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The Cutting Edge
Volume XXIV, Number 2, April 2017
News and Notes | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature |
Alvarado-Cárdenas, L. O., J. L. Villaseñor, L. López-Mata, J. Cadena & E. Ortiz. 2017. Systematics, distribution and conservation of Cascabela (Apocynaceae: Rauvolfioideae: Plumerieae) in Mexico. Pl. Syst. Evol. 303: 337–369.
This paper presents a more fully realized taxonomic treatment of Cascabela than the synoptic one included in a previous paper helmed by the first author [see The Cutting Edge 14(4): 3–4, Oct. 2007]. The earlier paper also featured a phylogenetic analysis "which suggested that Cascabela and Thevetia are sister taxa and should remain as separate genera," a view that is obviously maintained here. We would counter that sister-taxon status is never a sound cladistic argument for upending nomenclatural stability, hence the status quo should prevail here (Cascabela has traditionally been subsumed within Thevetia in most major regional floras). A recent consensus classification of Apocynaceae (Endress et al., 2014; Phytotaxa 159: 175–194) does not recognize Cascabela, nor will the soon-to-be-published Manual treatment of the family (as of this writing). Having said all of that, this remains an extremely useful contribution, as it includes all the Costa Rican representatives of "Cascabela," viz., Thevetia ovata (Cav.) A. DC. and the cultivated T. gaumeri Hemsl. and T. peruviana (Pers.) K. Schum. [Cascabelia thevetia (L.) Lippold]. Indeed, all six spp. of "Cascabela" occur in Mexico and are treated here, so this essentially qualifies as a taxonomic revision of the entire "genus." Provided are typology, synonymy, technical descriptions, and distribution summaries at all ranks, a dichotomous (though non-indented) key to spp., and (with regard to Mexico) assessments of conservation status, specimen citations, and common names and uses. There are no indices. The extensive and lavishly illustrated (including color photos of all six spp.) introductory part expounds upon systematics, distribution (with numerous maps), risk of extinction, and morphology.
Azofeifa-Bolaños, J. B., L. R. Gigant, M. Nicolás-García, M. Pignal, F. B. Tavares-González, E. Hágsater, G. A. Salazar-Chávez, D. Reyes-López, F. L. Archila-Morales, J. A. García-García, D. da Silva, A. Allibert, F. Solano-Campos, G. del C. Rodríguez-Jimenes, A. Paniagua-Vásquez, P. Besse, A. Pérez-Silva & M. Grisoni. 2017. A new vanilla species from Costa Rica closely related to V. planifolia (Orchidaceae). Eur. J. Taxon. 284: 1–26.
What? Eighteen authors and 26 pages to describe a single new sp.? In the European Journal of Taxonomy? This certainly comes out of left field, in several regards. The subject of the uproar is Vanilla sotoarenasii M. Pignal, Azof.-Bolaños & Grisoni, endemic to the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica (Llanura de Santa Clara and Baja Talamanca), where it has evidently been found by only a handful of people unknown to us. The ostensible new sp. is "close to but distinct from" Vanilla planifolia Andrews, with which it occurs sympatrically. The authors make their case tediously, albeit rigorously, on the basis of morphological differences (as observed on cultivated plants) in conjunction with molecular and chemical analyses. A tabular comparison distills the significant morphological differences to leaf size and shape, sepal size, and fruit shape (in cross section) and dehiscence. Both of the aforementioned spp. are featured in a distribution map and color photos from life, and a "croquis drawing" (whatever that is) of a flower is provided for V. sotoarenasii. The epithet of the new sp. honors the late Miguel Ángel Soto Arenas (1963–2009), first author of the Manual Vanilla account (2003); and while on the subject: Vanilla sotoarenasii does not correspond to any of the three provisionally named spp. in the Manual account, all of which have since received valid binomials [see the second entry under "Soto-Arenas," this column, in The Cutting Edge 17(2), Apr. 2010]. Thanks to our colleague Daniel Santamaría (MO) for somehow conjuring this paper!
Boutain, J. R. 2016. In reply to the Cannabis experts: plastome phylogenies support the parallel hypothesis for species concepts in the Cannabaceae (sensu stricto). Bot. Rev. (Lancaster) 82: 349–358.
The taxonomy of Cannabis has long been contentious, and is fraught with agronomic and legalistic complications. Most botanical sources have accepted just one sp., as according, e.g., to Mabberley's plant-book (2008) and the Manual draft treatment of Cannabaceae by Carol A. Todzia; however, agronomists have often recognized as many as three. This author comes down on the side of the agronomists, basing his somewhat philosophical argument on molecular evidence, while apparently suggesting that Cannabis has evolved in parallel with its trispecific sister-genus Humulus. Whatever.
Braz, D. M. & R. Monteiro. 2017. Taxonomic revision of Staurogyne (Nelsonioideae, Acanthaceae) in the Neotropics. Phytotaxa 296: 1–40.
