www.mobot.org Research Home | Search | Contact | Site Map  

North America
South America
General Taxonomy
Photo Essays
Training in Latin

Wm. L. Brown Center
Graduate Studies
Research Experiences
  for Undergraduates

Imaging Lab
MBG Press
Climate Change
Catalog Fossil Plants
Image Index
Rare Books

Res Botanica
All Databases
What's New?
People at MO
Visitor's Guide
Jobs & Fellowships
Research Links
Site Map


Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

Main | Family List (MO) | Family List (INBio) | Cutting Edge
Draft Treatments | Guidelines | Checklist | Citing | Editors

The Cutting Edge

Volume XVII, Number 2, April 2010

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

Antonelli, A.  2008. Higher level phylogeny and evolutionary trends in Campanulaceae subfam. Lobelioideae:  molecular signal overshadows morphology.  Molec. Phylogen. Evol. 46: 1–18.

Molecular signal decrees that Lobelia sensu lato (with over 400 spp.) is paraphyletic with respect to a host of genera including Burmeistera, Centropogon, Diastatea, Hippobroma, and Siphocampylus (to mention only those represented in Costa Rica).  Eight major clades are discriminated, and their constituent elements discussed.  Rather than expanding Lobelia to include all of the aforementioned genera, the author wisely suggests that the best alternative "would be to restrict the genus to the species...included in Clade 5" (i.e., the one harboring the type sp. of Lobelia), comprising "about 70 spp."  Fortunately, for our purposes, this clade also includes most if not all of the spp. of traditional Lobelia recorded from Costa Rica (all five that were sampled), so we may be largely off the hook; however, we would stand to lose the genus Hippobroma, also a member of Clade 5 (the name Lobelia longiflora L. is already available for its sole sp.).  Diastatea appears safe, but the status of Burmeistera, Centropogon, and Siphocampylus (vis-à-vis one another) is unresolved.  While the results of this study "corroborate the monophyly" of Burmeistera (based on two spp.!), they suggest (equivocally) that both Centropogon and Siphocampylus may be paraphyletic.

Bogarín, D. & M. Fernández.  2010. Lepanthes arenasiana (Pleurothallidinae: Orchidaceae), a new species from Costa Rica.  Lankesteriana 9: 487–489.

Lepanthes arenasiana Bogarín & Mel. Fernández (honoring the late Miguel Ángel Soto Arenas) is, characteristically, predicated on a single specimen collected by one of the authors (Bogarín)—though at least it is a wild-collected one.  This hails from ca. 2112 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca.  The new sp. is compared most closely with L. lancifolia Schltr., from which it differs in various floral details.  Illustrated with a very fine composite line drawing by the first author.

—— & F. Pupulin.  2010. Two new species of Mormolyca from Costa Rica and Panama.  Orchid Digest 74: 42–47.

Just one of these is from Costa Rica, that being Mormolyca fumea Bogarín & Pupulin (Orchidaceae).  It is known only by the type collection, garnered by the first author at ca. 1400 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca.  The new sp. is most similar to M. moralesii (Carnevali & J. T. Atwood) M. A. Blanco (treated as Maxillaria moralesii Carnevali & J. T. Atwood in the Manual), from which it differs in having longer petioles, as well as in details of flower color and labellum size and shape, etc.  The specific epithet alludes to the type locality of El Humo.  Of course, Mormolyca is here used in an expanded sense (vis-à-vis the Manual, etc.), to include numerous spp. formerly referred to Maxillaria [see The Cutting Edge 15(2): 3–4, Apr. 2008].  A dichotomous, indented key to the spp. of Mormolyca s. l. from Mesoamerica and the Greater Antilles is provided.  Both new spp. are depicted in composite line drawings (by the first author) and color photos from life (also portraying related spp.).

Carrillo-Reyes, P., V. Sosa & M. E. Mort.  2009. Molecular phylogeny of the Acre clade (Crassulaceae):  dealing with the lack of definitions of Echeveria and Sedum.  Molec. Phylogen. Evol. 53: 267–276.

We briefly reviewed a related paper by these same authors a few years back [see The Cutting Edge 15(4): 3, Oct. 2008], and our words still apply.  Both Echeveria and Sedum are wildly paraphyletic, if these cladograms mean anything at all, and neither can be expected to survive in any semblance of its present circumscription.  However, these authors give no hint of being close to a taxonomic resolution.  None of the three Costa Rican spp. in the titular genera was represented in this study.

Chase, M. W., N. H. Williams, K. M. Neubig & W. M. Whitten.  2008. Taxonomic transfers in Oncidiinae to accord with Genera Orchidacearum, Vol. 5.  Lindleyana 21(3): 20–31 [in Orchids (West Palm Beach) 77(12)].

In our recent review of another paper involving all of these same authors [see this column in The Cutting Edge 16(4), Oct. 2009], we alluded to a paper that we had not been able to locate ("according to the reference provided"), in which Sigmatostalix had been subsumed within Oncidium.  This is that paper, which we finally found with the gracious assistance of our friend Mario Blanco (FLAS).  Turns out we were thwarted by the ill-advised nesting of the now much-reduced journal Lindleyana within a different journal (this is bound to confuse everyone from now to eternity).  We can now confirm that the deed was in fact done, with all the appropriate new combinations or new names in Oncidium validated (by "M. W. Chase & N. H. Williams") for spp. formerly included in Sigmatostalix.  As far as we can tell, just two nomina nova were needed for spp. occurring in Costa Rica:  Oncidium guatemalenoides M. W. Chase & N. H. Williams (based on Sigmatostalix guatemalensis Schltr.) and O. unguiculoides M. W. Chase & N. H. Williams (based on S. unguiculata C. Schweinf.); S. guatemalensis was included as a synonym of S. picta Rchb. f. in the Manual, but more recently it was resurrected from synonymy, with S. picta (which also required a nomen novum) restricted to South America [see The Cutting Edge 10(4): 11–12, Oct. 2003].  It is also worth noting that the large genus Odontoglossum (though not represented in Costa Rica) was also (at last!) sunk into Oncidium.  But there is more:  the monospecific Chelyorchis and the dispecific Ticoglossum have been sunk into Rossioglossum, with the new combinations validated by "M. W. Chase & N. H. Williams."  Both spp. of Ticoglossum occur in Costa Rica, as does Chelyorchis ampliata (Lindl.) Dressler & N. H. Williams (treated in the Manual as Oncidium ampliatum Lindl., mainly because Chelyorchis was validated too late for our purposes).  The monospecific genera Goniochilus and Hybochilus, both occurring in Costa Rica, have been folded into Leochilus, with new combinations for the two spp. involved validated by the same two authors.  And finally, Scelochilus, apparently with two spp. in Costa Rica [see The Cutting Edge 12(4): 11, Oct. 2005], has been collapsed into Comparettia (with resultant combinations by the same two authors), together with several other genera, bloating Comparettia into a genus of 73 spp. (vs. just 10, according to the Manual).  The authors indicate that "Ionopsis could perhaps also be transferred here, but this result is not well supported, so we do not transfer it here"; perhaps they did not realize that Ionopsis is the older name, meaning that, should it eventually be merged with Comparettia, all of the new combinations here validated in the latter genus will have been for naught.

