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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XVI, Number 2, April 2009

News and Notes | Germane Literature | Season's Pick

Arbo, M. M. 2008. Estudios sistemáticos en Turnera (Turneraceae). IV. Series Leiocarpae, Conciliatae y Sessilifoliae. Bonplandia (Corrientes) 17: 107–334.

Our review of the last (third) installment of this series [see The Cutting Edge 13(2): 2, Apr. 2006] stated that eight of the nine series of the mainly neotropical genus Turnera had by that time been dispatched, leaving only ser. Leiocarpae Urb. Thus, by our reckoning, the present contribution concludes this monumental work (though no such claim seems to be made anywhere in the paper), even if the author has made life slightly more difficult for herself by describing two new series. These latter, mono- or dispecific and endemic to Brazil, are of no concern to us. However, ser. Leiocarpae, with 55 spp. “la más numerosa y compleja del género,” does send tentacles deep into the Mesoamerican region. Of the three spp. recorded from Mesoamerica, the most widespread in the region (and the only one here attributed to Costa Rica) is Turnera pumilea L., the autonymic var. of which extends northward to the Mexican states of Baja California Sur and Sinaloa. The other two might reasonably be expected in Costa Rica: Turnera curassavica Urb., which skips from Nicaragua to central Panama, and T. lineata Urb., recorded from westernmost Panama (Prov. Chiriquí). Indeed, the first Costa Rican collection of (ostensibly) T. curassavica, from the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca, was recently reported in these very pages [see The Cutting Edge 14(2): 3, Apr. 2007]—although, in view of the geographic circumstances, we will certainly want to recheck this specimen against T. lineata. Features a key to series (modified to include the two new ones), dichotomous and indented keys to the spp. of each polytypic series and (intespersed in the text) the vars. of particular spp., technical descriptions at all levels, distribution summaries and maps, exhaustive specimen citations, indices to exsiccatae and vulgar and scientific names, and excellent composite line drawings of many spp. Fifteen spp. are described as new, as well as three vars. (none of these novelties pertaining to Costa Rica). The total number of spp. in the genus, estimated at 122 in the previous installment, now stands at 142.

Blanco, M. A., G. Carnevali, D. Bogarín & R. B. Singer. 2008. Further disentanglement of a taxonomic puzzle: Maxillaria ramosa, Ornithidium pendulum, and a new species, O. elianae (Orchidaceae). Harvard Pap. Bot. 13: 137–154.

Let’s get right to the main point that concerns us: Ornithidium pendulum (Poepp. & Endl.) Cogn. [alternatively Maxillaria pendula (Poepp. & Endl.) C. Schweinf.] is reported for the first time from Costa Rica, on the basis of a specimen collected in sterile condition at CATIE, Turrialba (presumably in the wild), and later coaxed into flower at the Jardín Botánico Lankester. This widespread sp., mainly South American but also recorded from Guatemala and Nicaragua, has long been known by the misapplied name Maxillaria ramosa Ruiz & Pav. (used in Flora de Nicaragua). Nomenclature is a major focus of this paper, but we also get exhaustive descriptions, distribution summaries, comprehensive specimen citations, and excellent composite line drawings for both O. pendulum and the new sp. (of Venezuela and the Guyanas).

Brummitt, R. K. 2009. Report of the Nomenclature Committee for Vascular Plants: 60. Taxon 58: 280–292.

A few items of marginal interest: conservation of Marattiaceae vs. the prior Danaeaceae is recommended unanimously, and that of Phyllanthaceae vs. Picrodendraceae by a majority; at sp. rank, unanimous approval is conferred upon the proposed conservation of Melampodium ruderale Sw. [the basionym of Eleutheranthera ruderalis (Sw.) Sch. Bip.] vs. Eleutheranthera ovata Poit. (Asteraceae), as well as that of Acacia collinsii Saff. vs. A. glutea Ram. Goyena (Fabaceae/Mimosoideae), while a majority recommends that Hibiscus brasiliensis L. (Malvaceae) be rejected (thereby removing a threat to H. phoeniceus Jacq., already used as an accepted name in the Manual). All told, we count 33 proposals for conservation or rejection that are ruled upon here, all but two of which are recommended (and one of the two rejections was because the proposal was deemed unnecessary). Clearly, this has become a rubber-stamp sort of operation.

Christenson, E. A. 2008. Maxillaria cedralensis. Orchids S. Africa 39(2): 56–57.

In this unlikely place are published what are believed to be the first color photos of the sp. known most recently as Camaridium cedralense (J. T. Atwood & Mora-Ret.) M. A. Blanco (Orchidaceae). How this rare sp. (previously known by only about five collections) came to be grown by “Scott and Gwen Dallas of White Oak Orchids in Pacifica, California” is anybody’s guess

Cornejo, X. & H. H. Iltis. 2008. A revision of the American species of the genus Crateva (Capparaceae). Harvard Pap. Bot. 13: 121–135.

Crateva is a genus of 12 spp., eight of which are strictly paleotropical (including ca. five spp. endemic to Madagascar). This treatment (really more of a synopsis than a revision) deals with the remaining four, which are rather widely scattered in the Neotropics. Suffice it to say that there is nothing new here for us: Costa Rica retains the same two spp. we have known for many years, Crateva palmeri Rose (restricted in Costa Rica to the Guanacaste region) and C. tapia L. (widespread both in Costa Rica and throughout the Neotropics). Features a genus description, dichotomous key to spp., synonymy and typology, distribution summaries, and comprehensive specimen citations. Species descriptions are omitted (with references to other sources), except for a Peruvian sp. described as new. Distribution maps and illustrations are provided only for the two spp. not occurring in Central America.

-- & --. 2008. The reinstatement of Capparidastrum (Capparaceae). Harvard Pap. Bot. 13: 229–236.