Staurogyne is a pantropical genus with ca. 140 spp. (according to this source), but just 28 are accepted by these authors for the Neotropics. The neotropical contingent is almost exclusively South American (and principally Brazilian), with only S. miqueliana Kuntze extending into Mesoamerica (including Costa Rica, and northward to southern Mexico). The name Staurogyne agrestis Leonard was previously used for Costa Rican material of the last-mentioned sp., and its synonymization under S. miqueliana would be the only thunder here for us, had it not been recently stolen [see under "Daniel," this column, in The Cutting Edge 22(1), Jan. 2015]. Includes synonymy, typology, and technical descriptions at all ranks, a dichotomous (though non-indented) key to spp., representative specimen citations, distribution and phenology summaries, notes, and a paragraph on "Excluded species." There are no indices. The very brief introductory part deals mainly with taxonomic history. Most spp. are illustrated with composite line drawings and/or color photos from life (or else, recently published illustrations are cited). Although several new spp. of Staurogyne have been described by the authors in the past dozen years, none is decribed in this revision.
Calvente, A., E. M. Moraes, P. Lavor, I. A. S. Bonatelli, P. Nacaguma, L. M. Versieux, N. P. Taylor & D. C. Zappi. 2017. Phylogenetic analyses of Pilosocereus (Cactaceae) inferred from plastid and nuclear sequences. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 183: 25–38.
Pilosocereus is a genus of 42 spp. (according to these authors) that is widespread throughout the Neotropics, though not confirmed as occurring in Costa Rica. The relevance of this paper to Costa Rican floristics is based on the slenderest of premises: Pilosocereus leucocephalus (Poselg.) Byles & G. D. Rowley, native from Mexico to Nicaragua, was collected over a century ago on the Península de Nicoya (Tonduz 14002; CR, US), presumably (though not certainly) from a cultivated plant. Pilosocereus is here characterized as "paraphyletic" (it looks di- or polyphyletic to us), with two spp. "nested in a clade of outgroup species." Not to worry about our P. leucocephalus, however: it is deeply nested within the majority clade and, more significantly, is the type sp. of the genus!
Delprete, P. G. & J. H. Kirkbride, Jr. 2016. New combinations and new names in Palicourea (Rubiaceae) for species of Psychotria subgenus Heteropsychotria occurring in the Guianas. J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 10: 409–442.
The formal transfer of spp. from Palicourea to Psychotria [see also under "Taylor," this column, in our last issue] has become a feeding frenzy, with different authors diving in as befits their personal needs. These guys need names for spp. in the Guiana region, but inevitably, several of these extend to Costa Rica and carry repercussions for us. Thus, of the 60 new combinations proposed in this paper, four apply to spp. that occur in Costa Rica: those treated in Manual Vol. 7 (2014) as Psychotria gracilenta Müll. Arg., P. longicuspis Müll. Arg., P. microbotrys Ruiz ex Standl., and P. platypoda DC. Three of these receive straightforward new combinations in Palicourea in the names of the authors, while Psychotria platypoda becomes Palicourea dichotoma (Rudge) Delprete & J. H. Kirkbr. (the prior epithet, preoccupied in Psychotria, remaining available in Palicourea). One other development, though not involving a new combination, is pertinent to us: the sp. treated in the Manual as Psychotria capitata Ruiz & Pav. reverts to the prior Palicourea violacea (Aubl.) A. Rich. (the epithet violacea having been preoccupied in Psychotria).
Drew, B. T., J. G. González-Gallegos, C.-L. Xiang, R. Kriebel, C. P. Drummond, J. B. Walker & K. J. Sytsma. 2017. Salvia united: the greatest good for the greatest number. Taxon 66: 133–145.
Earlier work from this same lab portrayed Salvia (the largest genus in Lamiaceae) as non-monophyletic [see The Cutting Edge 11(4): 14, Oct. 2004], raising the specter of its possible fragmentation into numerous splinter genera were the splitting option to be pursued. At one point that process was actually initiated [see under "Will," this column, in The Cutting Edge 22(4), Oct. 2015] with the segregation of a smallish Old World contingent. But now the original authors very wisely nip that frightening prospect in the bud, arguing to maintain "a broadly defined Salvia, including...five small embedded genera." Preliminary concerns that Mentha, Origanum, and Thymus were also nested in Salvia (which would have virtually mandated fragmentation of the last-named genus) have since been laid to rest. The authors present some highly compelling arguments for their decision to lump (e.g., about 750 name changes are avoided!), but in our case they are preaching to the converted. Of the small, embedded genera that are lost, just two are familiar to us: Perovskia, with one sp. widely cultivated in temperate regions, and Rosmarinus, which harbors the herb rosemary (grown sparingly in Costa Rica). These (along with their three fallen comrades) are demoted to subgeneric rank under Salvia, and thus remain intact as taxonomic entities. All of the new combinations and nomina nova required by these transfers are validated by the authors, in various permutations. For those of our readers who may be interested, the cultivated Perovskia atriplicifolia Benth. becomes Salvia yangii B. T. Drew (the epithet atriplicifolia being unavailable in Salvia), while Rosmarinus officinalis L. becomes Salvia rosmarinus Schleid. These authors inexpicably insert "L." as a parenthetical authority for the latter name, citing Rosmarinus officinalis as a presumed basionym (how did this survive the editorial process at Taxon?). In fact, Salvia rosmarinus is a nomen novum, with priority dating only from 1852, not 1753, as the authors may have supposed. Thus the name would be potentially vulnerable to any synonym at sp. rank published in the intervening years, but surprisingly, none appears to exist. Perovskia and Rosmarinus notwithstanding, the biggest news here for us is that the status quo will prevail for the 20 spp. of Salvia in Costa Rica, and we can forget about learning genus names like Audibertia and Calosphace. Would that Hyptis could have been spared in this manner!