Christenhusz, M. J. M.  2009. Typification of ornamental plants:  Pandanus tectorius (Pandanaceae).  Phytotaxa 2: 51–52.
——.  2009. Typification of ornamental plants:  Musa textilis (Musaceae).  Phytotaxa 2: 53–54.

Pandanus tectorius Parkinson is lectotypified based on a specimen collected in 1769 during Captain Cook’s first expedition on the Endeavor, and an associated illustration is designated as epitype.  Musa textilis Née is neotypified on a good, modern collection from the Philippines, where the sp. has been presumed to have originated (as indicated in the Manual); however, the author speculates that it is instead native to Borneo, where it displays greater morphological diversity.  These typifications secure the prevailing nomenclature for two spp. that are cultivated and (perhaps) naturalized in Costa Rica.

Davidse, G., M. Sousa S., S. Knapp & F. Chiang (editores generales).  2009. Flora mesoamericana.  Vol. 4, Parte 1.  Cucurbitaceae a Polemoniaceae.  Univ. Nac. Autón. México, Mexico City/Missouri Bot. Gard., St. Louis/Nat. Hist. Mus. (London).  855 pp.

The first thing one notices is the bulk:  at 855 pages, this latest chapter in the epic Flora mesoamericana saga is at least 57% longer than either of its predecessors, the more recent of which (dealing with pteridophytes) appeared in 1995 [see The Cutting Edge 3(2): 9–10, Apr. 1996].  The reason is not hard to fathom:  the descriptions, already lengthy, by Manual standards, have become encyclopedic, with many occupying up to a full column or more of text.  Otherwise, the style established in the previous volumes is largely maintained.  This is the first Flora mesoamericana volume to treat dicots—2146 spp. of them, representing 329 genera and 33 families.  According to the format of the series, the families are ordered phylogenetically, according to a modified Englerian sequence (174–205, in this subset).  In terms of their relevance to our ongoing Manual efforts, the family treatments in the present volume (or "part") may be grouped into the following three categories, in ascending order of urgency:  families already published in Manual Vol. 6, i.e., Haloragaceae, Lecythidaceae, Loganiaceae (excepting Polypremum), Lythraceae (including Punicaceae), Melastomataceae, Menyanthaceae, Myrsinaceae, Myrtaceae, Oleaceae, and Onagraceae; families to be published a few years down the road, in Manual Vols. 4 and 7, i.e., Alzateaceae, Apocynaceae (including Asclepiadaceae), Araliaceae, Apiaceae, Clethraceae, Primulaceae, Plumbaginaceae, Polemoniaceae, Rhizophoraceae, Sapotaceae, Styracaceae, Symplocaceae, and Theophrastaceae; and lastly, and of most immediate relevance, families to appear in the "in press" Manual Vol. 5, i.e., Combretaceae, Cornaceae (including Nyssaceae), Cucurbitaceae, Ebenaceae, Ericaceae, Garryaceae, Gentianaceae, and Gunneraceae.  Fortunately, in the case of this last group, we did have the opportunity, just before sending our files to the printer, to add references to the Flora mesoamericana treatments and to address discrepancies and other important issues.  There are in fact rather few significant differences with respect to Manual Vol. 5, but rather more (too many to enumerate here) involving Vol. 6, especially in families (such as Myrsinaceae) with different contributors and inevitably divergent taxonomic opinions.  One noteworthy taxonomic decision that we can report in Theophrastaceae:  Deherainia lageniformis Gómez-Laur. & N. Zamora, believed to have been a Costa Rican academic, is summarily synonymized (without comment) under D. matudae Lundell (otherwise known from southern Mexico to Honduras), from which it was carefully distinguished in the protologue [see The Cutting Edge 5(4): 6, Oct. 1998].  The volume under review features an "Addenda" (p. 793), with brief mention of some spp. and combinations published too late for full incorporation into their respective family accounts.

The status of Flora mesoamericana is as follows:  as for the Manual, a total of seven volumes is projected.  To date, two full volumes of Flora mesoamericana have been published, 1 and 6, as well as the first part of Vol. 4.  That leaves the second part of Vol. 4, plus Vols. 2, 3, 5, and 7.  However, with the exception of Vol. 2, each of the outstanding volumes is itself divided into two "parts," meaning that, in effect, eight volumes remain to be published.  Next on the docket, according to the dust jacket, are Vol. 7 (Parte 2), with "una sola familia" (Orchidaceae!), and Vol. 4 (Parte 2), with another batch of dicot families.

Dressler, R. L. & D. Bogarín.  2010. Some new Sobraliae from Costa Rica and Panama.  Lankesteriana 9: 475–485.

Of the four new spp. described in this paper (one of Elleanthus and three of Sobralia), three occur in Costa Rica (exclusively, as far as is known).  All the Costa Rican types are from cultivated specimens, and in two cases are the only known fertile collections:  Elleanthus carinatus Dressler & Bogarín (provenance stated as ca. 1150 m, on the Atlantic slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca) and Sobralia fragilis Dressler & Bogarín (vouchered by a collection from 740–840 m on the Pacific slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca).  The former sp. is compared with Elleanthus cynarocephalus (Rchb. f.) Rchb. f., while the latter "does not resemble any other [Sobralia] species known from Central America" (especially distinctive is the labellum, with about 22 low keels).  The authors characterize Sobralia geminata Dressler & Bogarín as so common that "we find plants...nearly everywhere we go in Central Costa Rica.  Indeed, we are rather tired of seeing them."  But despite this claim, they are able to cite only four herbarium specimens, all prepared by the first author since 2005.  The new sp. is compared with S. chrysostoma Dressler, with which it has been confused (but has smaller flowers with different markings).  All of the new spp. are depicted in excellent composite line drawings by the second author, as well as photos of living material.  A distribution map is provided for Sobralia geminata (the range of which, in Manualese, may be summarized as:  "Bosque muy húmedo y pluvial, 500–1300 m; vert. Carib. Cord. de Tilarán, N Cord. de Talamanca"; flowering phenology in the wild is apparently unknown, as all of the cited flowering material was pressed from cultivation).

Fisher, A. E., J. K. Triplett, C.-S. Ho, A. D. Schiller, K. A. Oltrogge, E. S. Schroder, S. A. Kelchner & L. G. Clark.  2009. Paraphyly in the bamboo subtribe Chusqueinae (Poaceae: Bambusoideae) and a revised infrageneric classification for Chusquea.  Syst. Bot. 34: 673–683.