The authors cite molecular evidence suggesting that the ca. 110 spp. of New World Capparis s. l. belong to a different lineage from the Old World members of the genus (including the type sp.), and state that “the New World Capparis s. l. need to be redefined and renamed.” They then proceed to break off a small chunk (15 spp.) of the New World contingent under the genus name Capparidastrum (DC.) Hutch., based mainly on morphological consideratons, while invoking no molecular rationale for this particular action. Four spp. occurring in Costa Rica are swept up in this segregate, representing each of the three subgenera that also make their debut here: Capparidastrum frondosum (Jacq.) Cornejo & Iltis (C. subgen. Capparidastrum); C. discolor (Donn. Sm.) Cornejo & Iltis and C. mollicellum (Standl.) Cornejo & Iltis (C. subgen. Pulviniglans Cornejo & Iltis); and C. pachaca (Kunth) Hutch. (C. subgen. Pachycarpum Cornejo & Iltis). The last-named sp. is inexplicably not attributed to Costa Rica, although it is recorded from there (on the basis of determinations by the second author) in the form of Capparidastrum pachaca subsp. oxysepalum (C. Wright ex Radlk.) Iltis. This is a synoptic treatment, with a detailed genus description (but much briefer ones for the subgenera and none at lower levels), a key to subgenera (but none to spp.), full synonymy (but typology only for accepted names), distribution summaries, and a brief enumeration of rejected names. There are no maps, illustrations, or indices. A supplementary key (at the end of the paper) separates the “glabrous or simple-pubescent American genera of Capparaceae with simple leaves” (of which there are four).

Cremers, G. & R. L. L. Viane. 2008. Lectotypifications of some American Asplenium taxa (Aspleniaceae – Pteridophyta). Syst. Geogr. Pl. 78: 217–229.

This we note only in passing, as it deals almost exclusively with obscure names and synonyms, many at infraspecific rank and/or applying to South American taxa. No established usages appear to be affected.

Duno de Stefano, R. 2008. El género Discophora Miers (Stemonuraceae) en el Neotrópico. Candollea 63: 177–187.

This marks the second revision of a genus traditionally included in Icacinaceae to be published by this author during the two years since the appearance of the Manual treatment of that family by co-PI Barry Hammel. As in the case of the first such revision [of Dendrobangia; see The Cutting Edge 14(4): 6–7, Oct. 2007], this one entails few if any significant changes for us: Discophora remains a genus of just two spp. with D. guianensis Miers the accepted name for the more widespread of these (the only one reaching Costa Rica). Features technical genus and sp. descriptions, synonymy and typology, a key to spp., distribution summaries, specimen citations (representative, for D. guianensis), distribution maps, and rather basic composite line drawings of both spp. The brief introductory part highlights details of pollen morphology and anatomy.

Faden, R. B. 2008. The author and typification of Tradescantia zebrina (Commelinaceae). Kew Bull. 63: 679–680.

The argument is put forth that Tradescantia zebrina hort. ex Heynh. (1847), as used in the Manual, constitutes an incorrect citation, as Heynhold did not provide a validating description, merely the word “zebrastreisige,” a translation of the specific epithet. This stops short of the full truth: Heynhold also appended a symbol, resembling some versions of the number 4, meaning “perennial.” Whatever the case, this author prefers to accept the first valid publication of T. zebrina as that of Bosse (1849), who “provides a description of the habit, leaves and flowers that is clearly adequate for a species description.” Rather than “Tradescantia zebrina hort. ex Bosse,” Faden (ironically, a coauthor of the Manual Commelinaceae treatment) instead opts for “Heynh. ex Bosse”; however, this cannot be correct, since Bosse made no allusion to Heynhold. Thus, if Heynhold cannot be accepted as the author of the name, “hort. ex Bosse” would seem to be the only alternative. Incidentally, T. zebrina is also neotypified, on a Mexican collection.

Griffith, M. P. & J. M. Porter. 2009. Phylogeny of Opuntioideae (Cactaceae). Int. J. Pl. Sci. 170: 107–116.

Its authors claim that this study “clearly demonstrates the artificiality of Opuntia sensu lato”, but of course, that statement incorporates the assumption that 15 segregate genera fancied by contemporary cactophiles (e.g., Austrocylindropuntia, Corynopuntia, Cylindropuntia, etc.) are unassailable. Twelve of these segregates were still included in Opuntia by late family specialist Lyman Benson as recently as 1982 (The cacti of the United States and Canada). Had the cladograms from this study been available at that date, with the terminal taxa named according to the prevailing taxonomy, the systematist seeking to constrain Opuntia as monophyletic might have viewed the situation as follows: Opuntia is paraphyletic with respect to three oligotypic genera (Pereskiopsis, Quiabentia, and Tacinga); would nomenclatural stability be better served by sinking these three genera, with a total of 14 spp., or by splitting off 12 segregate genera, with a total of about 100 spp.? Quite an easy choice but, as we have often observed, once taxonomists embark on the path of splitting, it is difficult for them to turn back. In any case, the implications of this paper for Costa Rican floristics are minimal. Nested deep within Opuntia s. str. (the flat-stemmed spp.) is the segregate genus Nopalea, represented in Costa Rica by Opuntia lutea (Rose) D. R. Hunt and the cultivated O. cochenillifera (L.) Mill.; while the authors can scarcely hide their affection for this “morphologically distinct and cohesive” taxon, they allow that it “may be sunk into a slightly wider Opuntia (yet not as wide as Opuntia sensu Benson).” The alternative, of course, would be to carve out yet another half dozen or so segregates (we are girding ourselves). The monotypic Brasiliopuntia, also cultivated in Costa Rica, is basal to Opuntia s. str. and could be maintained more defensibly as a distinct genus. All other Opuntia spp. known to us as native or cultivated in Costa Rica would fall safely, we think, into Opuntia s. str.

Gutiérrez, D. G. 2008. Understanding Oligactis (Asteraceae: Liabeae): the true identity of O. sessiliflora and O. volubilis. J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 2: 1207–1213.

This paper has inspired us to attempt to piece together the story of a sp. that is obscure and seldom collected in Central America, and of which we have until now been quite ignorant. Costa Rican material of this sp. was first described as Liabum valerioi Standl. (1938), which later came to form the basis of Oligactis valerioi (Standl.) H. Rob. & Brettell (1974). Subsequently, both of the last-mentioned names apparently came to be regarded as synonyms of Oligactis volubilis (Kunth.) Cass. (exactly when and by whom we have not been able to trace). We find no Costa Rican specimens under any of these names in TROPICOS, and just one from Panama (under O. volubilis). Not everyone is in the dark, however, as INBio’s ATTA database contains five Costa Rican collections under O. volubilis, from 1900–2600 m on both slopes of the Cordillera de Talamanca, mostly determined by INB family specialist Alexánder Rodríguez. However, according to this paper, the real Oligactis volubilis is restricted to Colombia, and material from Costa Rica, Panama, and Venezuela must instead be called O. sessiliflora (Kunth) DC. (which also occurs in Colombia). A key is provided to distinguish these and two other spp. (comprising Oligactis subgen. Oligactis), and the real O. volubilis (with narrower, entire leaves and fewer flowers per capitulum) is depicted in a superb composite line drawing and photos of type material.

