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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume VII, Number 1, January 2000

News and Notes | Recent Treatments | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature

ASCLEPIADACEAE. Metalepis peraffinis (Woodson) Morillo, treated in the Flora of Panama in synonymy under Cynanchum cubense (A. Rich.) Woodson, has been collected on the Península de Osa by the redoubtable Reinaldo Aguilar. This is the first Costa Rican record for the genus and sp. alike. Thanks to MO stalwart Doug Stevens for the determination.

CANELLACEAE. The preliminary study by Liz Zimmer (US) and collaborators, hot from the gels and unpublished, concludes that our plant "clearly looks to be a new genus," which "clusters with Cinnamodendron and Pleodendron, but is distinct by at least 16 changes for the three more conservative genes" (of five that were sequenced). On their recent trip to the Osa Peninsula, Aguilar, Hammel and Bohs found the tree in bud and netted some interesting and perplexing information (gleaned also from fallen flowers gathered last year by Aguilar): the flowers are axillary, solitary, and nearly sessile. They have at least 11 (free) petals, and about 25 anthers on the staminal tube. The ovules are 2-seriate in apparently 6 parietal placentae. So it has the solitary flowers of Pleodendron (and Warburgia) but otherwise has floral characters of Cinnamodendron. Verification of these observations with good, open flowers is close at hand!

CAPPARIDACEAE: From his studies at NY, Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora has concluded that Capparis uniflora Woodson may be added to the Costa Rican flora, partly by dint of its liberation from synonymy under C. discolor Donn. Sm. The former sp., which grows in very wet forests above 1000 m elevation in the Cordilleras de Guanacaste and Tilarán, differs from C. discolor s. str. in having much smaller flowers and smaller fruits. Capparis discolor s. str. favors seasonal climates on the Pacific slope.

CYPERACEAE. The weedy annual herb Cyperus difformis L. has been collected in Costa Rica for the first time by family specialist Jorge Gómez-Laurito (13290), along the road to the free port at Golfito. This had belonged to a surprisingly large coterie of spp. that appear to "skip" Costa Rica, known from adjacent countries to the north and south.

FABACEAE/MIMOSOIDEAE. During a recent visit to the Reserva Nacional de Vida Silvestre Gandoca-Manzanillo [see The Cutting Edge 6(2): 1, Apr. 1999], in the southeastern corner of the country, Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora was finally able to make critical collections (with both flowers and fruits) of a sp. that has intrigued him for many years. The sp. in question, a large tree with light brown bark, has long been well-known (under the local name "cashá") in the Talamanca lowlands (Parque Nacional Barbilla, Reserva Biológica Hitoy-Cerere, etc.), where it has even been used in reforestation projects. Flowering material of the mystery tree was depicted in the original (1975) edition of Les Holdridge and Luis Poveda's classic Arboles de Costa Rica, vol. 1, under the name Pithecellobium pseudotamarindus (Britton) Standl. That name is now known to be a synonym of Abarema idiopoda (S. F. Blake) Barneby & J. W. Grimes, which also occurs in Costa Rica, albeit at mostly higher elevations on the Pacific slope. Omitted from the 1975 edition, A. idiopoda was included in the second (1997) edition of Arboles de Costa Rica (updated by Quírico Jiménez), accurately depicted with a new photo, and with P. pseudotamarindus correctly listed in synonymy. However, the 1997 text was duplicated virtually verbatim from the 1975 account of "P. pseudotamarindus," and applies mostly (in both editions) to the mystery tree...which can now be identified, thanks to Nelson's astute field work and his recent herbarium studies at NY, as...(drum roll): Chloroleucon eurycyclum Barneby & J. W. Grimes, recently (1996) described from Estado de Bolívar, Venezuela (where it is known as "quebracho montañero"). The suspense was palpable. Nelson reports that the original description of C. eurycyclum was incomplete, and that the NY isotype is in poor condition. He has identified several older Costa Rican specimens, including Dayton & Barbour 3002 (F, MO, US), once cited tentatively by Nelson (Brenesia 36: 136. 1991) under Pithecellobium mangense (Jacq.) J. F. Macbr. [= Chloroleucon mangense (Jacq.) Britton & Rose], a related sp. of the Pacific slope. One collection from Prov. Darién, Panama, was also seen by Nelson. An additional country record: the unstoppable Alexander ("Popeye") Rodríguez has collected Zygia conzattii (Standl.) Britton & Rose from the Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Caño Negro, near the Nicaraguan border. This sp. was previously believed to reach is southern limit in Nicaragua.

FABACEAE/PAPILIONOIDEAE. Yet another update from Nelson Zamora's NY stint: collections of a strange leguminous liana from the Pacific lowlands (Zona Protectora Cerros de La Cangreja, Península de Osa) represent Dalbergia frutescens (Vell.) Britton, widespread in South America, but newly reported here from Mesoamerica.



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