In a stunning development (foreshadowed in an earlier paper that we did not see), the smallish (ca. 20 spp.) neotropical genus Neurolepis is shown to be diphyletic, with one group of spp. sister to the much larger (ca. 140 spp.) genus Chusquea, and another group basal to that larger, binary clade; in other words, Neurolepis is paraphyletic with respect to Chusquea!  This relationship was subjected to every sort of statistical test, and emerged unscathed.  Classificatory options would include lumping both genera into one (Chusquea being the older name), or recognizing three or more separate genera.  Even under the latter option, however, the sole Costa Rican sp. of Neurolepis (N. pittieri McClure) must suffer a name-change, as it occupies a different clade from the generic type.  Citing a lack of synapomorphies for the smaller genera, these authors opt to lump Neurolepis into Chusquea; as a result, a new, informal infrageneric classification is proposed, and 20 new combinations and names are validated.  Due to the preexistence of Chusquea pittieri Hack., our Neurolepis pittieri required a nomen novum, viz., Chusquea magnifolia L. G. Clark.  The new Chusquea s. l., with a total of 159 spp., is "diagnosd by the synapomorphy of papillate subsidiary cells in the foliar stomatal complexes in addition to its uniform spikelet structure (four glumes, one female-fertile floret, and the absence of a rachilla extension)."

Gómez-Laurito, J.  2009. Las ciperáceas (Cyperaceae) de la Estación Biológica La Selva, Costa Rica.  Revista Biol. Trop. 57(Suppl. 1): 93–110.

Manual Cyperaceae contributor Jorge Gómez-Laurito (USJ) provides an account of 34 spp. of Cyperaceae (representing 10 genera) recorded from the Estación Biológica La Selva.  One sp., Oxycaryum cubense (Poepp. & Kunth) Palla, is discussed (but not treated in full) as having been collected on neighboring land.  We have reliable records for an additional sp. (and genus), Bulbostylis barbata (Rottb.) C. B. Clarke, from adjacent property, and for two other spp., not treated here, from La Selva proper:  Cyperus iria L. and C. polystachyos Rottb.  Features include technical descriptions of the family, genera, and spp., dichotomous (though non-indented) keys to genera and spp., distribution summaries (within and outside Costa Rica) for each spp., diagnostic statements for each genus and sp., and flowering and fruiting phenology (at La Selva?) for each sp.  However, little information is provided on distribution within La Selva, and there are no illustrations. 

Hágsater, E.  2010.  In memoriam:  Miguel Ángel Soto Arenas (1963-2009). Lankesteriana 9: 273–275.

A touching personal recollection of an indefatigable and dedicated taxonomist and conservationist, whose passing has already had a chilling effect on several ambitious projects of which he was an integral part.

Harrington, M. G. & P. A. Gadek.  2009. A species well travelled – the Dodonaea viscosa (Sapindaceae) complex based on phylogenetic analyses of nuclear ribosomal ITS and ETSf sequences.  J. Biogeogr. 36: 2313–2323.

The genus Dodonaea comprises some 70 spp., all but one of which (a Madagascan endemic) occur in continental Australia and, with just a few exceptions, are restricted to that continent.  One of the exceptions is the pantropical D. viscosa Jacq., which (in its broad sense) is the only sp. of the genus that occurs in the New World.  In Costa Rica, D. viscosa has a very unusual, bimodal distribution:  some populations occur in coastal sands at or near sea level (on the Atlantic side), while others are montane (mainly above 1000 m).  This disparity in habitat and elevation is so striking that one is strongly tempted to propose separate taxonomic status for these populations, even if consistent morphological differences are scarcely in evidence.  These two entities (along with some others) have indeed been variously distinguished taxonomically over the years, either at infraspecific or specific rank.  The last word on the subject was that of Leenhouts (Blumea 28: 271–289. 1983), who restricted D. viscosa to the montane populations and applied the name D. angustifolia L. f. to the coastal plants.  But it turns out that this duality of habitat types obtains not only in Costa Rica, but around the world, essentially throughout the range of D. viscosa (and as many as five other segregate taxa have been discerned, mainly in Australia).  Hence, taxonomic distinction of two entities (along the lines of Leenhouts) "suggests...that strandline species in, say, Madagascar, South Africa and Australia are more closely related to each other than to the species or subspecies that grow in upland regions of those same countries."  However, this molecular study concludes that Dodonaea viscosa in the broad sense is monophyletic, and "exhibits morphological variation that does not correlate with geography over its worldwide distribution, and can be considered a complex ochlospecies."  We think that means that, for our purposes, it is a single sp.

Jiménez Machorro, R. & E. Hágsater.  2010. Oncidium ornithorhynchum, una especie mal interpretada y un nombre para una vieja especie:  Oncidium sotoanum (Orchidaceae).  Lankesteriana 9: 411–422.

The name Oncidium ornithorhynchum Kunth was merely mentioned in the Manual, in the Oncidium genus discussion, on the basis of a report in Franco Pupulin’s (JBL) Catálogo revisado y anotado de las Orchidaceae de Costa Rica [Lankesteriana 2(2)[‘4’]: 1–88.  2002], which appeared too late for full consideration by us.  These authors restrict O. ornithorhynchum to Colombia, Ecuador, and Perú (where it has generally gone by the name O. pyramidale Lindl., now relegated to synonymy), and segregate the Mesoamerican material into their new O. sotoanum R. Jiménez & Hágsater (at the outset, with two subspp.).  Although the range of O. sotoanum, as according to this paper, could be summarized (in Manual phraseology) as "S Méx. y Guat., El Salv., Nic. y CR," only Mexican material is actually cited.  Thus it is not clear whether these authors have actually seen Costa Rican material (which they imply would belong to the autonymic subsp.) or, indeed, any material from outside of Mexico.  If not, we wonder whether the Costa Rican record might just as well represent the real O. ornithorhynchum, since Costa Rica is considerably closer to Colombia than to Mexico.  Illustrated with composite line drawings of O. ornithorhynchum and both subspp. of O. sotoanum, as well as various photos.

Jiménez-Pérez, N. del C. & F. G. Lorea-Hernández.  2009. Identity and delimitation of the American species of Litsea Lam. (Lauraceae):  a morphological approach.  Pl. Syst. Evol. 283: 19–32.

Based on statistical analyses of morphological characters, eight spp. of Litsea are recognized for the New World (vs. as few as three or as many as 11, according to previous workers).  A dichotomous, indented key is provided to distinguish these eight spp., but the buck stops there; this is not a revision, or even a synopsis.  Nonetheless, the potential repercussions for the sole Costa Rican sp., heretofore known as Litsea glaucescens Kunth, are dire:  the name L. glaucescens is here restricted to a sp. that is narrowly distributed in Mexico, with L. guatemalensis Mez (appearing in synonymy in the Manual) supplanting it for the widespread Mesoamerican entity extending southward to Costa Rica (the overall geographic range given in the Manual for L. glaucescens would still prevail for L. guatemalensis).  No explicit consideration is given the Costa Rican Litsea populations, previously distinguished as the endemic L. glaucescens var. flavescens (Bartlett) C. K. Allen, and we can only assume that the latter name must fall into synonymy under L. guatemalensis.  A more fully realized implementation of this novel taxonomy is eagerly awaited.