Hadiah, J. T., B. J. Conn & C. J. Quinn. 2008. Infra-familial phylogeny of Urticaceae, using chloroplast sequence data. Austral. Syst. Bot. 21: 375–385.

Perhaps the best evidence yet that “Cecropiaceae should be reduced to the synonymy of Urticaceae,” and is not “a distinct family intermediate between Moraceae and Urticaceae,” as has been suggested. Additionally, both Boehmeria and Laportea appear to be paraphyletic (the former rather alarmingly so).

Hammel, B. E. 2009. A new species of Cyclanthera (Cucurbitaceae) from Alajuela Province, Costa Rica. Novon 19: 49–51.

Oddly, all 10 known collections of Cyclanthera lalajuela Hammel & J. A. González are from Prov. Alajuela, Costa Rica, a political subdivision of little biogeographic relevance. The new sp. is highly distinctive by virtue of its trifoliolate leaves with conspicuous basal glands, subentire leaflets, and unarmed fruits. The sp. epithet is derived from the original name of the town from which the provincial name was derived. Illustrated with a fine composite line drawing by principal Manual artist Silvia Troyo.

-- & X. Cornejo. 2009. Forestiera isabelae (Oleaceae), una especie nueva para Costa Rica. Novon 19: 52–55.

The new sp. of the title corresponds to Forestiera sp. A of the recently published (2007) Manual Oleaceae treatment. It differs markedly from its two congeners in Costa Rica by its larger leaves, petaliferous flowers, larger fruits, and lowland habitat, and is compared instead with Forestiera corollata Cornejo & Wallander (of northern Mesoamerica), F. ecuadorensis Cornejo & Bonifaz, and the Caribbean F. rhamnifolia Griseb. The new sp. is confined to a tiny area (less that 1 km2) near the southern tip of the Península de Nicoya that is (ironically) threatened by development for “ecotourism.” Within this area it is still relatively abundant, with perhaps 100 individuals known. The epithet honors the first author’s wife and field companion, Isabel Pérez Blanco (INB), and for this reason the citation must be corrected to Forestiera isabeliae Hammel & Cornejo. Manual artist Silvia Troyo rendered the excellent composite line drawing.

Hansen, H. V. & K. I. Christensen. 2009. The common chamomile and the scentless mayweed revisited. Taxon 58: 261–264.

Skip most of this and go directly to the last sentence, which may itself be usefully condensed as follows: “In conclusion...we here accept...the naming of these species as set out by Applequist (2002).” End of story. Our readers may recall that the last-named author [see The Cutting Edge 10(2): 5, Apr. 2003] had reinstated Matricaria chamomilla L. (Asteraceae)—the same name used in Standley’s Flora of Costa Rica!—for the common chamomile, a mildly important economic sp. in Costa Rica. If nothing else, this revisitation serves to establish a small consensus on the issue.

Katinas, L., J. Pruski, G. Sancho & M. C. Tellería. 2008. The subfamily Mutisioideae (Asteraceae). Bot. Rev. (Lancaster) 74: 469–716.

This handy compendium rather exceeds the requirements of a mere nomenclator and verges on a synoptic treatment. Asteraceae subfam. Mutisioideae comprises 74 genera and ca. 865 spp., and is largely (though by no means exclusively) neotropical. Lengthy technical descriptions are provided for the subfam. and each of its three tribes, plus a dichotomous, indented key to the tribes and, within each tribe, similar keys to genera. Each genus entry also includes a concise description, as well as etymology, a distribution summary, and a list of accepted spp. Synonymy is provided down to the level of genus, and typology to the level of sp. The genera are depicted in reduced line drawings, sometimes representing more than one sp. As far as we can tell, the only genera of subfam. Mutisioideae occurring naturally in Costa Rica are Chaptalia, Jungia, Lycoseris, Onoseris, and Trixis.

Kellogg, E. A., S. S. Aliscioni, O. Morrone, J. Pensiero & F. Zuloaga. 2009. A phylogeny of Setaria (Poaceae, Panicoideae, Paniceae) and related genera based on the chloroplast gene ndhF. Int. J. Pl. Sci. 170: 117–131.

Setaria, as currently accepted, is not monophyletic, and the authors suspect that it “will ultimately be split into several genera.” Paspalidium has sometimes been included in Setaria (though it was accepted in the Manual), but that notion is rejected by the data from this study (though several “putatively intermediate species” were unavailable). We learn in passing that the name Setaria paniculifera (Steud.) E. Fourn. ex Hemsl., accepted in the Manual, was synonymized under S. palmifolia (J. Koenig) Stapf in a 1999 revision by one of these authors (Pensiero) that we overlooked.

Knapp, S. 2008. Lectotypification of Ruiz and Pavón’s names in Solanum (Solanaceae). Anales Jard. Bot. Madrid 65: 307–329.

These 41 lectotypifications appear to have no impact on Costa Rican floristics, and many of the names involved apply to extralimital spp. All the types are illustrated with color photos.

Lehnert, M. 2008. On the identification of Cyathea pallescens (Sodiro) Domin (Cyatheaceae): typifications, reinstatements and new descriptions of common Neotropical ferns. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 158: 621–649.

This we note only in passing, as it deals with just one sp. known from Costa Rica, Cyathea divergens Kunze, included (with a short description) mainly for comparative purposes. As far as we can tell, there is no change in the circumscription of C. divergens. Features a dichotomous (though non-indented) key to the Cyathea spp. “with bipinnate-pinnatifid or more complex laminae from continental South America” (C. divergens being one of these).

Lobo Cabezas, S. 2008. Primera documentación de Chloris virgata (Poaceae) en Costa Rica. Brenesia 69: 71–72.

