectotypify D. elliptica in such a way as to maintain its traditional application.  However, the present authors reject that proposal, claiming that “it is preferable...to let the name D. elliptica be relegated to synonymy” under D. nodosa; in support of their position, they note that “what used to be called D. elliptica is actually a complex of several species,” that “more than one of these species occur in the West Indies,” and that the exact geographic origin of the lectotype favored by Lellinger is uncertain, which could “complicate the nomenclature of this group further.”  All well and good, but what do we call our Costa Rican material of “Danaea elliptica” in the meantime?  The authors admit that “not all species limits have yet been sorted out” in this complex, so we may be in limbo for some time.

Christenson, E.  2007. Rossioglossum hagsaterianum.  Orchid Rev. 115: 40–43.

The only item here of conceivable interest to us is stale news:  the validation of the combination Rossioglossum schlieperianum (Rchb. f.) Garay & G. C. Kenn. f. flavidum (Rchb. f.) Christenson, already accomplished several years ago by Pupulin [see The Cutting Edge 9(4): 10–11, Oct. 2002] and correctly credited to him in the Manual.

Cornejo, X.  2006. Una nueva combinación en Steriphoma paradoxum (Jacq.) Endl. (Capparaceae).  Anales Jard. Bot. Madrid 63: 251–252.

The validation of Steriphoma paradoxum subsp. venezuelanum (Briq.) Cornejo (based on S. venezuelanum Briq.) for Venezuelan material of this sp. creates the corresponding autonym, which would apply to Costa Rican populations.  Steriphoma paradoxum was first found in Costa Rica by Quírico Jiménez and Rodolfo Zúñiga in 1989, at Parque Nacional Carara, and is still known only from that locale.

Coronado, I. M.  2006. Five new species of Guarea (Meliaceae), two from the Guarea glabra Vahl complex, in Central America.  Novon 16: 462–467.

Former MO graduate associate Indiana Coronado here describes the new spp. that were revealed by her Master’s research, a revision of the Guarea glabra complex (including some spp. that had been erroneously associated therewith).  Three of these novelties are ascribed to Costa Rica:  Guarea arcuata Coronado, from 1550–2450 m elevation in the Cordillera de Talamanca and into western Panama; G. gentryi Coronado, from 40–500 m elevation on the Atlantic coastal plain and into eastern Nicaragua; and G. zarceroensis Coronado, a Costa Rican endemic known from the Cordilleras de Guanacaste and Central at ca. 500–1150 m.  The publication of this paper essentially completes the taxonomic makeover of Guarea for southern Central America that has also involved Manual Meliaceae collaborator Alexánder Rodríguez (INB) [see The Cutting Edge 14(1): 9–10, Jan. 2007].  Alex had been aware of Indiana’s work and of her proposed new spp., and both Guarea gentryi and G. zarceroensis are treated in full (under those names) in his Manual account of the genus [see The Cutting Edge 13(3): 2, Jul. 2006], imminently to be published.  However, Guarea arcuata (the sole bona fide member of the G. glabra complex in this trio) will receive only brief mention in the Manual as a dubious entity, since Alex was unable to study the holotype and determined one of the Costa Rican paratypes (Little 6024, MO) as G. microcarpa C. DC.  Not illustrated.

Craven, L. A.  2006. New combinations in Melaleuca for Australian species of Callistemon (Myrtaceae).  Novon 16: 468–475.

The author reviews morphological and limited molecular data bearing on her(?) conclusion that the Australian spp. of Callistemon can no longer be maintained in a genus separate from Melaleuca.  All of the necessary new combinations are validated in the author’s name (the New Caledonian spp. formerly assigned to Callistemon, though forming a separate lineage from the Australian spp., have already been transferred to Melaleuca).  No sp. of this Australasian assemblage occurs naturally in the New World, and just one Callistemon sp., the familiar ornamental C. viminalis (Sol. ex Gaertn.) G. Don, is mentioned in the Manual Myrtaceae treatment [see The Cutting Edge 13(3): 2–3, Jul. 2006] as occasionally cultivated in Costa Rica; for that sp., the combination Melaleuca viminalis (Sol. ex Gaertn.) Byrnes is already available.

Dressler, R. L.  2006. Commentary on Pseudencyclia Chiron & Castro Neto (Orchidaceae).  Selbyana 27: 154–155.