Karremans, A. P. & E. Hágsater.  2010. Confusion in Epidendrum brenesii Schltr., and a new Costa Rican species:  Epidendrum sotoanum (Orchidaceae).  Lankesteriana 9: 403–409.

According to the description of the Costa Rican endemic Epidendrum brenesii Schltr. in the Manual, its flowers are "amarillas a púrpura," seemingly a rather unusual color range.  Indeed, the yellow- and purple-flowered plants included in previous concepts of E. brenesii have proven to represent distinct spp., that differ in several other inflorescence and floral details.  It turns out that these two spp. were mixed even in Schlechter’s protologue.  In order to fix the application of the name, a previously designated lectotype is rejected (with no reason given), and a neotype is installed that secures E. brenesii for the purple-flowered sp.  The yellow-flowered sp. is accordingly baptized with a new sp. name, Epidendrum sotoanum Karremans & Hágsater (honoring Miguel Ángel Soto Arenas).  These two spp. also have slightly different geographic ranges, E. brenesii being restricted to the Atlantic slope of the Cordilleras de Tilarán and Central, while E. sotoanum occurs in the same areas, but also on the Atlantic slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca and the Pacific slope of the Cordillera Central (we realize that these two components do not add up to the range specified in the Manual for E. brenesii s. l., and can offer no explanation).  Both spp. are illustrated with excellent composite line drawings and photos, and a drawing (apparently the scuttled lectotype) of the lost holotype of E. brenesii is reproduced.

Mabberley, D. J.  2002. Potentilla and Fragaria (Rosaceae) reunited.  Telopea 9: 793–801.

Fragaria, including the cultivated strawberries, is submerged into Potentilla (the older name), together with Duchesnea, on the basis of various kinds of evidence, including molecular.  The resulting nomenclature is presented, with new combinations and nomina nova validated as necessary.  The standard garden strawberry, cultivated on a commercial scale in Costa Rica, is now Potentilla ×ananassa (Rozier) Mabb.  This important article was published in such an obscure journal that we remained ignorant of it for eight years, and would still be, but for the kind intervention of our friend Mario Blanco (FLAS).  We now note that the conclusions of this paper have been incorporated in the latest edition of Mabberley’s plant-book [see The Cutting Edge 15(4): 4–5, Oct. 2008], for which purpose the author has been required to come to grips with a series of vexing taxonomic problems involving horticultural taxa.

Mort, M. E., C. P. Randle, P. Burgoyne, G. Smith, E. Jaarsveld & S. D. Hopper.  2009. Analyses of cpDNA matK sequence data place Tillaea (Crassulaceae) within Crassula.  Pl. Syst. Evol. 283: 211–217.

We had thought this was a done deal (and Tillaea is not accepted in the soon-to-be-published Manual treatment of Crassulaceae), but it seems there has been some waffling in recent years.  However, this study, with "the greatest sampling of Crassula species thus far included in a single analysis," may drive the nail into the coffin for Tillaea, which proves to be "neither monophyletic [based on the four spp. studied] nor sister to Crassula."  Nonetheless, the waffling continues, if somewhat modulated:  while beginning boldly with "these results clearly demonstrate that there is no justification for recognizing Tillaea as distinct from Crassula," the authors end more timidly with "our results suggest that Tillaea should not be recognized as a genus distinct from Crassula," and proceed to invoke the usual inadequate-sampling caveat.

Nicolas, A. N. & G. M. Plunkett.  2009. The demise of subfamily Hydrocotyloideae (Apiaceae) and the re-alignment of its genera across the entire order Apiales.  Molec. Phylogen. Evol. 53: 134–151.

This study features more extensive sampling than an earlier one involving its second author [see The Cutting Edge 12(1): 11, Jan. 2005], but reaches substantially the same conclusions (as far as taxa represented in Costa Rica are concerned):  Hydrocotyle belongs in Araliaceae, while Azorella, Centella, Micropleura, and Spananthe (erstwhile members of Apiaceae subfam. Hycrocotyloideae) should remain in Apiaceae.  Not necessarily in safety, however:  Azorella appears polyphyletic, with the generic type (A. filamentosa Lam.) in a clade far removed from that harboring A. biloba (Schltdl.) Wedd., the sole Costa Rican representative.

Nyffeler, R. & U. Eggli.  2010. Disintegrating Portulacaceae:  a new familial classification of the suborder Portulacineae (Caryophyllales) based on molecular and morphological data.  Taxon 59: 227–240.

"Disintegration" seems to be the order of the day (see also under Yuan et al., this column).  This is not exactly news, however:  in fact, the family system here presented for this group (suborder) is exactly the same as that recently embraced by APG III (see this column in our last issue), who had seen this article and cited it as "in press."  The bottom line is that Portulacaceae, in the traditional sense, has become a casualty of cladistic constraints, decaying into four smaller families:  Anacampserotaceae (described here as new), with three genera (none in Costa Rica); Montiaceae, with 15 genera (Calandrinia and perhaps Montia in Costa Rica); Portulacaceae s. str., now monogeneric (with Portulaca in Costa Rica); and Talinaceae, with three genera (Talinum in Costa Rica).  We imagine that the authors must have been guided to some extent by nomenclatural stability, viz., a desire to maintain traditional families such as Basellaceae, Cactaceae (especially), Didiereaceae, and Halophytaceae.  A glance at their cladogram reveals that the only way to have kept all the members of Portulacaceae s. l. in a single family would have been to lump all the families into just one.  The major problems are Cactaceae, which is deeply embedded (as sister to Anacampserotaceae), and Montiaceae, which is sister to the rest of the suborder.  While we would have had no qualms about lumping all of these families, an intermediate option suggests itself:  one might split off Montiaceae as a separate family, while lumping Cactaceae into Portulacaceae (under one name or the other) and retaining Basellaceae, Didiereaceae, and Halophytaceae intact.  That option was in fact considered by APG III (though not, explicitly, here), who concluded that a clade including Anacampserotaceae, Cactaceae, Portulacaceae s. str., and Talinaceae would be "characterized by parallelocytic stomata (probably) and fruit characters, but the latter have been subsequently lost in Cactaceae."  We lack sufficient knowledge of the group to argue with that assessment.

The main value of the present work is a fully articulated exposition of the new family treatment, including a dichotomous (unindented) key to the families, reasonably detailed family descriptions, distribution summaries, enumerations of genera, and discussions of varying length.  This is welcome and handy, but largely wasted on us, as we will be treating Portulacaceae in its traditional broad sense for the Manual (as a consequence of having already published the volume in which Montiaceae would have been included).