The practically cosmopolitan Chloris virgata Sw. seemed to skip from northern Nicaragua to central Panama, with no records close enough to Costa Rica to merit even so much as a mention in the Manual. Now that sizeable gap has been plugged on the basis of two specimens collected by the author, CR curator Silvia Lobo (lately specializing in Poaceae), at 800–850 m elevation near Santa Ana, on the Pacific slope of the Valle Central. Specimens examined from throughout the Mesoamerican region are cited.

Molina, J. & L. Struwe. 2008. Revision of ring-gentians (Symbolanthus, Gentianaceae) from Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru, with a first assessment of conservation status. Syst. Biodivers. 6: 477–501.

Of course, this contribution lies largely outside our sphere, but nonetheless carries important implications for Costa Rican floristics. Since 1982, the mainly Andean genus Symbolanthus has been widely (though not universally) accepted as comprising just three spp., as according to a never-published Dutch Ph.D. dissertation in which the name S. calygonus (Ruiz & Pav.) Griseb., based on a Peruvian type, was broadly applied to include Central American populations. Prior to that, Symbolanthus pulcherrimus Gilg (typified by a Costa Rican specimen) was the name of choice in Costa Rica and Panama (as in the Flora of Panama). The present paper accepts 13 Symbolanthus spp. for the area indicated in the title, and estimates “no less than 30 species in the genus.” Symbolanthus calygonus itself is applied to a sp. that is narrowly endemic to a small area of Peru. In the introduction (p. 4), we learn informally that the name S. pulcherrimus (“of Costa Rica and Panama”) is to be restored to Central American plants.

Monro, A. K. 2009. Two new species and a nomenclatural synopsis of Myriocarpa (Urticaceae) from Mesoamerica. Novon 19: 85–95.

The new spp. do not concern us, and there is little else new here from a Costa Rican perspective. Four spp. are attributed to Costa Rica: Myriocarpa bifurca Liebm. (mainly of drier areas on the Pacific slope), M. cordifolia Liebm. (principally montane), M. longipes Liebm. (the common sp. of humid lowlands), and M. obovata Donn. Sm. (local on the central Pacific slope). This is double the number of spp. included in William Burger’s (1977) Flora costaricensis treatment, which accounted for only M. cordifolia and M. longipes; however, we have long been aware of the two additional spp. One mild surprise is the citation of a specimen (McDowell 934) of M. cordifolia from the Estación Biológica La Selva, a bastion for M. longipes. This we will certainly have to follow up on. Features a brief genus description, separate keys (dichotomous and indented) to staminate and pistillate material, full synonymy and typology (including three lectotypifications and one neotypification), distribution summaries, representative specimen citations, and composite line drawings of the two new spp.

Morales, J. F., N. Zamora & B. Herrera. 2007. Análisis de la vegetación en la franja altitudinal de 800–1500 m.s.n.m. en la vertiente pacífica del Parque Internacional La Amistad (PILA), Costa Rica. Brenesia 68: 1–15.

Ten Gentry-style transects were implemented and analyzed in both disturbed and undisturbed forest at each of five elevational belts (800, 900, 1100, 1300, and 1500 m) on the Pacific slope of the Costa Rican Cordillera de Talamanca. Forest architecture and floristic composition are briefly described, separately for each transect. Taxonomic diversity (based on plants with a stem diameter of at least 2.5 cm) was greatest at 900 m, especially in disturbed forest, and lowest in disturbed forest at 800 m. Abundance (number of individuals) was highest in disturbed forest at 1100 m, followed by undisturbed forest at 900 m. Certain families (especially Melastomataceae) were most diverse in disturbed forest, others (especially Lauraceae) in undisturbed forest.

Mouly, A., S. G. Razafimandimbison, A. Khodabandeh & B. Bremer. 2009. Phylogeny and classification of the species-rich pantropical showy genus Ixora (Rubiaceae-Ixoreae) with indications of geographical monophyletic units and hybrids. Amer. J. Bot. 96: 686–706.

Ixora proves paraphyletic with respect to eight oligotypic, mostly Old World satellite genera, a development with potentially dire consequences for the two native spp. occurring in Costa Rica, since the neotropical Ixora spp. occupy a clade far removed from that harboring the generic type (I. coccinea L., familiar in cultivation). However, disaster is averted as the authors sagely opt to resolve the problem by lumping the satellite genera, going so far as to validate all the necessary new combinations at sp. rank.

Ojeda, I., G. Carnevali Fernández-Concha & G. A. Romero-González. 2009. Nitidobulbon, a new genus of Maxillariinae (Orchidaceae). Novon 19: 96–101.

With the publication of this paper, the break-up of Maxillaria s. l. (in the sense of the Manual), initiated and already largely implemented [see The Cutting Edge 15(2): 3–4, Apr. 2008] by a large team counting these authors among its members, is essentially complete. Nitidobulbon Ojeda, Carnevali & G. A. Romero, the last proposed segregate to receive a genus name, comprises three spp., distributed from southern Mexico to Bolivia and Venezuela and the Guianas. By far the most widespread of these, and the only one occurring in Costa Rica, is Nitidobulbon nasutum (Rchb. f.) Ojeda & Carnevali (Maxillaria nasuta Rchb. f. of the Manual). Features synonymy and typology at all levels, a detailed genus description, dichotomous (but non-indented) keys to Nitidobulbon and closely related genera (Heterotaxis and Ornithidium) and to the spp. of Nitidobulbon, and a distribution summary for each sp. Two of the spp. (including N. nasutum) are depicted in fine composite line drawings.

Oliveira, R. C. & J. F. M. Valls. 2008. Novos sinônimos e occorências em Paspalum L. (Poaceae). Hoehnea 35: 289–295.

We could squeeze just one small item of interest to us out of this paper: the synonymization of Paspalum guaricense Swallen under P. centrale Chase extends the range of the latter sp. at least to Venezuela and Brazil (as opposed to the southern limit of “Pan.” indicated in the Manual).

Ormerod, P. 2008. Studies of neotropical Goodyerinae (Orchidaceae) 3. Harvard Pap. Bot. 13: 55–87.