Manual Orchidaceae coordinator Robert L. Dressler tersely dismisses Pseudencyclia, a recent Prosthechea segregate [see The Cutting Edge 11(1): 3–4, Jan. 2004], as “a hodgepodge of diverse species artificially separated from their closest relatives, and thus quite polyphyletic.”  Several well-chosen morphological examples suffice to make the case.  The author also points out that, in a recent molecular analysis [Higgins et al., 2003; see The Cutting Edge 11(2): 7, Apr. 2004], the type sp. of Prosthechea was embedded among various spp. of “Pseudencyclia.”

Finot, V. L., P. M. Peterson & F. O. Zuloaga.  2006. Two new combinations in Peyritschia (Poaceae: Pooideae: Aveninae).  Sida 22: 895–903.

The new combinations do not concern us, but a tabularized comparison of all seven spp. in this genus, as well as a dichotomous key, include Peyritschia deyeuxioides (Kunth) Finot and P. pringlei (Scribn.) S. D. Koch, both found in Costa Rica.  These two spp. were treated in the Manual as Trisetum deyeuxioides (Kunth) Kunth and T. kochianum Hern. Torres, respectively.

Fraga, C. N. de & M. M. Saavedra.  2006. Three new species of Elvasia (Ochnaceae) from the Brazilian Atlantic forest, with an emended key for subgenus Hostmannia.  Novon 16: 483–489.

Incidental to us, except that the key does contain Elvasia elvasioides (Planch.) Gilg, the only sp. known from Costa Rica.

Gómez-Laurito, J.  2006. Una nueva especie de Justicia (Acanthaceae) del sur de Costa Rica.  Lankesteriana 6: 155–156.

The new sp., Justicia chaconii Gómez-Laur., is not dedicated to Abelardo, Isidro, or even Rafael Chacón, but rather to one Eduardo Chacón (whom we do not know), responsible for the only two known collections.  These were gathered in November and December, 2006, from the same site, on the lower slopes (ca. 350 m) of Fila Cruces, in the southern Fila Costeña.  The plants grew in residual forest near a river, over limestone.  Though not compared directly with any congener, J. chaconii is said to be markedly distinct by virtue of its shrubby habit, very large leaves (exceptionally, to over 50 cm long!), large (60–65 cm) inflorescences with showy, foliose bracts, lemon-yellow tinged with red, and red corollas (yellow internally).  We will bet our future Manual royalties that this is the same sp. we collected back in 1993 (Hammel et al. 19208), on our excursion to Cerro Anguciana [see The Cutting Edge 1(1): 6, Jan. 1994], and that we have suspected all along was something different.  Our specimen has stagnated at INB ever since, having been determined by a specialist as Justicia crenata (Leonard) Durkee.  Thanks, Lauro, for clearing the matter up!  You ought to drop by Costa Rica’s second largest herbarium some day...  Illustrated with photos of living material, as well as an SEM pollen micrograph.

Grant, J. R.  2007. De Macrocarpaeae Grisebach (ex Gentianaceis) speciebis novis VII:  four new species and two natural hybrids.  Harvard Pap. Bot. 11: 129–139.

The four new spp. are of no relevance to us, but one of the hybrids is:  Macrocarpaea ×acuminata Weaver (Gentianaceae), originally proposed as a good sp., is here reconceived as a natural hybrid between M. subcaudata Ewan and M. valerioi Standl.  The evidence for this, albeit circumstantial, is persuasive:  the type of the putative hybrid is intermediate morphologically (especially in leaf and inflorescence size) between the ostensible parent spp., which occur sympatrically at the type locality (Tapantí); furthermore, no other collections from this well-botanized locale match the type of M. acuminata (which was collected in 1964).  The author also admits the possibility that M. acuminata might represent a “smaller-leaved individual” of M. valerioi.  All three taxa are illustrated by photos of herbarium specimens (including an isotype of M. acuminata).  A list enumerates the seven taxa of Macrocarpaea currently known from Mesoamerica, of which four spp. (plus the hybrid) occur in Costa Rica.

Hoffmann, P., H. Kathriarachchi & K. J. Wurdack.  2006. A phylogenetic classification of Phyllanthaceae (Malpighiales; Euphorbiaceae sensu lato).  Kew Bull. 61: 37–53.

A new and fully realized classification, based to a great extent on molecular analyses by these authors and their associates [see The Cutting Edge 13(3): 8, Jul. 2006], is presented for the family Phyllanthaceae, itself segregated from Euphorbiaceae on the basis of similar studies.  The details of the classification are mostly beyond our scope; suffice it to say that two subfamilies, ten tribes, and 12 subtribes are delineated, with synonymy and technical descriptions provided for each, and that the genus Phyllanthus now includes Breynia and Sauropus (both cultivated in Costa Rica).  Three taxa (including a genus) are described as new, and three new combinations are validated (one at sp. rank), none of these relevant to Costa Rica.  The cladogram upon which the classification is based is reproduced.

