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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 VII, Number 1, January 2000

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

Alverson, W. S., B. A. Whitlock, R. Nyffeler, C. Bayer & David A. Baum. 1999. Phylogeny of the core Malvales: evidence from ndhF sequence data. Amer. J. Bot. 86: 1474--1486.

Corroborates previous analyses of plastid atpB and rbcL DNA sequences y by this same group (see Bayer, et al., Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 129: 267--303. 1999) in supporting monophyly of Malvaceae s. str., but not of any of the other three families of Malvales (Bombacaceae, Sterculiaceae, Tiliaceae), according to their traditional circumscriptions. Well-supported clades within Malvales(or Malvaceae s. l.) are enumerated, and character evolution within the group is briefly discussed.

Barringer, K. 1999. A new species of Gibsoniothamnus (Schlegeliaceae) from Costa Rica and Panama. Novon 9: 476--478.

The new sp., Gibsoniothamnus parvifolius Barringer, has been confused with various congeners, especially G. alatus A. H. Gentry, G. epiphyticus (Standl.) L. O. Williams, and G. pterocalyx A. H. Gentry. In Costa Rica, G. parvifolius is restricted to the Cordilleras de Guanacaste and Tilarán at ca. 300--900 m elevation; it also occurs disjunctly in the La Fortuna region of western Panama. Accompanied by a fine composite line-drawing.

Burt-Utley, K. & J. F. Utley. 1999. Contributions toward a revision of Begonia section Weilbachia (Begoniaceae). Novon 9: 483--489.

Begonia sect. Weilbachia (Klotzsch & Oerst.) A. DC., a Mesoamerican taxon of ca. 25 spp. (about half of them endemic to Mexico), is characterized by 2-locular (rather than 3- or 4-locular) ovaries and unusual capsules, with a fleshy outer layer that must erode before dehiscence can occur. Of the four new spp. described here, just one occurs in Costa Rica: the endemic Begonia turrialbae Burt-Utley & Utley, known only from a small region on the Atlantic slope between Turrialba and Moravia de Chirripó, at ca. 600--900 m elevation. It is very similar to the sym- or parapatric Begonia carletonii Standl. Features a composite line-drawing.

Cabral, E. L. & N. M. Bacigalupo. 1999. Estudio de las especies americanas de Borreria series Laeves (Rubiaceae, Spermacoceae). Darwiniana 37: 259--277.

Borreria ser. Laeves Bacigalupo & E. L. Cabral is one of three series of the nominate subgenus (one of two subgenera recognized in this weedy genus). Although the title would imply otherwise, the eight neotropical spp. treated here apparently comprise the entire series. Borreria laevis (Lam.) Griseb., the type of the series, is excluded not only from the series, but from thegenus; oddly, the nomenclatural consequences of this move are ignored. At least two spp. of ser. Laeves are reported from Costa Rica: Borreria brownii (Rusby) Standl. and B. remota (Lam.) Bacigalupo & E. L. Cabral (the new combination is validated here). Includes a key to spp., full synonymy and descriptions, specimen citations, occasionally generous discussions, indices to exsiccatae and scientific names, and detailed, composite line-drawings of each sp. Omitted is a formal description of the series. One new sp. (from Brazil) is described. [N.B.: William Burger and Charlotte M. Taylor's Flora costaricensis account of Rubiaceae (Fieldiana, Bot. n. s. 33: 1--333. 1993) diverges from this revision, on several levels, in its treatment of these taxa. First, Burger and Taylor included the entire genus Borreria within Spermacoce ; moreover, they used different epithets for the spp. here called Borreria brownii and B. remota : Spermacoce vegeta (Standl. & Steyerm.) C. D. Adams ex W. C. Burger & C. M. Taylor and S. assurgens Ruiz & Pav., respectively. Because the epithets used by Cabral and Bacigalupo are older, the correct names for these spp. in Spermacoce (if their sp.-level taxonomy is accurate) should be S. brownii Rusby and S. remota Lam., respectively. The sp. called Spermacoce suaveolens (G. Mey.) Kuntze by Burger and Taylor is redubbed S. capitata Ruiz & Pav. in Taylor's Manual treatment of Rubiaceae. Cabral and Bacigalupo include Borreria capitata (Ruiz & Pav.) DC. in ser. Laeves , but cite only South American material. We can only hope for an expeditious resolution of these conflicts.]

Christenson, E. A. 1999. The return of Cohniella (Orchidaceae: Oncidiinae). Lindleyana 14: 176--177.