This paper describes 38 new taxa in the genera Aspidogyne, Kreodanthus, Ligeophila, and (especially) Microchilus (all subsumed within Erythrodes in the Manual). Just one of these novelties pertains directly to Costa Rica: Kreodanthus curvatus Ormerod, based on two collections from 2400–2800 m elevation in the Cordillera Central (Volcán Barva) and eastern Cordillera de Talamanca. It bears mentioning, however, that two other spp. said to be closely related are described simultaneously from western Panama (Kreodanthus bugabae Ormerod and K. sytsmae Ormerod). All the taxa described here as new are depicted in much reduced composite line drawings. Our running total of new Costa Rican orchid spp. published since 1993 now stands at 263.

Provance, M. C., I. García Ruiz & A. C. Sanders. 2008. The Diospyros salicifolia complex (Ebenaceae) in Mesoamerica. J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 2: 1009–1100.

Just under the wire for our next Manual volume comes this lengthy and detailed study of the group that includes the most familiar and frequently collected Diospyros sp. in Costa Rica. We first learned this sp., of relatively dry forests, as D. nicaraguensis (Standl.) Standl., but in recent years have become accustomed to using the name D. salicifolia Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd. Now, in a stunning development, both of those names are out the door, where Costa Rica is concerned, and replaced by the relatively obscure Diospyros acapulcensis Kunth. This is especially surprising, since the types of D. acapulcensis and D. salicifolia were collected approximately in the same place (“near Acapulco”), and D. salicifolia is the older name (indeed, the oldest sp. name in the complex). So how could this happen? As it turns out, three of the four spp. comprising the Diospyros salicifolia complex occur sym- or parapatrically in the immediate vicinity of Acapulco, and the sp. represented by the type of D. salicifolia is essentially restricted to that tiny area. The type of Diospyros acapulcensis, on the other hand, corresponds to a sp. that extends southward to at least Panama (South American material was not considered for this study), in which region nine subspp. have been discriminated by these authors. Our old D. nicaraguensis is the basis for one of these subspp., but it does not occur in Costa Rica. Two others do: the endemic D. acapulcensis subsp. guanacastensis Provance, I. García & A. C. Sanders and (in generally lower and drier areas) D. a. subsp. rivensis Provance, I. García & A. C. Sanders, which also ranges into Nicaragua. These two subspp. are distinguished on the basis of somewhat subtle details of leaf shape and pubescence, and numerous intermediate specimens are cited (in an appendix). Features indented, dichotomous keys to spp. and subspp., synonymy and typology, very extensive descriptions at all levels, specimen citations (sometimes representative), distribution maps, and a variety of illustrations (composite line drawings and photos of living and herbarium material). There are no indices. The introductory part is focused mainly on characterization of the complex, consideration of critical type specimens, and taxonomic concepts.

Pruesapan, K., I. R. H. Telford, J. J. Bruhl, S. G. A. Draisma & P. C. Van Welzen. 2008. Delimitation of Sauropus (Phyllanthaceae) based on plastid matK and nuclear ribosomal ITS DNA sequence data. Ann. Bot. (Oxford) 102: 1007–1018.

Sauropus is diphyletic, and the portion including the type sp. is paraphyletic with respect to Breynia. The authors thus conclude that the portion of Sauropus not including the type sp. should be recognized as a distinct genus under the name Synostemon F. Muell., while the portion including the type should be combined with Breynia under the latter name (which is older). However, they take no formal action in this regard. For us, this would mean only that Sauropus androgynus (L.) Merr., sparingly cultivated in Costa Rica, would need to be transferred to Breynia. On the other hand, as aknowledged by these authors, both of these genera are themselves “deeply embedded within Phyllanthus,” and could ultimately wind up submerged therein [see also The Cutting Edge 13(3): 8, Jul. 2006].

Pupulin, F. 2008. Epidendra, il database botanico on-line dell’Orto Botanico Lankester dell’Università di Costarica/Epidendra, the on-line botanical databases of Jardín Botánico Lankester at the University of Costa Rica. Caesiana 31: 1–7.

Here is everything you may wish to know, in two languages (Italian/English), about the orchid database recently made available on-line by the Jardín Botánico Lankester [see also The Cutting Edge 15(4): 1, Oct. 2008]. Richly illustrated with color images.

--, R. L. Dressler & H. Medina. 2009. A revision of the white-flowered species of Chondroscaphe (Orchidaceae: Zygopetalinae). Orchid Digest 73: 32–51.

Here is an oddity: an Orchidaceae revision that actually results in a net loss of spp. for Costa Rica! The 2003 Manual treatment of Chondroscaphe, by one of these authors (Dressler), accepted four spp. for the country, and one other, C. yamilethiae Pupulin, was described later [see The Cutting Edge 13(3): 11–12, Jul. 2006]. All five of these names refer to white-flowered spp., and are thus accounted for in this treatment. However, just three names are here accepted for spp. occurring in Costa Rica: Chondroscaphe atrilinguis Dressler, C. bicolor (Rolfe) Dressler, and C. yamilethiae. Left out in the cold are Chondroscaphe endresii Schltr. and C. laevis Dressler, both now regarded as synonyms of C. bicolor. Includes a dichotomous and indented key to spp., synonymy and typology, detailed descriptions, specimen citations (sometimes representative), distribution summaries, and at least one composite line drawing for most of the eight spp. treated. Key morphological features are discussed at length in the introductory part, and fine color photos (many from life) are scattered throughout. One new sp. is described, irrelevant to us.

Rico Arce, M. de L., S. L. Gale & N. Maxted. 2008. A taxonomic study of Albizia (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae: Ingeae) in Mexico and Central America. Anales Jard. Bot. Madrid 65: 255–305.