Egger, J. M. 2017. Lectotypification and synonymy of Castilleja arvensis (Orobanchaceae), with notes on its status, identification, and relationships. Phytoneuron 2017-12: 1–15.
Castilleja arvensis Schltdl. & Cham. is the most distinctive and widespread sp. of its genus in Costa Rica, and the only one that occurs at lower elevations (below 1100 m). Here it is lectotypified (yawn), and a small key is provided to distinguish it from two similar spp. (neither of which occurs in Costa Rica). All three spp. are depicted with color photos of their types and of living plants in the field. Moving right along...
Dittrich, V. A. O., A. R. Smith & A. L. de Gasper. 2017. Parablechnum roraimense and P. paucipinna spp. nov. (Blechnaceae: Polypodiopsida), lectotypification of P. stuebelii, and citation corrections in the family. Phytotaxa 292: 65–73.
Only the "citation corrections" have consequences (one, anyway) for us. Among the many new combinations proposed by this group in their recent reclassification of Blechnaceae (see under "Gasper," this column, in our last issue), five were invalid because their intended basionyms were not cited with full and direct references. Those errors are corrected here, making 20 Jan 2017 (rather than 21 Sep 2016) the date of valid publication for these particular combinations. Just one of the five errant names applies to a taxon occurring in Costa Rica: Parablechnum schiedeanum (C. Presl) Gasper & Salino [the former Blechnum schiedeanum (C. Presl) Hieron.].
Fonseca, L. H. M., S. M. Cabral, M. F. Agra & L. G. Lohmann. 2017. Taxonomic revision of Dolichandra (Bignonieae, Bignoniaceae). Phytotaxa 301: 1–70.
Having long ago come to terms with the absorption of Macfadyena, Melloa, and Parabignonia by the formerly monospecific Dolichandra [see under "Lohmann," this column, in The Cutting Edge 21(3), Jul. 2014] and revised the Manual Bignoniaceae draft treatment accordingly, we find no noteworthy surprises in this revision, welcome and useful though it may be. The reconfigured Dolichandra is a neotropical genus of nine spp., of which four occur in Costa Rica. Features typology, synonymy, and generous descriptions at all ranks, a dichotomous (though non-indented) key to spp., notes, distribution and phenology summaries, evaluations of conservation status, specimen citations (often exhaustive), distribution maps, enumerations of invalid and excluded names, and an index to exsiccatae. The illustrated introductory part addresses taxonomic history, phylogeny, reproductive biology, cytology, distribution, and uses. Excellent composite line drawings depict every sp.
Kocyan, A. & J. Wiland-Szymańska. 2016. Friedmannia: a new genus from the Seychelles and the beginning of a generic realignment of Curculigo (Hypoxidaceae). Phytotaxa 283: 54–64.
We bypassed this on the first go, for obvious reasons, but came back for a second look. Recent molecular analyses (involving both of these authors) have suggested that Curculigo is non-monophyletic. The action taken in this paper, though of no interest to us, dispatches one aspect of the problem. However, Curculigo remains paraphyletic with respect to Molineria (which is itself triphyletic, according to the sole cladogram), and the title of this paper implies that more changes are looming. If the splitting option is prosecuted, the consequences for Costa Rica figure to be minimal, as both Curculigo scorzonerifolia (Lam.) Baker (the only sp. in the group native to the country) and Molineria capitulata (Lour.) Herb. (cultivated) are the effective type spp. of their respective genera. However, a lumping course could result in Molineria being synonymized under Curculigo—which would not be such a big deal, as the name Curculigo capitulata (Lour.) Kuntze has been used frequently in the past, and is included as a synonym in Manual Vol. 2 (2003).
Ley-López, J. M. & C. O. Morales. 2015. Descripción y clave dicotómica de plántulas de especies de palmas (Arecaceae) nativas de la Reserva Biológica Tirimbina, Costa Rica, con observaciones generales sobre propagación e historia natural. Met. Ecol. Sist. 10(3): 1–40.