Cohniella Pfitzer, a name that "has spent most of its history in obscurity," is shown to be a prior synonym of Stilifolium Königer & D. Pongratz, coined only recently [see The Cutting Edge 5(2): 4--5, Apr. 1998] for the taxon long known as Oncidium sect. Cebolletae Lindl. This is described as a natural group, easily recognized by its terete leaves. The separation of this group from Oncidium is "strongly supported by molecular evidence," but DNA overlord Mark Chase (K) is quoted as favoring its inclusion (together with Trichocentrum and some other fragments of Oncidium s. l.) in a another relatively large genus, under the name Lophiaris Raf. Nonetheless, eight new combinations in Cohniella are here validated, of which at least three pertain to spp. occurring in Costa Rica: Cohniella ascendens (Lindl.) Christenson, C. cebolleta (Jacq.) Christenson, and C. teres (Ames & C. Schweinf.) Christenson. The author opines that "several distinct species have been combined under the umbrella O. cebolleta," but does not further address the taxonomic or nomenclatural implications of this statement.

Croat, T. B. 1999. New species of Central American Araceae. Novon 9: 491--502.

Five new spp. of Dieffenbachia and one of Rhodospatha are described, all occurring in Costa Rica and (at least hypothetically) Nicaragua, to provide valid names for Doug Stevens's soon-to-be-completed Flora de Nicaragua . Incidentally (and happily), these novelties account for all the hitherto undescribed spp. in these genera recorded from the Estación Biológica La Selva, where all were first discerned and provisionally named ca. 20 years ago. At least five spp. each of Dieffenbachia and Rhodospatha in the Costa Rican flora remain without names, awaiting the author's on-track revisions of these genera. No illustrations.

Dressler, R. 1999. Cattleya patinii vs. Cattleya deckeri. Orquideophilo 7: 12--14.

A popular reprise of the author's more technical paper (Lindleyana 13: 219--220. 1998), in which the application of the above names was fixed. This time around we get lots of beautiful color photos of live plants (by the author), and a glitzy distribution map. In Spanish.

Durkee, L. H. 1999. Five new taxa and two new combinations of Acanthaceae from Central America. Novon 9: 503--510.

Of principal concern to us is the new combination Justicia rothschuhii (Lindau) Durkee, based on Chaetothylax rothschuhii Lindau, and occasioned by a recent merger of Chaetothylax in Justicia . Not mentioned here is the fact that the name Chaetothylax leucanthus Leonard, used in the author's Flora costaricensis treatment of Acanthaceae (and in the Manual/INBio data-base), is regarded as a synonym of J. rothschuhii . Of passing interest is the new Panamanian taxon Aphelandra scabra (Vahl) Sm. var. angustifolia Durkee, requiring that Costa Rican material of A. scabra sport the autonymic varietal appellation.

Hernández-Verdugo, S., P. Dávila Aranda & K. Oyama. 1999. Síntesis del conocimiento taxónomico, origen y domesticación del género Capsicum . Bol. Soc. Bot. México 64: 65--84.

Capsicum (Solanaceae) is a neotropical genus comprising (according to this view) ca. 30 spp., of which five are internationally cultivated. The genus is believed to have its roots in South America, especially Bolivia, northern Argentina, and central and southern Brazil. The cultivated spp. were domesticated independently in different regions, including Capsicum frutescens L., in Costa Rica. Capsicum is poorly represented in southern Mesoamerica, where only the widespread C. annuum L. is indigenous. Four of the five domesticated spp. are grown in Costa Rica: C. annuum, C. chinense Jacq., C. frutescens, and C. pubescens Ruiz & Pav. (omitting only C. baccatum L.). Allaccepted sp. names are tabularized, with details of geographic distribution for each. Other tables record past classifications and diagnostic morphological characters of cultivated taxa, geographic distributions prior to the Spanish conquest, etc. May this be a precursor to trail-blazing taxonomic investigations on this economically familiar, but taxonomically little-known genus.

Kato, H., K. Oginuma, Z. Gu, B. Hammel & H. Tobe. 1998. Phylogenetic relationships of Betulaceae based on matK sequences with particular reference to the position of Ostryopsis . Acta Phytotax. Geobot. 49: 89--97.

Ticodendraceae is revealed (with 98% bootstrap support) as sister to Betulaceae. We suppose this could just as well be rephrased (speaking strictly theoretically) to portray Ticodendron as basal within a slightly enlarged Betulaceae.