Krings, A. & R. R. Braham.  2005. Guide to tendrillate climbers of Costa Rican mountains.  Blackwell Publ., Ames, IA, USA.  182 pp.

This well-planned and economically organized (though somewhat esoteric) field guide is a product of the first author’s North Carolina State University Master’s thesis, the field work for which was realized largely at the Monteverde Reserve and the Estación Biológica Las Cruces.  Said to be included are “all native and naturalized tendrillate climbers, lianas and vines, known to occur at elevations over 700 m in the mountains of Costa Rica.”  Noting that many of these spp. extend to lower elevations and outside Costa Rica, the authors predict that their guide will be useful throughout Central America.  The total of 176 spp. treated here includes representatives of 50 genera and 11 families, with the highest sp.-totals contributed by Cucurbitaceae (42 spp.), Passifloraceae (38), Sapindaceae (28), and Bignoniaceae (24); rounding out the list are Fabaceae, Loganiaceae, Polemoniaceae, Polygonaceae, Rhamnaceae, Smilacaceae, and Vitaceae.  A dichotomous key to families, entirely vegetative, leads to similar keys to genera and/or spp. within each family (vegetative as far as possible) and, where necessary, keys to spp. within individual genera.  Each family is characterized and discussed in an introductory narrative of varying length, and a generally shorter lead-in is provided for each genus.  The sp. entries include selected synonymy (with bibliographic data for every name), a technical description, and summaries of phenology and distribution.  Every sp. is illustrated with a line drawing (usually composite) by the first author.  Supplemental features are provided as needed, e.g., tabular groupings of Bignoniaceae taxa according to shared characters and two keys to Cucurbitaceae genera (one based primarily on staminate material, the other on pistillate).  The illustrated introduction briefly discusses uses, the distribution of lianas, Costa Rican geography and climatology, and climbing mechanisms (with special attention to the nature of tendrils).  A curiously pleasing little volume, authoritative and up-to-date, that should enable even those with scant experience in Costa Rica to easily identify the targeted spp; indeed, for some taxa (e.g., Passifloraceae) the coverage is very nearly comprehensive for the country.  It could be hard to track down a copy, but we would recommend that you make the effort (our only small gripe would be that vouchers aren’t cited).

Lindqvist, C., J. De Laet, R. R. Haynes, L. Aagesen, B. R. Keener & V. A. Albert.  2006. Molecular phylogenetics of an aquatic plant lineage, Potamogetonaceae.  Cladistics 22: 568–588.

Potamogetonaceae s. str. plus Zannichellia (the latter absent from Costa Rica) is strongly supported as a monophyletic group, but “the relationship of this group to other outgroup taxa remains unresolved”; among the outgroup taxa implicit in this statement is Ruppia, which was included in Potamogetonaceae in the Manual.  Stuckenia [with S. pectinata (L.) Börner reported from Panama and potentially in Costa Rica] is also strongly supported as monophyletic, but sister to Potamogeton, meaning that the two genera could defensibly be combined (as traditionally); however, the authors “argue for a continued recognition of the genus Stuckenia based on morphological, and anatomical as well as molecular data.”

Martínez-y-Pérez, J. L., V. Sosa & T. Mejía-Saules.  2006. Species delimitation in the Luziola peruviana (Poaceae) complex.  Brittonia 58: 362–375.

Various statistical analyses of characters confirm that the widespread aquatic grass Luziola peruviana J. F. Gmel. is a single, highly variable sp.  Among the specimens studied were three from Costa Rica, including the cited Manual voucher for L. peruviana, as well as a second collection discussed thereunder as anomalous by virtue of its exceptionally large leaves and inflorescences.  An indented, dichotomous key distinguishes all nine Luziola spp. accepted by the authors, and full synonymy and typology are provided for each.

Mathieu, G. & R. Callejas Posada.  2006. New synonymies in the genus Peperomia Ruiz & Pav. (Piperaceae)—an annotated checklist.  Candollea 61: 331–363.