The circumscription of Albizia, a bewildering pantropical assemblage of perhaps 150 spp., has long been debated. Eventually it may well suffer the same fate as Acacia (i.e., atomization), but the resolution of that phylogenetic problem is not the subject of this α-taxonomic revision. Instead, these authors adopt substantially the same generic concept that the first author has adhered to in most of her recent work (e.g., Flora de Nicaragua): including Balizia and Pseudosamanea (both accepted as distinct by some other contemporary workers), though now excluding Samanea. That accomplished, there is very little here that is new for us. Twelve spp. are treated for the region specified in the title, of which five occur in Costa Rica: Albizia adinocephala (Donn. Sm.) Britton & Rose ex Record, A. carbonaria Britton (introduced, though native in eastern Panama), A. duckeana L. Rico [better known to us as Balizia elegans (Ducke) Barneby & J. W. Grimes], A. guachapele (Kunth) Dugand [AKA Pseudosamanea guachapele (Kunth) Harms], and A. niopoides (Spruce ex Benth.) Burkart. Two other spp. might reasonably be expected: Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth., a widely introduced Asian sp. that has been collected in both Nicaragua and Panama; and A. pedicellaris (DC.) L. Rico, collected four times in southeastern Nicaragua. The latter sp. is also known as Balizia pedicellaris (DC.) Barneby & J. W. Grimes, and seems rather tenuously separated (at least in terms of the Mesoamerican material) from B. elegans (i.e., Albizia duckeana). Includes dichotomous (though non-indented) keys to spp. and vars., full synonymy and typology, detailed sp. descriptions, distribution and phenology summaries, representative specimen citations (with a Web site referenced for full citations), distribution maps, and an index to exsiccatae. There is no formal genus description, but morphological characters and karyology are discussed in the introductory part. Most of the taxa treated are illustrated with composite line drawings or photos of herbarium specimens. Three new combinations (none pertinent to Costa Rica) are validated at varietal rank.

Rodríguez, A. & A. K. Monro. 2008. Cinco nuevas especies de Pilea (Urticaceae) de Costa Rica. J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 2: 995–1007.

Manual Urticaceae contributor Alexánder Rodríguez (INB) joins forces with BM family specialist Alexandre K. Monro to dispatch these five new spp., all endemic to Costa Rica, and all but one to the Cordillera de Talamanca. The exception is Pilea moragana Al. Rodr. & A. K. Monro (apparently honoring long-time parataxonomist Marcos Moraga), known only from the Península de Osa and compared with P. acuminata Liebm. and allies. The four Talamancan novelties are: Pilea alfaroana Al. Rodr. & A. K. Monro (dedicated to former parataxonomist Evelio Alfaro) and P. gamboana Al. Rodr. & A. K. Monro (for veteran parataxonomist Billen Gamboa), both of the Pacific slope, the former compared to P. pubescens Liebm. and the latter to P. pittieri Killip; and P. herrerae Al. Rodr. & A. K. Monro (yet another nod to the legendary Gerardo Herrera) and P. longibracteolata Al. Rodr., A. K. Monro & L. Acosta, both of the Atlantic slope, the former compared to P. costaricensis Donn. Sm. and the latter noteworthy for the very large bracteoles of its staminate inflorescences. All are illustrated with fine composite line drawings by our own Silvia Troyo.

Rojas Alvarado, A. F. 2007. New species in Megalastrum subincisum complex (Dryopteridaceae) from Costa Rica. Brenesia 68: 17–24.

Two new spp., both endemic to Costa Rica, are concocted from material that has been variously identified in the past as Megalastrum atrogriseum (C. Chr.) A. R. Sm. & R. C. Moran, M. pulverulentum (Poir.) A. R. Sm. & R. C. Moran, M. skutchii (Lellinger) A. R. Sm. & R. C. Moran, or M. subincisum (Willd.) A. R. Sm. & R. C. Moran. Megalastrum dentatum A. Rojas has been found at 1100–2200 m elevation in the Cordilleras Central and de Talamanca, while M. longipilosum A. Rojas is widespread from 0–1700 m. Three vars. of M. longipilosum are distinguished from the outset: M. l. var. glabrescens A. Rojas and the autonymic var. are both widely distributed, while M. l. var. glandulosum A. Rojas is known by just two collections from the Península de Osa. A dichotomous (though non-indented) key is provided for the spp. of Megalastrum in Costa Rica (from which it is evident that all four spp. mentioned in the first sentence of this paragraph do indeed occur in the country). All of the new taxa save Megalastrum longipilosum var. glabrescens are illustrated with composite line drawings. It seems unlikely that this issue of Brenesia, which just reached our shores, was really published in 2007, but we could find no more precise indication of the publication date.

--. 2008. Novelties of grammitid ferns (Polypodiaceae) from Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia. MES 3(2): 12–22.

Four spp. are described as new in the genus Terpsichore, of which two occur in Costa Rica. Terpsichore acrosora A. Rojas, a Talamancan sp. ranging into western Panama, is most similar to T. cultrata (Willd.) A. R. Sm., but occurs at somewhat lower elevations. Also compared with T. cultrata, but growing at higher elevations, is Terpsichore smithii A. Rojas, which ranges from the Costa Rican Cordillera Central to Colombia. The last-mentioned sp. honors venerated pteridologist Alan R. Smith (UC). In another development, the new combination Terpsichore fabispora (Copel.) A. Rojas (based on Ctenopteris fabispora Copel.) is validated, and the name applied to material from Costa Rica and Panama that has previously been called (e.g., in Flora mesoamericana Vol. 1) T. lanigera (Desv.) A. R. Sm.; the latter, we gather, is restricted to South America. Also, a Colombian collection is cited for Terpsichore esquiveliana A. Rojas, recently described as a Costa Rican endemic [see The Cutting Edge 9(2): 9, Apr. 2002]. All of the new spp. are depicted in composite line drawings (N.B.: acrosora is misrendered as acroloba in the caption of Fig. 1).

--. 2008. Lista de los helechos (Pteridophyta) y lycófitos (Lycopodiophyta) de la Reserva Biológica Alberto Manuel Brenes, Costa Rica. MES 3(3): 1–12.