Kim, S.-C., D. J. Crawford, Mesfin Tadesse, M. Berbee, F. R. Ganders, M. Pirseyedi & E. J. Esselman. 1999. ITS sequences and phylogenetic relationships in Bidens and Coreopsis (Asteraceae). Syst. Bot. 24: 480--493.

Analyses involving 50 in-group taxa indicate that " Coreopsis is paraphyletic and Bidens polyphyletic in all most parsimonious trees...The molecular data suggest that Bidens as now recognized has been derived twice within Coreopsis ." Classificatory options, according to our interpretation of the cladogram, would include lumping Bidens into Coreopsis , or dividing the latter into numerous splinter genera. In either case, both genera, as traditionally circumscribed, would cease to exist. The authors decide that, "...given the limited taxonomic sampling for Bidens in this study, it would be premature to propose changes at this time."

Königer, W. 1999. Neue LectotypenóNew lectotypes. Arcula 9: 265.

A lectotype is designated for Oncidium cabagrae Schltr. (Orchidaceae), the Costa Rican holotype of which was allegedly destroyed at B. The specimen selected is apparently one of the author's own collections, suggesting that it is really either a neotype, or an illegitimate lectotype.

Krings, A. 1999. An annotated preliminary checklist of the dicotyledonous lianas and vines from the Las Cruces Biological Station, Costa Rica. Sida 18: 1247--1258.

The checklist, vouchered by the author's own collections (deposited at CR and F), records 70 spp. of vines and lianas, in 60 genera and 32 families, from the Las Cruces site, at 1000--1200 m elevation (geographic parameters are not provided). This confirms our notion of the wide taxonomic diversity of these growth habits. The largest families are Cucurbitaceae (11 spp.), Fabaceae (6 spp.), Sapindaceae (5 spp.), and Bignoniaceae (4 spp.). Specimens unidentified to genus are omitted. Although admittedly incomplete, the list is believed to include "the majority of the lianescent taxa of Las Cruces." The annotations deal mainly with relative rarity and methods of field identification. The introduction contains valuable site data (particularly Fig. 1, a Walter climate diagram for 1996--1997) unavailable elsewhere. No wonder our most indelible memories of Las Cruces feature torrential rainfall!

Although relatively modest (based on just 3 or 4 months of intensive field work), this is a useful contribution that underscores the efficacy of site-, taxon-, or habit-focused collecting, and the hit-or-miss nature of general collecting especially where inherently difficult groups such as lianas are concerned. Manual co-PI Mike Grayum was stunned to discover that, despite multiple visits to Las Cruces dating back to 1984, his own collecting efforts (desultory, general, selective, or focused on other plant groups) have netted just three liana spp. not listed here [Aegiphila elata Sw. (Verbenaceae), Paullina fasciculata Radlk. and P. itayensis J. F. Macbr. (Sapindaceae)]. Even more sobering is the fact that he has managed to find just three of the listed spp.!

Les, D. H. & D. J. Crawford. 1999. Landoltia (Lemnaceae), a new genus of duckweeds. Novon 9: 530--533.

The new genus is monotypic, containing only the sp. hitherto known as Spirodela punctata (G. Mey.) C. H. Thomps., first reported from Costa Rica (and Mesoamerica) in these pages just a year ago [see The Cutting Edge 6(1): 4, Jan. 1999]. Generic ranking is rationalized on cladistic grounds: three cladograms (based on different data-fields) portray Spirodela s. l. as variously paraphyletic; separate generic status for S. punctata resolves the problem in each case, and is clearly preferable to more nomenclaturally disruptive alternatives (e.g., collapsing the whole family, except for Spirodela s. str., into a single genus). The newly christened Landoltia punctata (G. Mey) Les & D. J. Crawford is "not only morphologically distinct from both Lemna and Spirodela , but intermediate and transitional between" them. Data in support of these claims are tabularized. The authors conclude that, while indeed transitional, Landoltia "represents an isolated clade distinct from both Spirodela and Lemna "; its recognition as a separate genus defuses past arguments to merge the two larger genera. No illustrations (cladograms excepted).

While we are sympathetic to the new classification, it remains to be seen whether time (and other constraints) will permit he drastic modification of the Manual Lemnaceae treatment that would be required to accommodate this change.

Incidental observation: we find it odd that the authors distinguish Landoltia on cladistic evidence, while retaining (without comment) Lemnaceae, shown by similar evidence to be nested within Araceae.