First off, don’t think (as we at first did) that this is an annotated checklist for all of Peperomia, or even just the New World spp.  It is, rather, an enumeration of recent changes in synonymy, 147 in all, including 111 newly synonymized names, 26 names restored from prior synonymization, and 10 names retained as synonyms, but under a different accepted name.  From this we learn very little that is new or interesting, since most of the names either pertain to spp. not occurring in Costa Rica, or else are obscure and not recently in use.  Here are the changes for names based on Costa Rica types:  Peperomia defracta Trel., regarded as a synonym of P. reptabunda Trel. in William Burger’s Flora costaricensis treatment of Piperaceae (Fieldiana, Bot. 35: 5–227.  1971), is now in synonymy under P. succulenta C. DC.; P. dyscrita Trel., a synonym of P. glabella (Sw.) A. Dietr. according to Burger, is included by these authors under P. alata Ruiz & Pav.; P. erythrophlebia Trel. corresponds to a distinct sp. and is not a synonym of P. hylophila C. DC., as indicated by Burger, and the same is true of P. gleicheniiformis Trel. with respect to P. candelaber Trel., P. tenuicaulis C. DC. with respect to P. rotundifolia (L.) Kunth, P. tenuifolia C. DC. with respect to P. lignescens C. DC., P. tenuipes Trel. with respect to P. tenella (Sw.) A. Dietr. (entraining P. sphagnicola Trel. in synonymy), and P. versicolor Trel. with respect to P. alata; P. pseudotetraphylla Trel. var. dodgei Trel., not treated by Burger, is synonymized under P. quadrifolia (L.) Kunth; P. punctatifolia Trel. var. munyecoana Trel., considered by Burger a synonym of P. rotundifolia, becomes instead a synonym of P. matlalucaensis C. DC.; and P. queserana Trel., according to Burger a synonym of P. acuminata Ruiz & Pav., is synonymized under P. adscendens C. DC.  Many of these conclusions reflect years of research by second author and Manual Piperaceae contributor Ricardo Callejas (HUA), and explicit morphological rationale is provided in most cases.  In addition to the changes in synonymy, 43 names are lectotypified, although just two of these (as far as we can tell) are based on Costa Rican material:  Peperomia hylophila and P. tenuicaulis.  Features an index to scientific names.

Miller, J. S. & M. Gottschling.  2007. Generic classification in the Cordiaceae (Boraginales):  resurrection of the genus Varronia P. Br.  Taxon 56: 163–169.

A large group of generally herbaceous spp., with serrate leaves and condensed, often capitate or spicate inflorescences, is segregated from Cordia under the genus name Varronia P. Br.  This is done purely on pragmatic grounds, since cladistic evidence portrays these as sister taxa.  As revised according to this paper, Cordiaceae comprises three genera (with the monospecific, Old World Coldenia included tentatively), which are here separated in a dichotomous key.  In addition, full synonymy and typology are provided for each, together with formal descriptions and discussions.  No new combinations are published in Varronia, based on the authors’ contention that the necessary combinations “exist not only for recognized species, but also for all of the names in synonymy.”  Nonetheless, we can find no evidence of existing combinations in Varronia for a few Costa Rican spp. that we think belong there, e.g., Cordia guanacastensis Standl. and C. linnaei Stearn.

The division of traditional Boraginaceae into various smaller families, including Cordiaceae, has become the generally accepted alternative to enlarging it to include both Hydrophyllaceae and Lennoaceae [see The Cutting Edge 12(4): 6–7, Oct. 2005].

Nyffeler, R.  2007. The closest relatives of cacti:  insights from phylogenetic analyses of chloroplast and mitochondrial sequences with special emphasis on relationships in the tribe Anacampseroteae.  Amer. J. Bot. 94: 89–101.