Ormerod, P.  2009. Studies of Neotropical Goodyerinae (Orchidaceae) 4.  Harvard Pap. Bot. 14: 111–128.

Fifteen new taxa are described in genera segregated from Erythrodes (in the sense of the Manual), and various other nomenclatural and taxonomic adjustments are made which, for the most part, are not relevant to Costa Rica.  One of the new spp., however, is:  Aspidogyne costaricensis Ormerod & M. A. Blanco, the type of which is the Manual voucher for "Erythrodes sp. F."  This freshly rechristened entity is compared with the Ecuadorian Aspidogyne harlingii Ormerod (described in the same paper), and illustrated in a somewhat reduced composite line drawing.  For those who may be keeping score, at least six of the seven provisionally named sp. treated under Erythrodes in the Manual now have Latin binomials, as follows:  sp. B = Aspidogyne grayumii Ormerod; sp. C = Microchilus platanilloensis Ormerod; sp. D = Aspidogyne tuerckheimii (Schltr.) Garay [already treated in the Manual as Erythrodes tuerckheimii (Schltr.) Ames]; sp. E = Kreodanthus secundus (Ames) Garay; sp. F = Aspidogyne costaricensis; and sp. H = Kreodanthus curvatus Ormerod, leaving only Erythrodes sp. I unaccounted for.  One additional observation:  mention here of Ligeophila clavigera (Rchb. f.) Garay var. rhodostachys Ormerod, described in an earlier paper, reminds us that we ought to have pointed out that the automatically created autonymic varietal name would now apply to Costa Rican material of this sp. [treated in the Manual as Erythrodes clavigera (Rchb. f.) Ames].

Otto, E. M., T. Janßen, H.-P. Kreier & H. Schneider.  2009. New insights into the phylogeny of Pleopeltis and related Neotropical genera (Polypodiaceae, Polypodiopsida).  Molec. Phylogen. Evol. 53: 190–201.

This study supports an earlier one [see The Cutting Edge 11(3): 12, Jul. 2004], involving one of these same authors, in concluding that Pleopeltis (polyphyletic, as "traditionally" circumscribed) should be expanded to include Dicranoglossum, Marginariopsis, Microphlebodium, Neurodium, Polypodium subgen. Marginaria, and perhaps also Pseudocolysis (apparently sister to all the rest).  The new Pleopeltis sensu lato would have as its "main apomorphy" persistent peltate scales on the mature leaf (lacking only in Neurodium).  As an aside, the following quote deserves careful consideration by orchidologists (though the subject is ferns):  "Generic hybrids have often proven to be the result of unnatural generic units and usually are indicators of para- or polyphyletic taxonomic concepts."  Somebody had to say it!

Pérez García, E. A. & E. Hágsater.  2009. Miguel Ángel Soto Arenas (12 de julio de 1963 – 27 de agosto de 2009).  Bol. Soc. Bot. México 85: 131–134.
—— & ——.  2010. Miguel Ángel Soto Arenas (1963-2009).  Acta Bot. Mex. 90: 1–6.
—— & ——.  2010. Miguel Ángel Soto Arenas (July 12, 1963 – August 27, 2009).  Lankesteriana 9: 269–272.

Three excellent and detailed bibliographies of the late Mexican orchidologist, basically the same work.  The first is a slightly abridged version of the second, and the third is an English translation of the second (with the penultimate two paragraphs added anew).  Take your pick.

Pupulin, F.  2009. Bewimperte Dichaeas Dichaea hystricina und Dichaea ciliolata:  zwei Arten in einer und eine interessante Variation.  OrchideenJ. 16: 167–171.

No, your mind is not playing tricks on you:  you really have seen this article before!  It was first published several years ago in an English-language journal [see The Cutting Edge 12(4): 10, Oct. 2005].  The mind boggles.

——, D. Bogarín & M. Fernández.  2010. On the identity of Myoxanthus scandens (Orchidaceae: Pleurothallidinae), with a new species from Costa Rica.  Lankesteriana 9: 467–473.

Myoxanthus scandens (Ames) Luer, a homely orchid ranging (according to the Manual) from Costa Rica to Ecuador, is found to comprise two spp. that have not been discriminated previously.  The real M. scandens (corresponding with the type specimen) has dark purple flowers and occurs at elevations of 1300–1900 m in Costa Rica (and somewhat lower down in Panama).  The second sp., here dubbed Myoxanthus sotoanum Pupulin, Bogarín & Mel. Fernández (which, unfortunately, must be corrected to M. sotoanus), has yellowish flowers and occurs from 0–800 m, only in Costa Rica (don’t ask us what became of the South American portion of the range).  Several other morphological differences involving the leaves and flowers distinguish the two spp.  Both are depicted in composite line drawings, and their distributions are plotted on a barely legible map.

——, —— & C. M. Smith.  2010. Two new species of Lepanthes from Costa Rica close to L. schizocardia (Orchidaceae: Pleurothallidinae).  Lankesteriana 9: 423–430.

Costa Rican material that had been tentatively referred by the authors and their colleagues to the otherwise Panamanian Lepanthes schizocardia Luer is resolved as two different spp., both described as new.  We are gratified to see that, in each case, the type is a wild-collected specimen, and paratypes are also cited (though exclusively collections of the first author).  Both new spp. are endemic to Costa Rica on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca:  Lepanthes montis-narae Pupulin, Bogarín & C. M. Sm., at 900–1000 m elevation on Cerro Nara, and L. sotoana Pupulin, Bogarín & C. M. Sm. (honoring the late Miguel Ángel Soto Arenas), at ca. 1350 m elevation in the vicinity of San Isidro de El General.  They are compared with L. schizocardia in a tabular format, and all three spp. are illustrated with composite line drawings and reduced photos of flowers.  This paper reflects a recent thrust by researchers at JBL "to [complete a] survey of the species of Pleurothallidinae in Costa Rica, eventually intended as a contribution to the Flora Costaricensis."  That will be very good to have, as the Manual treatment has become quite obsolete (on several levels) in barely more than six years.  But we hope they will get around to looking at a few herbarium specimens!  An account of potted plants at JBL will be of no use to anyone.

—— & A. P. Karremans.  2010. Crossoglossa sotoana (Orchidaceae: Malaxideae), a new species honoring the late Mexican botanist, Miguel Ángel Soto Arenas.  Lankesteriana 9: 443–446.

The orchid specimens continue to accumulate in herbaria, as do the new orchid sp. names in the literature.  If only there were some connection!  Crossoglossa sotoana Pupulin & Karremans is (surprise) based on a single collection prepared from a cultivated specimen, with a stated provenance of 800–900 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Tilarán in the Reserva Biológica Alberto M. Brenes (a very heavily botanized site!).  The new sp. is compared mainly with the Ecuadorian C. barfodii Dodson.  Illustrated with a superb composite line drawing, in part by the first author.