This contribution provides detailed descriptions and color photos from life of seeds and seedlings for 26 of the 27 native palm spp. recorded from the private reserve specified in the title (at ca. 200 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera Central), which is relatively diverse for this family. For whatever reason, Bactris coloradonis L. H. Bailey ("muy escasa" at the site) is the sole omission. Of the spp. treated, 13 are characterized as easily recognizable in their earliest stages, while the remainder require detailed measurements or further development. A dichotomous, indented key to genera based on seedling characters precedes the formal descriptions, with keys to spp. nested under particular genera as needed. The genus and sp. entries are all ordered alphabetically. This work will undoubtedly prove extremely useful at the nearby Estación Biológica La Selva, which shares substantially the same palm flora.
We are always gratified to learn that "MES" lives on!
Lloyd Evans, D. & S. V. Joshi. 2016. Complete chloroplast genomes of Saccharum spontaneum, Saccharum officinarum and Miscanthus floridulus (Panicoideae: Andropogoneae) reveal the plastid view on sugarcane origins. Syst. Biodivers. 14: 548–571.
This study, largely of agronomic interest, results in the validation of the name Saccharum cultum Lloyd Evans & S. V. Joshi "for the ancestor of all lineages currently classified as Saccharum hybrid cultivars" (whatever that means). The "new" sp. is said to have originated from Polynesia, whence the holotype, although a (sort of) paratype hails from Panama. Apart from that, and despite a verbose discussion, we learn next to nothing about the contemporary status or distribution of this entity. It seems to us a virtually theoretical construct, unless we are missing something (which wouldn't be the first time!).
Lóriga, J., L. Regalado, C. Prada, H. Schneider & J. Heinrichs. 2017. Phylogenetic relationships of two Cuban spleenworts with unusual morphology: Asplenium (Schaffneria) nigripes and Asplenium pumilum (Aspleniaceae, leptosporangiate ferns). Pl. Syst. Evol. 303: 165–176.
Molecular and cladistic analyses show that the monospecific neotropical genus Schaffneria is deeply nested within the much larger genus Asplenium and sister (among the spp. sampled in this study) to A. pumilum Sw. The authors "thus propose to treat Schaffneria as a synonym of Asplenium." As luck would have it, the combination Asplenium nigripes (Fée) Hook. is already available for the former Schaffneria nigripes Fée. This concerns us only because the sp. in question was collected in Costa Rica in 1968, at 1300 m elevation on the slopes of Volcán Tenorio (Gómez 455, CR), and never before or since (as far as we can determine); otherwise, it is known only from Mexico, Guatemala, and Cuba. Asplenium pumilum is considerably more widespread in tropical America (as well as Africa), and has been collected numerous times in Costa Rica.
Ramírez Amezcua, J. M. 2016. Piper commutatum (Piperaceae), the correct name for a widespread species in Mexico and Mesoamerica. Acta Bot. Mex. 116: 9–19.
The sp. alluded to in the title, of minor economic importance (at least in Mexico), has endured a series of name-changes during the past half-century, and the odyssey continues with this paper. We first learned it as Piper papantlense C. DC., the name used in William C. Burger's (F) Flora costaricensis Piperaceae treatment (1971). That name was, however, synonymized under P. sanctum (Miq.) Schltdl. ex C. DC. in a 1993 paper by Flora mesoamericana collaborator Margaret C. Tebbs [The Cutting Edge 1(3): 7–8, Jul. 1994 (only in paper)], and we adapted accordingly. But Manual (and current Flora mesoamericana) Piperaceae author Ricardo Callejas (HUA) had different ideas, considering P. papantlense and P. sanctum (both typified by Mexican specimens) to have been misapplied to Costa Rican material, and adopting the name P. dissimulans Trel. for a sp. he regarded as endemic to Tiquicia. The present author concurs that the name Piper sanctum was misapplied to the more inclusive sp. under discussion (it is properly a synonym of P. auritum Kunth), but not P. papantlense; however, he resurrects an older name, the obscure Piper commutatum Steud. (also based on a Mexican specimen), to replace the latter. So, what does this mean for Costa Rican material, in the eyes of this author? Unfortunately, he drops the ball on this; while he does cite Piper heterophlebium Trel.—based on a Costa Rican type and synonymized under P. dissimulans by Callejas—as a synonym of P. commutatum, but fails to indicate the proper disposition (in his mind) of P. dissimulans itself. We may conclude that the author considers P. commutatum as extending to Costa Rica, but cannot rule out that he also accepts P. dissimulans as a valid sp. endemic to the country.
Rojas-Alvarado, A. F. 2017. Novelties in Campyloneurum (Polypodiaceae) from Mesoamerica. Amer. J. Pl. Sci. 8: 921–940.