We’ve already been around the block a bit on the issue of Cactaceae being nested in traditional Portulacaceae [see, e.g., The Cutting Edge 8(3): 5, Jul. 2001]; indeed, it seems the consensus among specialists on the group has been that Basellaceae and the Madagascan Didiereaceae are similarly embedded in what has come to be called suborder Portulacineae.  Recent phylogenetic analyses have discriminated three major subclades within this suborder.  The present study investigates relationships in the so-called “ACPT clade,” in which cacti are nested among three taxa traditionally classed in Portulacaceae, viz., tribe Anacampseroteae, plus the genera Portulaca and Talinum (the latter excluding “herbaceous taxa with linear-terete leaves,” now separated as Phemeranthus).  The ACPT clade as a whole is strongly supported as monophyletic, as is each of the four subclades indicated above, and Talinum is well supported as basal within the clade.  After that, things get dicier, although the results favor the hypothesis that Cactaceae are sister to tribe Anacampseroteae (here made congruent with the traditionally African/Australian genus Anacampseros, expanded to include the largely New World Grahamia).  As regards classification, one clear option would be to lump all four principal ACPT taxa into a single family, which might be called either Cactaceae or Portulacaceae (the two names have equal priority and both are conserved); however, this option is disdained by the author on purely nostalgic grounds (it “would lead to abandoning a very widely recognized and easily identified taxon at the family rank”).  Instead, he proposes to validate a superfamily name “such as ‘Cactariae’” (which “will be provided in due time”) for the entire clade, within which would be subsumed either two families (Cactaceae and a paraphyletic Portulacaceae) or four (Cactaceae, Portulacaceae, and Talinaceae, with no family name yet available for Anacampseros).  Based mainly on evidence from previous studies, most of the remaining genera of traditional Portulacaceae, including Lewisia (represented in Costa Rica) and Phemeranthus, would wind up in a family (the “PAW clade”) to be called Montiaceae; however, three African genera (including Portulacaria, well known to succulent-plant enthusiasts) would be (indeed, have already been) transferred to Didiereaceae (the “CDP clade”).  Basellaceae (which is apparently sister to the rest of suborder Portulacineae, rather than nested as first proposed) would emerge unscathed.

Ormerod, P.  2007. Studies of neotropical Goodyerinae (Orchidaceae).  Harvard Pap. Bot. 11: 145–177.

In connection with his ongoing work for Flora mesoamericana, the author describes 27 new spp. and four new infraspecific taxa and validates 11 new combinations or nomina nova in the genera Aspidogyne, Ligeophila, Microchilus, and Plathythelys (all of which were combined under Erythrodes in the Manual).  Just four of the new taxa occur in Costa Rica:  Aspidogyne grayumii Ormerod (“Erythrodes sp. B” of the Manual), known only by the type, from 1100–1200 m near the Estación Biológica Las Cruces; Microchilus maasii Ormerod (included in Erythrodes killipii Ames in the Manual), frequent in the Monteverde region and also in central Panama; Microchilus tessellatus Ormerod [included in Erythrodes calophylla (Rchb. f.) Ames in the Manual], known by one collection from Costa Rica (180–480 m, Atlantic slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca) and another from central Panama; and the endemic Platythelys alajuelae Ormerod [included in Erythrodes maculata (Hook.) Ames in the Manual], known by three collections from 750–1200 m elevation in the Cordilleras de Tilarán and Central.  The new combination Aspidogyne roseoalba (Dressler) Ormerod (based on Erythrodes roseoalba Dressler) reflects the transfer of this sp. from the splinter genus Platythelys.  Several new synonymies are also indicated:  “Erythrodes sp. D” of the Manual is included in Aspidogyne tuerckheimii (Schltr.) Garay, which was treated separately in the Manual as Erythrodes tuerckheimii (Schltr.) Ames (meaning that we lose a sp.); Erythrodes killipii is synonymized under Microchilus nigrescens (Schltr.) Ormerod; and the recently published Microchilus valverdei Ormerod [see The Cutting Edge 12(3): 8, Jul. 2005] becomes a synonym of M. calophyllus (Rchb. f.) Ormerod.  Addtionally, specimen citations require that the overall geographic ranges of both Aspidogyne tuerckheimii and Platythelys venustula (Ames) Garay be extended southward to Ecuador.  Most of the taxa treated (including all of the new ones from Costa Rica) are illustrated by composite line drawings of reduced scale.

Pupulin, F. & D. Bogarín.  2004. Two new species of Lepanthes (Orchidaceae: Pleurothallidinae) from Costa Rica.  Kew Bull. 59: 559–563.

