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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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

Volume XIX, Number 2, April 2012

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

EL AMBIENTE FÍSICO/THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT. Yes, we are proposing a small correction to our “Introducción” (Manual Vol. 1). On p. 53 (p. 52 of the Spanish text), we indicate that the maximum elevation of the Península de Nicoya is 983 m. This happens to be the elevation at the summit of Cerro Vista al Mar, the highest peak of the main axial ridge of the peninsula, to which all eyes are involuntarily drawn as the chief eminence, and which we had logically concluded to represent exactly that, following a cursory check of all relevant topographic maps to eliminate other possibilities. Our Gazetteer baldly anoints Cerro Vista al Mar as “the highest point on the peninsula” (a statement that persists even in the new revision). Nevertheless, it is all a lie! While researching localities on the Península de Nicoya in connection with his taxonomic work, Manual co-PI Barry Hammel chanced to encounter a peak of 1018 m elevation, at approximately 9º57’N and 85º17’W, on the Cerro Azul quadrangle. Why had we never noticed this peak before? First, it is located in a region that lacks other notably high summits (we could find no others in the near vicinity attaining even 850 m), so our eyes were not drawn to the general area. Second, and most significantly, the peak has no name, being marked on the map simply by an unobtrusive benchmark named “Azul.” It is probably for these same reasons that no one else has noticed this error and called us on it during the past nine years (that, and the fact that nobody reads this sludge we churn out!). We propose to call this spurned peak “Cerro Azul,” since that is the name of the benchmark, the quadrangle, and a village about 3 km to the southwest; plus, we imagine that “Cerro Azul” is the name used for this peak by local residents, even if it is not recorded adequately on the topographical map. Note, however, that the place-name “Cerro Azul” (whether in reference to the peak or the town) has not been included in our Gazetteer (including the new revision), because we have never seen it used on a herbarium label. We hope to change that circumstance in the near future.

CONVOLVULACEAE. Manual co-PI Barry Hammel has happened upon an embarrassing oversight in his own Manual treatment for this family: the Costa Rican distribution of Ipomoea ramosissima (Poir.) Choisy fails to account for the type locality of one of its listed synonyms, I. quesadana Standl. The latter name was based on a specimen collected (as we might have guessed from its epithet!) at Villa (Ciudad) Quesada, on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera Central. Thus, the distribution statement for I. ramosissima should be reconfigured as follows: “vert. Carib. Cord. de Tilarán, ambas verts. Cords. de Guanacaste y Central, vert. Pac., P.N. Carara.” No changes are indicated for the life zones or elevational range. The blame for this oversight falls equally (if not more heavily) on the shoulders of co-PI Mike Grayum, who is generally encharged with checking these type localities. On a similar note, Manual users should delete the “+” from the elevational range of Ipomoea sp. A, which is only known (at least for the time being) from Cerro Vista al Mar (maximum elevation 983 m; see the foregoing entry).

LORANTHACEAE. Minor upheaval in Struthanthus! One thing leads to another, and a card house (okay, a card hut) comes tumbling down. This all started when we discovered that the specimen G. Herrera 3326, which had been determined in TROPICOS as Struthanthus burgeri Kuijt, is actually a paratype of S. acostensis L. A. González & J. F. Morales, and that the label data of the specimen in question were unaccounted for in the distribution/phenology summary of the latter sp. in the Manual (Vol. 6). Worse yet, it turns out that the Herrera specimen is our cited voucher for S. burgeri! How did this happen? In the first place, your errant editors probably overlooked the inconspicuous paratype citation on the fourth page of the protologue of S. acostensis; and in the second place, in their haste to avoid citing the type of S. burgeri, said editors must have replaced it uncritically with the misidentified specimen under discussion. The result of all this is that the Manual distribution/phenology summaries (as well as the voucher citations) for both S. acostensis and S. burgeri need to be modified; we here offer amended paragraphs, taking the opportunity to flesh them out with additional data not previously available to us:

Struthanthus acostensis: Bosque muy húmedo y pluvial, bosques primarios y sitios alterados, 700–1150+ m; vert. Carib. E Cord. de Talamanca, vert. Pac. Cord. de Talamanca, Cerro Turrubares, S Fila Costeña (Fila Cruces). Fl. abr., may., jul. ENDÉMICA. (G. Herrera 3326; INB, MO)

Struthanthus burgeri: Bosque muy húmedo, bosques y potreros, 750–850 m; vert. Pac., N Fila Costeña. Fl. feb. CR, Ecua. (Lobo et al. 288; CR, MO)

The Lobo specimen is the only available Costa Rican voucher for Struthanthus burgeri other than the type. If confirmed, the Ecuadorian record (a recent identification in TROPICOS by family specialist Job Kuijt) signifies the loss of another Costa Rican endemic. Host data are still lacking for both of the spp. under consideration.



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