Three new spp. are described in this paper, but only one occurs in Costa Rica: Campyloneurum leoniae A. Rojas (its epithet honoring Peruvian pteridologist Blanca León), restricted to montane habitats (700–2000 m) in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. The new sp. is segregated and distinguished from C. irregulare Lellinger, the status of which in Costa Rica is now somewhat nebulous. Ditto for Campyloneurum amphostenon (Kunze ex Klotzsch) Fée, which (sensu Flora mesoamericana Vol. 1) entrained C. irregulare in synonymy, as well as C. pittieri (Christ) Ching, here resurrected and applied to numerous collections from Costa Rica and westernmost Panama. Campyloneurum pittieri (the basionym of which is lectotypified) and all three new spp. are illustrated with basic composite line drawings. We had never before heard of the American Journal of Plant Sciencies but, if this article is any indication, it must have little in the way of an editorial staff.
—— & J. D. Tejero-Díez. 2017. Novelties and notes in Lindsaea (Lindsaeaceae) from Mexico and Central America. Phytotaxa 296: 147–160.
This miscellany features three new spp., one new combination (a subsp. elevated to sp. rank), two erstwile synonyms reinstated as accepted sp. names, and several new country records. All of these affect Costa Rica, with the exception of one of the reinstated names and one of the new country records. The three new spp. are: Lindsaea angustipinna A. Rojas & Tejero, previously confused with L. arcuata Kunze and L. lancea (L.) Bedd., restricted to Nicaragua and Costa Rica; L. fuscopetiolata A. Rojas & Tejero, most similar to L. divaricata Klotzsch, ranging sporadically from southern Mexico (Chiapas) to central Panama; and L. mesoamericana A. Rojas & Tejero, mostly misidentified as L. lancea, but "the most common [Lindsaea] species in Meosamerica" (from southern Mexico to central Panama). Lindsaea quadrangularis Raddi subsp. subalata K. U. Kramer is raised to sp. rank as L. subalata (K. U. Kramer) A. Rojas & Tejero, and the authors note that "the other subspecies [none of which apparently occurs in Mesoamerica] need to be raised to species status" (but do not effect those changes). Resurrected from synonymy under L. arcuata, and newly reported from Costa Rica (where it is rather widespread on both slopes of the Cordillera de Talamanca), is Lindsaea horizontalis Hook. Also reported for the first time from Costa Rica are Lindsaea divaricata (from low elevations on the Atlantic slope) and L. leprieurii Hook. (from the Península de Osa), both of which are widespread in (mainly) South America. A dichotomous (though non-indented) key to Mexican and Central American spp. of Lindsaea is appended. Rather curiously missing in action from the key is Lindsaea klotzschiana Moritz ex Ettingsh.; we suppose the authors must be sequestering Mesoamerican material generally assigned to that sp. under the name L. feei C. Chr., usually treated as a synonym, and wonder why this decision was not highlighted in the body of the text. All in all, this contribution raises as many questions as it answers. In particular, the segregation of much material into new and resurrected spp. and away from such familiar concepts as Lindsaea arcuata, L. lancea, and L. quadrangularis, for which no specimens are cited, leaves us puzzled as to the current status of the latter entities (in the view of these authors) in Costa Rica. To cite just one example: a few La Selva specimens previously identified as Lindsaea lancea and L. quadrangularis subsp. subalata are cited in this paper under L. mesoamericana and L. divaricata (respectively); however, we cannot rule out, from this source, the possibility that the real L. lancea and L. subalata may also occur at La Selva. Our hope is that the authors will eventually get around to publishing a full-scale revision, with lots of specimen citations. All three new spp. are illustrated with elemental line drawings by the first author.
Rojas Álvarez, M., C. O. Morales & M. A. Blanco. 2016. Conservación de orquídeas en una reserva privada de Palmares, Costa Rica. Cuad. Invest. UNED 8: 231–240.
The city of Palmares is located on the Pacific versant of Costa Rica, in Prov. Alajuela, near the western end of the Valle Central, just southeast of the better-known city of San Ramón. This is not the first place one would look for forest reserves or orchid diversity, and indeed, the area has been heavily developed for many years. The Reserva Madre Verde (RMV), referred to in the title, lies about 6 km west of Palmares, at roughly 1100–1450 m elevation on the flanks of the Montes del Aguacate, in an area of "bosque muy húmedo" (with annual precipitation ranging from 1700–2000 mm). In this tiny (40 ha) plot of land, the authors were able to ferret out a rather astounding total of 109 spp. of Orchidaceae (representing 46 genera), all of which are enumerated in an annotated (as to terrestrial, epilithic, or epiphytic) checklist. The checklist is presented in an odd and confusing format, with the names ordered alphabetically across two columns (rather than down each column). No herbarium vouchers are cited in the checklist (or elsewhere in the paper), and we sense that no such specimens were prepared (which would be understandable in this case). The most diverse genera at RMV were Epidendrum and Maxillaria (s. l.), with 12 spp. each. Several minor elevational (14) and provincial (nine) records inevitably accrued, but the most noteworthy finds were Lepanthes guardiana Endrés ex Luer and L. minutissima Endrés ex Luer—both ostensibly known by a single prior collection, made ca. 1867, at unknown localities in Costa Rica. This article features photos (in color, and from life) of these two spp., that of L. guardiana being perhaps the first ever published; however, a photo of L. minutissima was published in a recent checklist of Panamanian orchids [see under "Bogarín," this column, in The Cutting Edge 22(2), Apr. 2015], wherein a Panamanian voucher was cited. The authors stress the value of "even small private reserves in very disturbed areas," and "recommend continuing investigation on local floras." Sadly, reserves are far from sacrosanct, and the authors noted the disappearance of various orchid plants (likely due to the actions of commercial collectors) from RMV during the course of their study.