Ramírez-Roa, A. & F. Chiang.  2010. (1922) Proposal to conserve the name Moussonia (Gesneriaceae) with a conserved type.  Taxon 59: 298–299.

It seems as though the author (Regel) of the genus name Moussonia misapplied the name of the effective type sp., which is now known to be a synonym of Kohleria trianae (Regel) Hanst.  The name Moussonia is thus a synonym of Kohleria, leaving the smallish, montane, and poorly understood genus long known by the former moniker apparently without a valid name.  This proposal seeks to avert such a crisis.  But what we really need is a decent revision!

Razafimandimbison, S. G., T. D. McDowell, D. A. Halford & B. Bremer.  2009. Molecular phylogenetics and generic assessment in the tribe Morindeae (Rubiaceae–Rubioideae):  how to circumscribe Morinda L. to be monophyletic?  Molec. Phylogen. Evol. 52: 879–886.

Morinda, a pantropical genus of ca. 130 spp., is highly paraphyletic with respect to several variously distinctive Old World genera harboring an additional 30+ spp.  With a view to resolve this problem, the authors consider four taxonomic alternatives based on the cladogram generated by their study, in which four major lineages are revealed within tribe Morindeae.  They opt to accord generic rank to each of these four lineages, rejecting an all-encompassing Morinda and two intermediate proposals.  As a result, their new Morinda s. str. will correspond to the clade that includes the generic type and, thankfully, all the New World spp. traditionally assigned to the genus (yielding a generic total of 30–35 spp.).  Left intact, as belonging to a separate clade, is Appunia (with one sp. in Costa Rica), which has sometimes been included in Morinda.  A dichotomous (though non-indented) key is provided to distinguish the genera of tribe Morindeae accepted in this study (there are five, as one was not included).  However, "all necessary new combinations will be published elsewhere" (these should not affect us).  We have only one question:  how did the Jungle Dog become embroiled in this action?

Romero-González, G. A. & C. H. Dodson.  2010. A la tercera se gana:  the validation of Benzingia (Orchidaceae: Zygopetalinae).  Lankesteriana 9: 526–628.

Or third time’s the charm, as we anglophones would say.  The genus name Benzingia Dodson was first proposed in 1989, but was not validly published because separate Latin descriptions or diagnoses were not provided for both the genus and type sp. (the genus having been ditypic at the time; see ICBN Art. 42.1).  In 1995, the authors of the present paper (in reverse order) had another go at it, but failed again, for the very same reason.  Here the problem is finally rectified (we can vouch for this!).  Because the genus name was never validated, all new names and combinations at sp. rank in Benzingia were also invalid.  These too are validated here, in the names of their original authors (with permission), including Benzingia reichenbachiana (Schltr.) Dressler, for what we believe to be the only Costa Rican representative of this group (treated in the Manual as Chondrorhyncha reichenbachiana Schltr.).  We wonder what all of this means for the nothogenus name × Bensteinia Christenson (compounded from Benzingia and Kefersteinia) and its constituent elements, e.g., the Cost Rican nothosp. × Bensteinia ramonensis Pupulin [see The Cutting Edge 15(2): 9, Apr. 2008].

Sánchez, J. & A. Cascante.  2008. Árboles ornamentales del Valle Central de Costa Rica:  especies con floración llamativa.  Edit. INBio, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica.  100 pp.

Costa Rican botanists have been cashing in on the ecotourism explosion in their country, and who can blame them?  This slim volume by CR botanists (and Manual contributors) Joaquín Sánchez and Alfredo Cascante will be immediately gratifying to wide-eyed newcomers, as it targets 24 tree spp. that tend to flower massively (and when leafless) during the dry season (which happens to be the height of the tourist season) in the most frequented portions of the country.  Indeed, most of these spp. can easily be spotted (at the right time of year) during the taxi ride from the airport to San José.  The sp. are organized mainly according to flower color.  Each entry includes scientific and common names, plus a brief description and paragraphs on distribution, phenology, etymology, and observations, along with numerous color photos.  A dichotomous key to spp. and a glossary are also provided.  Unlike many volumes in this series, this one is not bilingual; however, that should not impact sales significantly, as it is mainly a picture book.

Schäferhoff, B., K. F. Müller & T. Borsch.  2009. Caryophyllales phylogenetics:  disentangling Phytolaccaceae and Molluginaceae and description of Microteaceae as a new isolated family.  Willdenowia 39: 209–228.

"Disentangling" is the operative word in the title; this is very much a work in progress, as its authors are careful to point out.  The most definitive result of this study is the recognition of the monogeneric Microteaceae Schäferhoff & Borsch, reflecting solid molecular evidence (documented herein) that "Microtea is not even closely related to other Phytolaccaceae and rather represents an isolated lineage in Caryophyllales."  The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, in their most recent salvo (see this column in our last issue), acknowledged that "we still know little about relationships of Phytolaccaceae, almost certainly not a monophyletic family as currently circumscribed."  That statement is essentially reiterated here:  "...it is obvious that the familial circumscription of Phytolaccaceae even only including Agdestidoideae, Phytolaccoideae and Rivinoideae currently does not represent a monophyletic group.  It will not only be necessary to broaden the taxon sampling among Phytolaccaceae s.str., but also to carry out a thorough study of both molecular and morphological characters."  Still, the authors bandy names such as Agdestidaceae ("now generally recognised") and (with somewhat less conviction) Petiveriaceae, neither accepted by APG III.  All of this is water under the bridge for us, Phytolaccaceae (and Molluginaceae) having already been published in the Manual.  More relevant and surprising is the apparently still unsettled disposition of Chenopodiaceae, which we had thought was a done deal; after all, this family was already submerged in Amaranthaceae by APG II, back in 2003 [see The Cutting Edge 10(3): 5–6, Jul. 2003].  But now we learn that, although "Amaranthaceae and Chenopodiaceae together form a well supported monophylum," "the monophyly of Chenopodiaceae is still under debate," and the "relationships of Amaranthaceae and Chenopodiaceae need further investigation, especially to test the circumscription of Chenopodiaceae."  Thus, while the APG merger is certainly tenable, their scuttling of the traditional concepts was perhaps premature and may prove to have been unnecessary (these authors continue to use both family names).

Sede, S. M., F. O. Zuloaga & O. Morrone.  2009. Phylogenetic studies in the Paniceae (Poaceae-Panicoideae):  Ocellochloa, a new genus from the New World.  Syst. Bot. 34: 684–692.