Hard to imagine how anyone could overlook an article in the Kew Bulletin, but your editors were up to the task.  Here, two new Lepanthes spp. are described from very well-botanized sites in Costa Rica.  Lepanthes cribbii Pupulin, hailing from the Monteverde reserve, is compared with the sympatric L. mentosa Luer, from which it differs in flower color and labellar morphology.  Lepanthes whittenii Pupulin & Bogarín, from ca. 2300 m elevation near El Empalme, along the Carretera Interamericana in the northern Cordillera de Talamanca, apparently has no close relatives in Costa Rica.  Collectively, just three specimens of these new spp. are cited, all prepared recently by the authors and their associates.  The authors state that novelties in Lepanthes “are continuously arising from botanical exploration in the country,” implying that they believe themselves to be the first to have encountered these plants.  We rather believe this to be an illusion created by the unwillingness or inability of orchid specialists to work with existing herbarium collections; “exploration” (of the sort implied by these authors) has nothing whatsoever to do with it.  As evidence for our position, consider that, as of this writing, the TROPICOS database contains records for 180 Costa Rican Lepanthes specimens, dating back to 1928, that have never been identified to sp. level.  At least 87 of these are collections made by William Haber and associates from the Monteverde region, among which are certainly numerous examples of Lepanthes cribbii.  And Lepanthes is not unusual in this regard:  TROPICOS also records 225 unidentified Costa Rican specimens in Pleurothallis specimens and 426(!) in Stelis.  While we understand that it may be difficult or impossible to recognize new spp. in these genera solely from herbarium material, surely it must be feasible to identify at least some exsiccatae after the fact.  Volumes of information, tied to these specimens, are currently being squandered.  And from the other perspective, of what value are names that exist only in the context of a few potted plants and one or two herbarium collections made by one person at a single site?  Now that we’ve gotten that off our chests, time to update our running total:  249 new orchid spp. have been described from Costa Rica since 1993 (including the four from the previous entry).  Both of the new Lepanthes spp. described in this paper are portrayed in composite line drawings by the multi-talented first author.

Reveal, J. L., P. Hoffmann, A. Doweld & K. J. Wurdack.  2007. (1765) Proposal to conserve the name Phyllanthaceae.  Taxon 56: 266.

Molecular phylogenetics “confirms” a sister-group relationship between Phyllanthaceae (quite recently segregated from Euphorbiaceae) and Picrodendraceae, suggesting that they could defensibly be combined into a single family.  Because Picrodendraceae is conserved and Phyllanthaceae not, the former name would become operative in such a scenario.  For some reason not made entirely clear in this paper, the employment of Picrodendraceae (with a long history of use at family rank) instead of Phyllanthaceae for the combined entity strikes fear into the hearts of these authors, who assert that such a course of action would “cause considerable confusion.”  Seriously, aren’t all plant taxonomists completely inured to rampant name changes by now?  It cannot have been an accident that Picrodendraceae was conserved originally, and not Phyllanthaceae.  Now conservation of Phyllanthaceae is proposed, in anticipation of a possible classificatory change (that would, in any case, be optional), because these authors prefer that name.  We will go on record here, for whatever it may be worth, as having a strong preference for the name Picrodendraceae, in the event these families are ever combined.

Rico Arce, M. de L. & S. Bachman.  2006. A taxonomic revision of Acaciella (Leguminosae, Mimosoideae).  Anales Jard. Bot. Madrid 63: 189–244.

Acaciella, one of the segregate genera spawned by the recent fragmentation of Acacia [see The Cutting Edge 12(4): 1, Oct. 2005], corresponds to the taxon previously known as Acacia sect. Filicinae Benth.  As here conceived, this group comprises 15 spp., ranging from the southern United States to Argentina and the West Indies.  Apart from the change in genus name, there is very little here that is new to us.  Just two widespread spp. are recorded from Costa Rica:  Acaciella angustissima (Mill.) Britton & Rose and A. villosa (Sw.) Britton & Rose.  The former sp. is subdivided into three vars., of which two (both occurring throughout the range of the sp.) are found in Costa Rica:  Acaciella angustissima var. angustissima (leaves usually with 11–17 pairs of pinnae, fruits long-beaked) and A. a. var. filicioides (Cav.) L. Rico (leaves usually with 18–32 pairs of pinnae, fruits beakless).  Features synonymy and typology at all levels, a dichotomous (but non-indented) key to spp. (and nested keys to infraspecific taxa), formal descriptions of the genus and terminal infrageneric taxa, summaries of distribution and phenology, comments, representative specimen citations, distribution maps, excellent composite line drawings, and an index to exsiccatae (but not to scientific names).  The introductory sections address taxonomic history, important characters, economic uses, and conservation.

Rojas-Alvarado, A. F.  2006. Two new species of Blechnum (Blechnaceae) from the neotropics.  Brittonia 58: 388–394.

Just one of these novelties is Costa Rican, the endemic Blechnum moranianum A. Rojas, a páramo inhabitant (2800–3270 m) of the Cordillera de Talamanca.  The new sp. is compared in tabular fashion with Blechnum loxense (Kunth) Hook. ex Salomon (with which it has been particularly confused) and B. sessilifolium (Klotzsch ex Christ) C. Chr.  Honored by the epithet of B. moranianum is pteridologist Robbin C. Moran (NY), who first suspected that this might represent an undescribed sp.  Photos of the holotype specimen and a living plant are paired with comparable photos of B. loxense.