The study site, formerly known as the Reserva Forestal San Ramón, is located on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Tilarán, where it occupies about 7800 ha at elevations ranging from 550–1650 m. From this area is recorded a total of 281 spp. of ferns and their allies, representing 72 genera and 20 families. Most diverse, among the genera, are Elaphoglossum (40 spp.), Diplazium (21 spp.), Thelypteris (17 spp.), and Hymenophyllum (16 spp.). Terrestrial and epiphytic spp. are about equally apportioned. The sp. total is exactly 100 more than have been attributed to the Estación Biológica La Selva. This is not especially surprising, since the Reserva Biológica Brenes is about five times larger than La Selva and spans an altitudinal gradient more than 12 times as great, in fern habitat that is uniformly richer than that at La Selva. Indeed, we would expect the sp. total for the Brenes reserve to climb much higher yet. The vouchered checklist is ordered alphabetically, by family, and annotated to indicate habit (arborescent, herbaceous, climbing, scandent) and habitat (epiphytic, epilithic, hemiepiphytic, terrestrial) types. Also flagged are spp. new to science (these either already published, or as yet unnamed) and new to Costa Rica. Three spp. fall into the latter category: Dennstaedtia macrosora Navarr. & B. Øllg. (apparently otherwise known from Ecuador), Elaphoglossum setosum (Liebm.) T. Moore, and Hymenophyllum maxonii Christ ex C. V. Morton. However, H. maxonii was long ago reported from La Selva (see Grayum & Churchill, Selbyana 11: 70. 1989), and we find several Costa Rican records of E. setosum in TROPICOS, dating back to 1959.

Romero-González, G. A., J. A. N. Batista & L. B. Bianchetti. 2008. A synopsis of the genus Cyrtopodium (Catasetinae: Orchidaceae). Harvard Pap. Bot. 13: 189–206.

We had already divulged our error in overlooking a 1999 paper in which it was established that the name Cyrtopodium paniculatum (Ruiz & Pav.) Garay, accepted in the Manual for the sole sp. of this genus occurring in Costa Rica, was misapplied to Central American material, and should be replaced by C. macrobulbon (Lex.) G. A. Romero & Carnevali [see The Cutting Edge 13(3): 15, Jul. 2006]. That fact is reiterated here (though, inexplicably, C. macrobulbon is not attributed to Costa Rica). This work scarcely qualifies as a synopsis, rather as more of a nomenclator, listing all names that have been proposed in the genus, with synonymy and general distribution indicated for the accepted names in Cyrtopodium (50 in all).

Sánchez-del-Pino, I., T. Borsch & T. J. Motley. 2009. TrnL-F and rpl16 sequence data and dense taxon sampling reveal monophyly of unilocular anthered Gomphrenoideae (Amaranthaceae) and an improved picture of their internal relationships. Syst. Bot. 34: 57–67.

The only result of this study of interest to us is that the small genus Blutaparon appears nested within Gomphrena. For the record, the name Gomphrena vermiculare L. is already available for the single Costa Rican representative of the former genus [which we first learned as Philoxerus vermicularis (L.) R. Br. ex Sm.].

Scheen, A.-C. & V. A. Albert. 2009. Molecular phylogenetics of the Leucas group (Lamioideae; Lamiaceae). Syst. Bot. 34: 1713–181.

The titular group is strictly Old World, but does include one pantropical weed, in the otherwise African genus Leonotis, that is of occasional occurrence in Costa Rica. This study corroborates previous analyses of morphological data in portraying Leonotis as nested within the more widespread Leucas. Furthermore, Leonotis is not even monophyletic, its spp. commingled with Leucas spp. in several different clades. Various other issues further complicate the picture, and “more data are needed to sort out the difficult situation.”

Schulte, K. & G. Zizka. 2008. Multi locus plastid phylogeny of Bromelioideae (Bromeliaceae) and the taxonomic utility of petal appendages and pollen characters. Candollea 63: 209–225.

Aechmea, in its traditional broad sense, is not monophyletic, but then again, neither are several of the segregate genera that have been proposed (e.g., Aechmea s. str., Chevaliera, Platyaechmea, and Pothuava). The monospecific Androlepis (comprising A. skinneri Brongn. ex Houllet) shares a clade with Aechmea lueddemanniana (K. Koch) Brongn. ex Mez and Aechmea mexicana Baker, representing the segregate genus Podaechmea. “Further studies” are, of course, needed.

Solano Peralta, D. 2008. Talamancalia boquetensis (Asteraceae), un nuevo registro en la flora de Costa Rica. Brenesia 69: 73–74.

This will be very stale news for our readers, as it was reported in these pages fully five years ago [see The Cutting Edge 11(1): 2, Jan. 2004]. Here we get some extra trimmings, however, including a key couplet distinguishing Talamancalia boquetensis (Standl.) H. Rob. & Cuatrec. from the Costa Rican endemic T. westonii H. Rob. & Cuatrec. [translated directly from the protologue of the latter; see The Cutting Edge 1(2): 10–11, Apr. 1994] and an image of the Costa Rican specimen of T. boquetensis. Talamancalia, for us a trivial Senecio segregate, has also been included by some authors in Pseudogynoxys [see, e.g., The Cutting Edge 4(2): 7, Apr. 1997].

Sousa S., M. 2009. Standleyi una nueva sección del género Lonchocarpus (Leguminosae), nuevas especies y subespecie para Mesoamérica y Sudamérica. Acta Bot. Mex. 86: 39–69.

Only one item here is peripherally germane to Costa Rican floristics, that being the sole new subsp. described, Lonchocarpus lanceolatus Benth. subsp. calciphilus M. Sousa. This taxon is restricted to northern Mesoamerica, but the creation of the name would presumably require that Costa Rican material be qualified as belonging to the autonymic subsp.

Starr, J. R., S. A. Harris & D. A. Simpson. 2008. Phylogeny of the unispicate taxa in Cyperaceae tribe Cariceae II: the limits of Uncinia. Pp. 243–267 in, R. F. C. Naczi & B. A. Ford (eds.), Sedges: uses, diversity, and systematics of the Cyperaceae. Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 108: 1–298.

This paper, apparently the same one that we qualified quite some time ago as “in press” [see The Cutting Edge 11(4): 13, Oct. 2004], “recovered four major clades in tribe Cariceae,” based on analysis of DNA sequence variation, “suggesting that a general consensus among analyses is emerging.” There is only one other sentence here that interests us: “Trees suggest that Carex is paraphyletic with respect to all other Cariceae genera.” These nested genera include Cymophyllus, Kobresia, and Uncinia. Thus, even though Uncinia is evidently monophyletic, it must be included in Carex, by our reckoning, and that is about as much as we need to know.

Tur, N. M., S. S. Torres Robles & G. Peter. 2009. About the typification of Myriophyllum aquaticum (Haloragaceae). Novon 19: 127–129.