The reclassification of residual "incertae sedis" taxa resulting from the diminution of the genus Panicum (in the broad, traditional sense of the Manual) proceeds [see The Cutting Edge 14(3): 7–8, Jul. 2007].  This molecular study tests the monophyly of one of these, the former Panicum sect. Stolonifera Hitchc. & Chase ex Pilg., and assesses its relationships within tribe Paniceae.  As a result, the new genus Ocellochloa Zuloaga & Morrone is created, comprising 12 spp. (i.e., the whole of sect. Stolonifera, minus a single sp.) ranging from Mexico to Argentina.  The 12 indicated new combinations, all validated in the names of "Zuloaga & Morrone," include three that apply to spp. occurring in Costa Rica:  the former Panicum irregulare Swallen, P. pulchella Raddi, and P. stoloniferum Poir. (no combinations are made for vars. of the latter sp., as accepted in the Manual, so it would seem that these infraspecific taxa have been abandoned).  The one former member of sect. Stolonifera that was cast adrift (and thus retains its "incertae sedis" status) is Panicum venezuelae Hack., recently reported from Costa Rica [see The Cutting Edge 14(4): 3, Oct. 2007].  Ocellochloa differs from Panicum s. str. in "habit, inflorescence type, and several features of spikelet morphology, together with anatomy, physiological type, and basic chromosome number"; we will not go into all of the details here.  Features a synoptic treatment of the new genus, including synonymy and typology at all levels, a rigorous genus description (and tabular comparison with related genera), a dichotomous, indented key to spp., and a distribution summary for each sp.  Incidentally, the genus Echinolaena, with a single sp. in Costa Rica (not included in the study), was shown to be polyphyletic.  Illustrated with a color plate of photos taken in the field.

Smith, A. R., K. M. Pryer, E. Schuettpelz, P. Korall, H. Schneider & P. G. Wolf.  2008. Fern classification.  Pp. 417–467 in, T. A. Ranker & C. H. Haufler (eds.), Biology and evolution of ferns and lycophytes.  Cambridge Univ. Press, New York.

This is the latest incarnation of the reigning classification of ferns, but although we had been informed that there were some slight modifications to the original version [see The Cutting Edge 13(4): 9–10, Oct. 2006], our preliminary examination failed to detect any that affect our projects.  It should be noted that this classification omits the so-called lycophytes (Isoëtaceae, Lycopodiaceae, and Selaginellaceae) which, as documented elsewhere in this fascinating volume, comprise a distinct clade that is sister to the clade containing the seed plants and true ferns.

Soto Arenas, M. Á. & P. Cribb.  2010. A new infrageneric classification and synopsis of the genus Vanilla Plum. ex Mill. (Orchidaceae: Vanillinae).  Lankesteriana 9: 355–398.

The infrageneric classification, of no concern to us, involves two subgenera, one of which is further partitioned into two sections (all of the infrageneric taxa being described here as new).  The authors note that the two subgenera are distinctive enough to pass muster as full genera unto themselves; however, they decline to go that route, because the name Vanilla would cease to apply to the best known economic spp., and the genus in the broad, traditional sense is also monophyletic.  Twenty informal sp. groups are also briefly characterized (just two of which belong to the autonymic subgenus).  The synopsis, more valuable for our purposes, features keys to all of the 106 spp. tentatively accepted in this pantropical genus (a master key and seven subordinate keys all, most unfortunately, non-indented), followed by an alphabetical nomenclator, accounting for both accepted names and synonyms, with typology (where established), distribution summaries, and (as needed) discussions.  A brief consideration of "excluded and poorly understood species" terminates the account.

—— & R. L. Dressler.  2010. A revision of the Mexican and Central American species of Vanilla Plumier ex Miller with a characterization of their ITS region of the nuclear ribosomal DNA.  Lankesteriana 9: 285–354.

This critically important work, which was apparently to have been the doctoral dissertation of the late Miguel Ángel Soto Arenas (or a large part of it), was already cited as "en prensa" (by Soto Arenas and "E. R. Álvarez-Buylla") in the 2003 Manual treatment of Orchidaceae, but has gone conspicuously missing in action, until now.  We have Manual Orchidaceae coordinator Robert L. Dressler (JBL) and the editors of Lankesteriana to thank for the publication of this "working manuscript," which "was still unfinished at the moment of [Soto Arenas’s] death, and was recovered among [his] electronic files."  Despite the disclaimers, this document appears to be substantially complete and almost fully realized.  Fifteeen spp. of Vanilla are accepted in Mexico and Central America, including five that are described as new (three of the latter occurring in Costa Rica); two new combinations are also validated (one by Dressler) at subspecific rank.  For Costa Rica, the situation is nearly status quo vis-à-vis the Manual, with the same sp. total (10) and nomenclature.  Apart from minor adjustments in distribution and phenology, we note the following four more significant new developments:  first, the three provisionally named spp. of the Manual now have valid new sp. names, viz., Vanilla costaricensis Soto Arenas (= V. sp. A of the Manual), V. dressleri Soto Arenas (= V. sp. C), and V. sarapiquensis Soto Arenas (= V. sp. B); second, it seems that the Costa Rican populations of Vanilla pompona Schiede are referable to V. p. subsp. pittieri (Schltr.) Dressler (the combination validated based on V. pittieri Schltr., cited as a questionable synonym of V. pompona in the Manual); third, Vanilla phaeantha Rchb. f., of scattered occurrence around the Caribbean rim and not mentioned in the Manual, is tentatively reported from Costa Rica on the basis of a plant cultivated by one "Neal Byrd, owner of Finca La Gavilana, Province of San José," that was "apparently collected from the wild somewhere in Costa Rica" (however, the provenance of Byrd’s material is given in the specimen citations as "Los Diamantes," an experimental station near Guápiles where this sp. was very likely also cultivated; we would reject this record, but it must be admitted that V. phaeantha could well turn up in Costa Rica, since it is known from both Mexico and Panama); and fourth, two Costa Rican specimens are cited near the very end of the paper (p. 351) that "we are convinced...represent a different, undescribed species" (these are from 600–750 m elevation on the Atlantic slope, one near Tilarán and the other at Turrialba).  Features a dichotomous key to spp. and subspp., detailed descriptions of each sp. (but not of the genus), full synonymy and typology, discussions, comprehensive specimen citations, and (at the end) a section on excluded spp. and a consideration of hybrids.  As suggested by the title, the introduction is mainly concerned with molecular matters.  All of the spp. except (for some reason) Vanilla planifolia Andrews are illustrated with fine composite line drawings, and several (including V. planifolia) with photos of living material.

Incidentally, a whopping 14 new Costa Rican orchid spp. are reported in this issue of the Edge (see also the citations under "Bogarín," "Dressler," "Karremans," "Ormerod," and "Pupulin," this column; we are not going to count Oncidium sotoanum, discussed under "Jiménez Machorro"), rocketing our running count all the way up to 292 (i.e., new spp. of Orchidaceae described from Costa Rica since we started keeping track ca. 1993).

Sousa S., M.  2008. Las subespecies de Lonchocarpus rugosus Benth. (Leguminosae, Papilionoideae: Millettieae).  Ceiba 49: 119–132.