-- . 2006. Nuevos taxa en Grammitidaceae (Pteridophyta) de Costa Rica.  Lankesteriana 6: 95–100.

Two new spp., both endemic to Costa Rica, are described in genera that have been segregated (for some time now) from GrammitisLellingeria pinnata A. Rojas is based on just two collections, from 1300–1600 m elevation, one from the Cordillera de Guanacaste, the other from the Cordillera de Talamanca.  It is compared with L. phlegmaria (J. Sm.) A. R. Sm. & R. C. Moran, from which it differs in its ostensibly pinnate (vs. pinnatisect) leaf-blades with a black rachis and entire (vs. undulate to crenate) segments.  Terpsichore glandulifera A. Rojas, widespread in the Cordilleras de Tilarán, Central, and de Talamanca at elevations of 1400–2300 m (mainly on the Atlantic slope), has been confused with T. turrialbae (Christ) A. R. Sm., from which it differs in various details of frond architecture and pubescence.  Additionally, Terpsichore pirrensis A. R. Sm., formerly considered endemic to the Darién region of Panama, is reported from Costa Rica on the basis of five specimens, from 1900–2250 m elevation, mostly on the Pacific slope of the eastern Cordillera de Talamanca (with one from the Cordillera Central).  These had been variously misidentified (fide this author) as Lellingeria apiculata (Kunze ex Klotzsch) A. R. Sm. & R. C. Moran or spp. of Pecluma.  All three spp. dealt with in this paper are depicted in photographic images of herbarium specimens (the holotype, in the case of the new spp.).

Rouhan, G. & G. Cremers.  2006. Lectotypifications of some American Acrostichum and Elaphoglossum (Elaphoglossaceae).  Syst. Geogr. Pl. 76: 179–183.

The 15 lectotypes designated in this paper apply for the most part to obscure synonyms, with the exception of Acrostichum luridum Fée, the basionym of Elaphoglossum luridum (Fée) Christ.  Two names are lectotypified on Costa Rican material:  Acrostichum conforme Sw. var. alpinum J. Bommer [a synonym of Elaphoglossum minutum (Pohl ex Fée) T. Moore] and Elaphoglossum cordigerum Christ [a synonym of E. eximium (Mett.) Christ].  As far as we can tell, no current usages are affected.

Scholz, H.  2006. Kikuyuochloa, genus novum (Poaceae: Paniceae).  Feddes Repert. 117: 512–518.

You guessed it, the new genus accommodates the so-called “Kikuyu grass,” heretofore (as in the Manual) widely known as Pennisetum clandestinum Hochst. ex Chiov., hereafter (if this author’s view prevails) as Kikuyuochloa clandestina (Hochst. ex Chiov.) H. Scholz.  Generic status for this taxon is based mainly on a reinterpretation of its inflorescence morphology as non-homologous to that of Pennisetum and constituting evidence of “a very isolated position.”  The author also asserts that “the vegetative structure of Kikuyuochloa [is] reason enough for generic recognition.”  Conspicuously absent is any kind of phylogenetic analysis or rationale.  It is rather surprising to us that there was no pre-existing generic name for this aberrant sp.; indeed, the author points out that it had not even received sectional or subsectional recognition within Pennisetum.  Includes a genus description (in Latin), a sp. description (English), synonymy and typology, representative (presumably) specimen citations, and a composite line drawing and photos of K. clandestina.

Szlachetko, D. L. & M. Smiszek.  2006[‘2007’]. Nouveaux genres dans le complexe Maxillaria (Orchidaceae).  Richardiana 7: 26–32.

Three more segregate genera are carved out of Maxillaria, with no phylogenetic evidence or rationale, merely because their members exhibit a “grande resemblance morphologique.”  These newly minted entities are typified and described, and new combinations are validated for the component spp. in the name of the first author.  Mercifully, two of these genera have no Costa Rican members (alhtough we suspect that Maxillaria schistostele Schltr. ought to have been assigned to Sauvetrea Szlach.).  However, three spp. represented in Costa Rica now have names in Adamanthus Szlach.:  Maxillaria dendrobioides (Schltr.) L. O. Williams, M. exaltata (Kraenzl.) C. Schweinf., and M. pittieri (Ames) L. O. Williams.  We feel reasonably certain that Maxillaria linearifolia Ames & C. Schweinf. should also have made this list [if it is maintained as distinct from M. graminifolia (Kunth) Rchb. f.].