The journal Cuadernos de Investigación UNED (alternately, Research Journal of the Costa Rican Distance Education University), of which we were previously ignorant, may be accessed online at:
Once again, we are grateful to the ever-resourceful Daniel Santamaría (MO) for coming up with this one! And speaking of DASA...
Santamaría-Aguilar, D. & R. Aguilar. 2017. Dacryodes talamancensis (Burseraceae), la segunda especie del género para América Central. Phytoneuron 2017-11: 1–6.
Finally we have a name, Dacryodes talamancensis D. Santam. & Aguilar, for a sp. that has been known to Manul project personnel since it was first collected (by the second author) a quarter century ago! The stumbling block has been the unavailability of complete fertile material; indeed, staminate flowers remain unknown, but the authors have deemed the available material adequate to distinguish the Costa Rican entity from the Amazonian D. peruviana (Loes.) H. J. Lam, which it most resembles. The other Central American sp. implied by the title, the Panamanian Dacryodes patrona Daly (described only three years ago), is also contrasted with D. talamancensis. So far as is known, the new sp. is endemic to Costa Rica, where it occurs on both slopes of the Cordillera de Talamanca at elevations of 450–1150 m (though not below 1100 m on the Pacific slope). Features a distribution map and color photos of herbarium and living material (the latter sterile).
—— & L. P. Lagomarsino. 2016. Two new Pentaphylacaceae species from southern Central America. Brittonia 69: 100–108.
One of these novelties is endemic to Costa Rica, the other to Panama. Our guy is Freziera monteverdensis D. Santam., Lagom. & Q. Jiménez, which occurs at elevations of 600–1600 m on the Caribbean slope (and near the Continental Divide) of the Cordilleras de Guanacaste and de Tilarán, and the western Cordillera Central. The new sp., depicted in an excellent composite line drawing and several color photos from life, does not correspond to "Freziera sp. A" of the Manual Theaceae treatment (2015), for which we are still awaiting a name; rather, it is segregated from F. friedrichsthaliana (Szyszył.) Kobuski, in the sense of the Manual, to which it is compared most closely. Most of the paratypes of F. monteverdensis were cited (beginning with Funk et al. 10993) in the Manual discussion of F. friedrichsthaliana as exemplars of an aberrant series diverging from the more typical material as indicated by square-bracketed expressions in the description.
This paper was published online on 8 November, 2016, and we have been holding onto it since that time awaiting the assignment of page numbers so that it could be cited properly. Why are some journals able to assign page numbers at the moment of online publication, while others are not up to the task? C'mon, man!
—— & ——. 2017. Two new species and a new combination in Protium (Burseraceae) from Costa Rica. PhytoKeys 76: 89–113.
Wow, this crew has been active of late! The action behind this paper stems from the first author's recent work on a Manual draft treatment of Burseraceae, which required him to come to grips with the difficult genus Protium (among others!). Two of the spp. newly recognized herein are endemic to Costa Rica, and both have been confused with Protium costaricense (Rose) Engl. Protium aguilarii D. Santam. (sp. nov.) is restricted to the Península de Osa (the epithet honors Osa flora guru Reinaldo Aguilar), whence it is known by just six fertile collections. Protium brenesii (Standl.) D. Santam. (comb. nov., based on Trichilia brenesii Standl.) is a largely montane sp., occurring from 550 m to at least 1500 m elevation, on both slopes, and in all the principal Costa Rican cordilleras. The second sp. described here as new, Protium hammelii D. Santam., has been confused with P. glabrum (Rose) Engl. and P. panamense (Rose) I. M. Johnst., from each of which it is carefully distinguished. Though best known and most frequently collected at the Estación Biológica La Selva, P. hammelii is widespread in the Atlantic lowlands (up to about 700 m) of Costa Rica and ranges well into Nicaragua. The authors also provide comprehensive specimen citations for Protium costaricense, which may now be characterized as restricted in Costa Rica to the Atlantic lowlands (up to perhaps 300 m elevation) and extending to southeastern Nicaragua and central Panama. Two distribution maps serve the three newly conceived spp., as well as P. costaricense. Protium aguilarii and P. hammelii (and some similar spp.) are illustrated with composite line drawings and color photos from life, while P. brenesii and P. costaricense have to settle for color photos of type specimens.
Smith, G. F. & E. Figueiredo. 2016. Widely cultivated, large-growing yuccas: notes on Yucca elephantipes Regel ex Trel., Yucca gigantea Lem., and Yucca guatemalensis Baker (Agavaceae). Bradleya 34: 28–37.