In a recent review of another paper by this same author (see this column in our last issue), we stated that we had not seen one of his prior papers in which a new infraspecific classification of Lonchocarpus rugosus Benth. was unveiled.  Here it is.  This is in fact a rigorous revision of L. rugosus recognizing four subsp., of which only one, L. r. subsp. gillyi (Lundell) M. Sousa comb. nov., occurs in Costa Rica.  Includes dichotomous, indented keys to the spp. (three) formerly included in L. rugosus and the subspp. of L. rugosus, full synonymy and typology, a detailed sp. description and much briefer subsp. descriptions, and, for each subsp., an enumeration of common names, distribution and phenology, representative (though extensive) specimen citations, and a brief discussion.  Two of the subspp. (including subsp. gillyi) are illustrated with composite drawings.

Steele, P. R., L. M. Friar, L. E. Gilbert & R. K. Jansen.  2010. Molecular systematics of the neotropical genus Psiguria (Cucurbitaceae):  implications for phylogeny and species identification.  Amer. J. Bot. 97: 156–173.

Much of this paper is concerned with intrageneric phylogeny and the establishment of DNA barcodes useful for sp. indentification in Psiguria (which is also confirmed as monophyletic).  We are more interested in some limited previews from the first author’s impending revision of the genus, cited as "in press."  While this will appear too late to be incorporated in full into our likewise impending Manual Cucurbitaceae treatment, we may be able to make a few adjustments on the basis of this preliminary offering.  Six spp. of Psiguria are to be recognized in the new revision, vs. 12, according to the latest draft of the Manual treatment.  Among the accepted spp. are both of those treated in the Manual, P. triphylla (Miq.) C. Jeffrey and P. warscewiczii (Hook. f.) Wunderlin, so we do not expect any substantial changes where those entities are concerned.  But we are exceedingly intrigued by the assertion that "at least one sample of [the otherwise Antillean Psiguria pedata (L.) R. A. Howard] has been collected in Costa Rica."  Of this we were quite ignorant, the specimen in question being presumably on loan to the first author of this paper.  Luckily, it is cited in Table 1:  Haber ex Bello et al. 4860 (MO), hailing from 1000 m elevation, in cloud forest near the Continental Divide (but "exposed to Atlantic trade winds"), in the Cordillera de Tilarán (the bulk of these data extracted from TROPICOS).  Although the author’s speculate that "it is possible that this specimen was collected from a recent introduction," the locale would perhaps suggest otherwise.  Too bad we couldn’t have known about this in time for formal inclusion in the Manual; as it is, we will have to scramble even  to mention it.

Víquez R., F.  2008. Frutas de Costa Rica/Fruits of Costa Rica.  F. Víquez R., San José, Costa Rica.  111 pp.

Like the volume on flowering trees reviewed previously in this column (see under "Sánchez"), this privately published, large-format book, by a retired professor at the Universidad de Costa Rica, clearly targets the ecotourism crowd.  Featured are 48 (by our count) different fruits likely to be encountered in Costa Rica, each depicted in a glitzy color close-up photo.  The entries are ordered alphabetically by common name, except that there is a separate section at the end (ordered similarly) covering fruits with seeds of commercial importance.  The fully bilingual text includes, for each entry, scientific and common names, descriptions of the plant and the fruit, and information on origin, cultivars and areas of cultivation (in Costa Rica), chemical composition and medicinal properties, and uses and processing.  The selection of fruits, ranging from the mundane (bananas, melons) to the obscure (arazá, uchuva), is very far from exhaustive, but adequate for general purposes.  We note just one egregious misidentification:  "Anona" is identified as Annona squamosa L., but the fruit depicted in the adjoining photo is of A. cherimola Mill. (which is also by far the more common of the two in Costa Rica; in fact, we have never seen A. squamosa there).  Nitpicking aside, this is the type of book that will fly off the shelves in the airport gift shops.

Weese, T. L. & L. Bohs.  2010. Eggplant origins:  out of Africa, into the Orient.  Taxon 59: 49–56.

The authors use DNA sequence data to show that the eggplant (Solanum melongena L.; Solanaceae) arose in Africa, not southeast Asia as has often been assumed.

Werff, H. van der.  2009. Nine new species of Licaria (Lauraceae) from tropical America.  Harvard Pap. Bot. 14: 145–159.

We had previously served notice, in these pages [see The Cutting Edge 16(3): 12, Jul. 2009], that "Licaria sp. 2" of the Manual was soon to get a real name, and that it is not endemic, as indicated in the Manual, but also occurs in Panama.  On the basis of that information, which was supplied by the author of the paper presently under review, we presume that Licaria nitida van der Werff (validated herein) applies to our Licaria sp. 2, though we can find no explict statement to that effect in the article, and the Manual voucher for sp. 2 is not cited.  Nonetheless, L. nitida exhibits the same geographic and altitudinal range (within Costa Rica) attributed to sp. 2 in the Manual, and differs from L. triandra (Sw.) Kosterm. in the same respects.  Licaria nitida is illustrated with a reduced photographic image of an isotype.  None of the other eight new spp. is of concern to us.

Yuan, Y.-W., D. J. Mabberley, D. A. Steane & R. G. Olmstead.  2010. Further disintegration and redefinition of Clerodendrum (Lamiaceae):  implications for the understanding of the evolution of an intriguing breeding strategy.  Taxon 59: 125–133.

We’ve heard from this team before about the impending disintegration of Clerodendrum [see The Cutting Edge 6(2): 7, Apr. 1999], but it hasn’t played out exactly the way they imagined back then.  At that time the Costa Rican native spp. appeared unthreatened.  However, this analysis of "four relatively fast-evolving chloroplast DNA regions" reveals that the New World spp. traditionally classed in Clerodendrum are more closely related to several other genera (including Aegiphila) than to the Old World Clerodendrum spp.  Rather than lump Aegiphila (etc.) into Clerodendrum, the authors elect to fragment the latter genus into three smaller genera, and because its generic type is an Old World sp., the name Clerodendrum is lost to the New World flora (except for some cultivated spp.).  The operative name for the genus harboring the native New World spp. (as well as several from the Old World) is Volkameria L., under which new combinations are validated by "Mabb. & Y. W. Yuan" for C. costaricensis Standl. and C. pittieri Moldenke, among others (V. ligustrina Jacq. was already available for the third spp. occurring in Costa Rica).  As far as we can tell, all exotic Clerodendrum spp. cultivated in Costa Rica [viz., C. chinense (Osbeck) Mabb., C. paniculatum L., and C. thomsoniae Balf.] will be (at least for the time being!) unaffected.  The "intriguing breeding strategy" is of no immediate concern to us.  We would, however, comment that the images of Aegiphila used in this paper to demonstrate the heterostyly of that genus are of A. odontophylla Donn. Sm., and that all of the 12 heterostylous Aegiphila spp. in Costa Rica also appear to be dioecious. Just one sp., A. costaricensis Moldenke, is apparently homostylous and hermaphroditic


© 1995-2022 Missouri Botanical Garden, All Rights Reserved
4344 Shaw Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 577-5100

Technical Support