Till, W. & M. H. J. Barfuss.  2006. Progress towards a new classification of Tillandsioideae.  J. Bromeliad Soc. 56: 253–259.

This is a popularized summary of results previously reported elsewhere [Barfuss et al., 2005; see The Cutting Edge 12(2): 4, Apr. 2005].  The authors now seem to be leaning in the direction of retaining Alcantarea and Werauhia, apparently wavering from their earlier position on this issue.  They put their fingers on one of the principal challenges facing modern systematics:  “molecular phylogenies...clearly demonstrate that the classification of the latest monograph is artificial,” while “traditional morphological characters fail to define the clades emerging from the DNA based studies.”

Tokuoka, T. & H. Tobe.  2006. Phylogenetic analyses of Malpighiales using plastid and nuclear DNA sequences, with particular reference to the embryology of Euphorbiaceae sens. str.  J. Pl. Res. 119: 599–616.

Only a few results of this extensive, but rather shallow, study are of passing interest to us; in particular, Lacistemataceae (represented by Lacistema) is confirmed as the sister taxon to Salicaceae, with bootstrap support of 99% (this just weeks after we decided to split Lacistemataceae off from Flacourtiaceae for the Manual).  Also receiving strong support (BS 98% or higher) are the previously proposed sister-group relationships of Chrysobalanaceae and Trigoniaceae, Elatinaceae and Malpighiaceae, Erythroxylaceae and Rhizophoraceae, Hypericaceae and Podostemaceae, and Passifloraceae and Turneraceae.  The separation of Phyllanthaceae and Putranjivaceae (with Drypetes) from Euphorbiaceae s. str. is validated, as is that of Achariaceae from Salicaceae.

Tucker, A. O. & R. F. C. Naczi.  2007. Mentha:  an overview of its classification and relationships.  Pp. 1–39 in, B. M. Lawrence (ed.), Mint:  the genus Mentha.  CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA.

This chapter—rather more authoritative and taxonomically useful than its counterparts in some other volumes of this series we have seen—embodies a concise and up-to-date synopsis of the systematics of Mentha (Lamiaceae), a horticulturally important genus of 18 (as accepted here) rampantly hybridizing spp.  Cladistic analysis of morphological, karyological, and phytochemical characters, involving all 18 spp., resolved four sections, each of which is formally described.  The spp. are separated by means of a curiously formated dichotomous key, following which the spp. (along with their infraspecific taxa) are enumerated with typology, important synonymy, and notes on distribution and habitat.  Eleven named hybrids (and their subordinated taxa) are treated likewise.  The introductory sections address taxonomic history, as well as the various characters (“Materials and Methods”) in relation to the cladistic analysis (“Results and Conclusions”).  Although Mentha is indigenous only in the Old World, at least one member of the genus has been found naturalized in Costa Rica and is treated in full in Amy Pool’s (MO) soon-to-be-published Manual Lamiaceae account, under the name Mentha ×piperita L. cultivar ‘Citrata.’  According to this overview, that entity should instead be called Mentha aquatica L. var. citrata (Ehrh.) Fresen.

Weigend, M., N. Dostert, T. Henning, C. Schneider & E. F. Rodríguez.  2006. Valid publication for 101 species and subspecies names of the genera Nasa and Aosa (Loasaceae: Cornales)/Publicación válida de 101 nombres de especies y subspecies [sic] de los géneros Nasa y Aosa (Loasaceae: Cornales).  Revista Peruana Biol. 13: 71–84.

As we previously reported, all of the new names in Loasaceae implemented by Maximilian Weigend (BSB) in his important 1997 Ph.D. dissertation were retroactively invalidated by a ruling in the Vienna Code, according to which his thesis does not qualify as having been effectively published.  Because the names of Weigend’s segregate (from Loasa) genera were themselves not valid, all subsequent new names and combinations for infrageneric taxa were dead on arrival, despite appearing in effectively published works.  Weigend began to rectify this situation by properly validating all of his genus names, along with the names of some infrageneric taxa [see The Cutting Edge 13(3): 14, Jul. 2006].  The outstanding infrageneric names were promised “in the near future,” and here they are, just in time for our purposes.  Most are in the name of Weigend alone, including the only three that we care about:  Nasa speciosa (Donn. Sm.) Weigend, N. triphylla (Juss.) Weigend, and N. t. subsp. rudis (Benth.) Weigend.  Interested readers can access this paper via the on-line version of this journal at:



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