In which the authors make a valiant, if ill-fated, attempt to parse the taxonomy of New World taxa based exclusively on material in cultivation, principally in the Old World. They conclude that the names Yucca gigantea and Y. guatemalensis apply to distinct spp., separated mainly on the basis of trunk stoutness, leaf length, and inflorescence form. But they raise more questions than they answer. In particular, on what basis have they assigned plants to Y. gigantea, for which a type was not designated in the protologue, nor, it appears, by any subsequent authors (including these ones)? Also: if these really are two distinct spp., which is cultivated in Costa Rica? The authors cite no specimens, nor do they discuss distribution, other than to suggest that Y. guatemalensis is more commonly cultivated. The name Yucca guatemalensis was used in both Flora mesoamericana Vol. 6 (1994) and Manual Vol. 2 (2003), neither of which so much as mentioned Y. gigantea—even though the latter name was based on material "probablement" from Mexico. It turns out that the correct application of the name Yucca gigantea is of considerable interest, mainly because it has priority over Y. guatemalensis, should the two prove conspecific (as has been suggested in the past). We doubt, however, that this paper will be the final word on the topic. Features numerous color photos of various Yucca spp., for whatever that is worth.
Sothers, C. A., G. T. Prance & M. W. Chase. 2016. Towards a monophyletic Licania: a new generic classification of the polyphyletic Neotropical genus Licania (Chrysobalanaceae). Kew Bull. 71(58): 1–68.
We were warned of these developments quite some time ago by the second author, who is also the author of the yet-to-be-published Manual Chrysobalanaceae treatment (and has already obligingly modified his manuscript in accordance with the new system). As indicated by the title, Licania, as we have come to know it, has been revealed as non-monophyletic by molecular and cladistic analyses, hence cannot be allowed to prevail. The authors' resolution is to recognize eight separate genera in place of just one, and for us it is nearly the worst-case scenario: seven of the eight segregates occur in Costa Rica! The new or resurrected genus names to which we must now become accustomed are as follows: the monospecific Cordillera Sothers & Prance (gen. nov.), with the former Licania platycalyx (Cuatrec.) Sothers & Prance; the trispecific Geobalanus Small, with the former Licania riverae Prance in Costa Rica; Hymenopus (Benth.) Sothers & Prance (stat. nov.), with 28 spp., including the former Licania arachicarpa N. Zamora, L. costaricensis Standl. & Steyerm., L. glabriflora Prance, and L. operculipetala Standl. & L. O. Williams in Costa Rica; Leptobalanus (Benth.) Sothers & Prance (stat. nov.), with 31 spp., including the former Licania diegogomezii Prance, L. jefensis Prance, L. sparsipilis S. F. Blake, and L. stevensii Prance in Costa Rica; the dispecific Microdesmia (Benth.) Sothers & Prance (stat. nov.), with the former Licania arborea Seem. in Costa Rica; and Moquilea Aubl., with 54 spp., including the former Licania belloi Prance, L. corniculata Prance, L. kallunkiae Prance, and L. platypus (Hemsl.) Fritsch in Costa Rica. All the required new combinations at sp. rank are validated in the names of the first two authors. Just four Costa Rican spp. remain in Licania (now reduced from "over 214" to "c. 100" spp.), and thus do not require new combinations: L. affinis Fritsch, L. hypoleuca Benth., L. kunthiana Hook. f., and L. micrantha Miq. One troubling feature of this classification concerns the proposed genus Hymenopus, which appears diphyletic in the sole published cladogram. Citing the lack of "any clear morphological synapomorphies" and of strong cladistic support to delimit two distinct subclades, the authors "have chosen to maintain all the taxa as a single genus." However, they acknowledge that "further work" may change their view on this.
As we always ask ourselves in cases like this: was such a drastic overhaul really necessary? Our inspection of the cladogram confirms that the authors indeed had little choice but to restrict Licania as they have done, and to recognize Geobalanus and Moquilea as distinct; however, all the remaining new segregates [including Parinariopsis (Huber) Sothers & Prance, the one missing from Costa Rica] might just as well have been combined in a single genus. This option would have had the advantage of obviating the Hymenopus problem discussed above, as both the subclades of that taxon would be subsumed (together with Leptobalanus and, optionally, Cordillera and Microdesmia) in the larger generic concept. Although the authors do not discuss this classificatory option (or any others), we suspect that at least two considerations dissuaded them from this course: first, the larger generic concept would have to include Gaulettia Sothers & Prance, proposed just a few years ago (2014) by these same authors to accommodate nine South American spp.; and second, it would also have to include the monospecific, African Afrolicania, which (as far as we can determine) would entrain the operative genus name for the entire group! The notion of a largely neotropical genus denominated by a name beginnning with "Afro-" does rub one the wrong way. In any event, the deed is now done, and we must suppose that, should Hymenopus eventually prove diphyletic, we will have yet another segregate genus to contend with.
