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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 XXII, Number 2, April 2015

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

AMARYLLIDACEAE. The introduced exotic Hippeastrum puniceum (Lam.) Kuntze was briefly mentioned in Manual Vol. 2 (2003) as cultivated in Costa Rica, with no voucher cited, based on a similar allusion in Standley's Flora of Costa Rica. Now we can claim an actual voucher, collected in March by Manual co-PI Barry Hammel in the hills along the pineapple plantations above Volcán (at the eastern edge of the Valle de General), along a fence row, in front of an open place in the understory of secondary-looking forest, where perhaps, at one time, there was a dwelling. Given the situation, Barry opines that, had this collection been available back in the day, we might have been behooved to treat the sp. in full.

COSTACEAE. The name Costus pictus D. Don was mentioned in Manual Vol. 2 (2003: 421) only for having been misapplied to certain Costa Rican specimens of C. scaber Ruiz & Pav., a common sp. in the country. The natural range of C. pictus was indicated as "Méx. a Nic.," although, even at the time, the sp. had been collected from so near the border in southeastern Nicaragua that its full inclusion in the Manual might have been condoned. But now we would have no choice: Hammel 24847, collected from the ecotone between forest and cafetal near San Francisco de Heredia, has been determined as Costus pictus by family specialist Paul Maas (L), to whom an actual specimen was delivered on short notice. If not native, this population is throroughly naturalized, and the same goes for another discovered by Manual co-PI Barry Hammel in the highest portion of the Península de Nicoya.

ULMACEAE. It was a hot, dry, windy day, at the hottest, driest, windiest time of year, in the hottest, driest corner of Costa Rica. We spent several, seemingly futile hours reconnoitering a desolate patch of back-beach manglar-verging-on-saltmarsh-thicket—vegetation of depressingly low diversity, and with virtually nothing in fertile condition at the time. Oh, we remember the day quite vividly, in a negative vein, but do not recall the specimen that became A. Rodríguez et al. 7766, even though it was one of just a handful garnered at the site. Among the reasons we (the "et al." comprises two of your editors, MG and NZ) do not recall this specimen are that it was sterile, of ordinary appearance (a shrub with simple, alternate leaves), and identified at the time as Cordia dentata Poir. (Boraginaceae sensu lato), a frequent sp. in the region. But something rankled about that determination—in particular, the unusually small leaves of this collection—and 12 years later we have come to realize that, against all the odds, Alexánder Rodríguez (CR) made a significant discovery on that inauspicious day: Phyllostylon rhamnoides (J. Poiss.) Taub., the first Costa Rican record for both the sp. and genus. The bad news is that our epiphany comes just a few months too late for the inclusion of this taxon in the Manual, as Phyllostylon is a member of Ulmaceae sensu stricto (not Cannabaceae); in other words, this report represents the first nail in the coffin for our just-published Vol. 8 (see "Hammel" et al., under "Germane Literature"). As P. rhamnoides is one of those spp. that appeared to "skip" Costa Rica (it has been collected in both Nicaragua and Colombia), it might at least have been mentioned in the Manual Ulmaceae treatment, but alas, we cannot claim even that. The collection site, by the way, was Playa Papaturro, on the south shore of Bahía de Salinas.



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