The previously designated lectotype of Enydria aquatica Vell. the basionym of Myriophyllum aquaticum (Vell.) Verdc., “is demonstrably ambiguous and cannot be critically identified for purposes of the precise application of the name.” Thus, these authors select an epitype that “serves to fix the application of this name in accordance with its current usage.” The specimen chosen, from very near the original Brazilian type locality, is depicted in a black-and-white photo.

Weissenhofer, A., W. Huber, V. Mayer, S. Pamperl, A. Weber & G. Aubrecht (sci. eds.). 2008. Natural and cultural history of the Golfo Dulce region, Costa Rica/Historia natural y cultural de la región del Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica. Stapfia 88: 1–768.

It is indeed a challenge to review a book of this nature, because the obvious care, passion, and close attention to detail that went into researching, writing, and publishing such an opulent and informative volume merit a much more thorough consideration than we have time or space to present. Let us begin by saying that, if you can locate and afford a copy (we have no idea of the cost), you should obtain one right away, as this is a landmark publication for Costa Rican natural history. In some respects it is the equivalent, for the Austrian Tropenstation La Gamba, of the so-called “La Selva book” by McDade et al. [see The Cutting Edge 1(2): 9–10, Apr. 1994] or the “Monteverde book” by Nadkarni & Wheelwright [see The Cutting Edge 7(2): 11, Apr. 2000]—or, indeed, of Daniel H. Janzen’s celebrated Costa Rican natural history (1983). But this trumps all of those in terms of its expensive production, printed as it is on very high-quality (and heavy!) paper and loaded with color photos.

The Austrian presence in the La Gamba region (the site of the “Esquinas forest” made famous by Paul Allen’s Rain forests of Golfo Dulce) dates back to about 1991, and it is abundantly clear that very little of the intervening time has been squandered. The ongoing conservation efforts in the area (the subject of a chapter near the end of the book) recall those in the Monteverde region and Parque Nacional Guanacaste, in that funds have been raised to actually purchase property, and the local community has become intimately involved. Education is always the key component of these projects, and this volume is the culmination of that ideal, summarizing all of the knowledge that has been learned about the region by the Austrian workers and their colleagues, or corralled by them from ancillary (sometimes primary) sources. And a mind-boggling wealth of knowledge it is, fascinating to read and beautiful to behold.

The book is partitioned into five main sections, as follows: Abiotic aspects, Plant biology, Animal biology, Plant-animal interactions, and Human aspects. Within these sections are nested unnumbered chapters, variously in English or Spanish (none seems to be in German), authored by a wide array of individuals. Featured in the Plant biology section are chapters on ecosystem diversity (with an original vegetation map of Parque Nacional Piedras Blancas presented as a loose insert), plant diversity and biogeography, alien plants and invasion patterns, medicinal plants, life forms, terrestrial litter trappers, primary production and nutrient cycling, and fungi and lichens. Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora (INB) is a co-author of two of these chapters. Floristics gets rather the short end of the stick (at least as far as flowering plants are concerned), as well it should, having been the subject of a previous and equally impressive volume in this same series [see The Cutting Edge 9(1): 13–14, Jan. 2002]. Botanists will also find much of interest in the other sections, sometimes in unexpected places. We particularly enjoyed the historical chapters, in the Human aspects section, two of which focus on the Austrian Costa Rica expedition of 1930, which was briefly discussed in the introductory Manual volume. But who better than the Austrians and Costa Ricans themselves to chronicle this grand event? And they come through in spades, with a dozen pages chock full of illuminating information and rarely seen photos of Otto Porsch, Karl von Scherzer, Georg Cufodontis, José Fidel Tristán, and Alberto Brenes (among these, only Brenes was pictured in the Manual). We learn that both von Scherzer and Emmanuel von Friedrichsthal were Austrian, not German (we got this wrong in the Manual). Even more surprising, in a chapter (under Animal biology) about the black-cheeked ant-tanager, endemic in the Golfo Dulce region, is found a brief biographical vignette and photo (different from the one in the Manual) of the shadowy plant collector Austin Smith! Botanists working on the Costa Rican flora know Smith by virtue of his many important early collections from the Zarcero region, where he was resident (at least for a time). But Smith also (unbeknownst to us until now) collected and sold bird specimens and eggs (it was he who obtained the first specimens of the ant-tanager), and published in a journal called Oologist (from which the new photo was reproduced). For even more on Smith, see under “News and Notes.”

Of course, as in any publication this densely packed with facts, there are the few inevitable errors. We will exploit our soapbox to point out some that we chanced to notice: the plant identified in Fig. 9, p. 135, as “Trichomanes reniforme” (whatever that is) is actually T. membranaceum L. (though the fact that we are able to recognize the sp. attests to the quality of the photo); “Plerothallis orbiculare” (Fig. 16, p. 138) is better Trichosalpinx orbicularis (Lindl.) Luer, assuming it is correctly determined; the plant identified in Fig. 18, p. 138, as “Philodendron scandens ” (a name no longer in use for any sp.) is in fact P. platypetiolatum Madison; Bunchosia cornifolia (Fig. 7, p. 516) is correctly B. nitida (Jacq.) DC.; and Trigonidium is misspelled (Fig. 11, p. 519). It should be emphasized, however, that the overwhelming majority of plant photos in this volume are impeccably identified, as far as we can tell, and these few small errors detract not one iota from the overall high quality of this extremely satisfying work.

Zhao, L.-C. & Z.-Y. Wu. 2008. A review on the taxonomy and evolution of Ruppia. J. Syst. Evol. 46: 467–478.

First things first: Journal of Systematics and Evolution (which, amazingly, has not been used before) is the new name for the former Acta Phytotaxonomica Sinica. As for Ruppia, the authors note (in their abstract) that “five species...are generally accepted,” and proceed to treat exactly that many (though the latest edition of The plant-book attributes just two spp. to the genus). We cannot read Chinese, so don’t know which of these spp. might be expected in Costa Rica. For the same reason, we cannot tell for sure whether the authors include Ruppia in Potamogetonaceae or Ruppiaceae (we think the former). What we can decipher are the key to spp. and tabular comparison of Potamogeton and Ruppia, these having been translated into English (along with several figure captions).


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