This contribution includes a tabular, morphological comparison of all the genera segregated from Licania of yore, a dichotomous and indented key to same, and a synoptic treatment of the entire group, providing synonymy, typology, and distribution summaries at all ranks, as well as a technical description and sp. key for each genus. The genera "are presented in order of increasing number of species," while the sp. entries are ordered alphabetically within each genus. Two "imperfectly known species" are appended to the end of the enumeration. The sole sp. of Cordillera is depicted in a full-page, composite line drawing, while the remaining segregate genera are allotted only a drawing of a transverse flower section of a representative sp.
Note that we have modified our citation style (here and in the Manual) for articles in this funky new Kew Bulletin format, mainly to omit the issue number, which is not strictly necessary (the article numbers now being consecutive within each volume).
Szlachetko, D. L. & M. Kolanowska. 2016. Generic separateness and infrageneric classification of Sigmatostalix (Orchidaceae). Wulfenia 23: 68–79.
—— & ——. 2016.
Notes on the genus Trichocentrum (Orchidaceae, Oncidieae) and its relatives. Wulfenia 23: 203–220.
We are considering the above two articles together here, because they are of the same ilk: the authors are attempting to go against the grain of a recent and widely accepted consensus classification of Orchidaceae [see under "Chase," this column, in The Cutting Edge 22(2), Apr. 2015] for no reason other than personal whimsy (in neither case do they dispute the underlying cladistics). The pitch to subdivide Trichocentrum is the second to come along in recent months (see under "Cetzal-Ix," this column, in our last issue), begging questions such as: does even a consensus classification guarantee nomenclatural stability?; and, can taxonomists ever agree on anything? Lumping and splitting seem as diametrically opposed and irreconcilable as conservative vs. liberal have become in the political arena. In the case of Sigmatostalix, the authors advocate its recognition as distinct from Oncidium, within which it is nested; this will presumably necessitate additional "fragmentation of Oncidium s.latiss.," but the authors do not go that far at the present time. They do debut a new infrageneric classification of Sigmatostalix, featuring nine sections, perhaps in the belief that this will strengthen its status as a distinct genus. A tabular morphological comparison of Oncidium, Ornithophora, and Sigmatostalix is provided, as well as a key to the sections of the last-mentioned genus. It is not entirely clear why the oligospecific, South American Ornithophora was included in these analyses, nor what the authors have concluded with regard to its status. The Trichocentrum paper includes a tabular morphological comparison of and a key to all the proposed splinter genera, as wall as synonymy and typology, a technical description, and a brief distribution summary for each. Both papers feature (at minimum) a composite line drawing and black-and-white photo from life for each accepted genus.
—— & ——. 2016. Five new species of Microchilus (Orchidaceae-Spiranthoideae-Goodyerinae) from the Neotropics. Phyton (Horn) 56: 255–266.
Microchilus was still subsumed within Erythrodes sensu lato (and sensu stricto!) in the Manual Orchidaceae treatment (2003) by Robert L. Dressler. Often we have noticed that the recognition of splinter genera is accompanied by inflation in sp. totals (as if more spp. were needed to justify the smaller genera), and this group is no exception: these authors estimate that Microchilus now harbors "about 140" spp. (perhaps the last word should be in quotes as well), more than three times the total accepted 15 years ago (and more than twice the total indicated for Erythrodes sensu lato in the Manual treatment!). We have deduced the methodology of the present authors to be as follows: visit a particular herbarium, boil up flowers from as many spp. as possible, make drawings of these, take the drawings back home to Poland, and employ them as the basis for erecting new spp. via what we have called the "straw dog" tactic (i.e., prop up one or two ostensibly similar spp. and differentiate the proposed new sp. from those, generally by means of minute floral details). It is telling that most of the new spp. described by these authors (and all five in the present paper) are predicated upon a single specimen (even when it is from a heavily botanized locale). Two of the novelties in this paper hail from Costa Rica: Microchilus atwoodii Szlach. & Kolan., from Monteverde (!), compared with an Ecuadorean taxon; and M. pilosus Szlach. & Kolan., from 500 m on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera Central, compared with two Andean spp. Each is illustrated with a basic composite line drawing of a flower.
And with that, our world-famous running count of new orchid spp. described from Costa Rica reaches 374 (now including Epidendrum sandiorum Hágsater, Karremans & L. Sánchez, originally described as a hybrid, but recently elevated to the status of a bonafide sp.; see under "Hágsater," this column, in our last issue).
Wilson, K. L. 2017. Report of the General Committee: 16. Taxon 66: 189–190.
A stalemate by the Nomenclature Committee for Vascular Plants [see under "Applequist," this column, in The Cutting Edge 22(2), Apr. 2015] had the short-lived result of maintaining the prior Calyptranthes (Myrtaceae) over Myrcia, in the face of their impending merger. Enter the General Committee who, after an initial vote in favor of Calyptranthes, finally cave in to the evil forces of conservationism. The result is that Myrcia is now conserved against Calyptranthes, once and for all (we think!).