McCook, S. 1999. Creole science: botanical surveys of Costa Rica, 1880--1940. Endeavour 23: 118--120.

Documents the institutional and intellectual vicissitudes of indigenous efforts to inventory and catalogue the Costa Rican flora during the period indicated. The major thesis of this paper seems to be that progress along these lines has depended mainly on the condition of the economy. Costa Rican natural history flourished as the economy grew rapidly from ca. 1880--1904, then stagnated during tough economic times that did not begin to abate until the 1960's. The author concludes that, "if we evaluate Costa Rican natural history by institutional standards, the showing is bad"; however, by intellectual standards, resident naturalists were "quite successful." The impressive intellectual accomplishments of the late 19th Century (translation of major works of foreign naturalists, publication of Primitiae florae costaricensis, establishment of the National Herbarium, etc.) "survived the collapse of institutions and the departure of leading naturalists, such as Pittier." As of 1945, "no other country had received so much attention from resident botanists" (quoted from Paul Standley). Some of the facts cited in this paper are incorrect, according to our own research. The author states that the Instituto Físico-geográfico National (IFN) was founded in 1886, "at the behest of Henri Pittier," and that Anastasio Alfaro's seminal (1888) enumeration of Costa Rican plants was published in the Anales of the IFN. Our sources indicate that Pittier did not even arrive in the country until 1887, and that the IFN was not founded until 1889; it is a matter of public record that Alfaro's inventory was published in the Anales of the Museo Nacional, founded (as the author correctly states) in 1887. There is confusion throughout (whether deliberate or not) of the concepts "resident" and "native," and we find it odd that several of the most important native-born Costa Rican botanists of the era (including Anastasio Alfaro and Alberto Brenes) are not even mentioned by name. Still, this paper provides a dispassionate, socio-economic perspective lacking in most other accounts, written by botanists.

Meerow, A. W., M. F. Fay, C. L. Guy, Q.-B. Li, F. Q. Zaman & M. W. Chase. 1999. Systematics of Amaryllidaceae based on cladistic analysis of plastid rbcL and trnL--F sequence data. Amer. J. Bot. 86: 1325--1345.

The combined analysis (which yielded the highest resolution) provides good support for monophyly of Amaryllidaceae s. str., with Agapanthaceae indicated (± weakly) as the sister family, and Alliaceae as sister to those two. The moderate support for Amaryllidaceae s. l. (including Agapanthaceae and Alliaceae) suggests that such an expanded family concept, e.g., with three subfamilies (more or less in the Hutchinsonian sense), is defensible. However, these three subfamilies would be united by just one morphological character, viz., pseudoumbellate inflorescences. The authors conclude that "...maximizing phylogenetic information and ease of identification are best served by treating Agapanthus as the sole genus of a separate family (Agapanthaceae Voight), while maintaining the independent status of Alliaceae." They also note that no viable classificatory option can preserve nomenclatural stability, because the traditional inclusion of Agapanthus within Alliaceae is untenable.

Nishida, S. 1999. Revision of Beilschmiedia (Lauraceae) in the Neotropics. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 86: 657--701.

The pantropical Beilschmiedia , with perhaps 250 spp., is one of the largest genera of Lauraceae. Here, 28 New World spp. (all trees) are recognized; eight of these occur in Costa Rica (the most for any New World country), fully twice the number accepted by William Burger and Henk van der Werff in their 1990 Flora costaricensis Lauraceae treatment (Fieldiana, Bot. n. s. 23: 1--138). Four new spp. and two new combinations are validated, of which the following are germane to Costa Rican floristics: Beilschmiedia immersinervis Sa. Nishida sp. nov., B. tilaranensis Sa. Nishida sp. nov., and B. tovarensis (Meisn.) Sa. Nishida comb. nov. The New World spp. are assigned to five informal sp.-groups, based on morphological and anatomical characters, with all Mesoamerican spp. accommodated in the " Beilschmiedia costaricensis"and "B. hondurensis" groups. The Costa Rican spp. all belong to the former group, with the exception of B. brenesii C. K. Allen. Although Beilschmiedia immersinervis is the only sp. that can be claimed as a Costa Rican endemic (at 300--1400 m elevation in the Cordilleras de Guanacaste and de Tilarán), three others, B. brenesii, B. ovalis (S. F. Blake) C. K. Allen, and B. tilaranensis, are shared only with western Panama. Features a key to spp., genus and sp. descriptions, representative (mostly) specimen citations, distribution maps, fine composite line-drawings of the new spp., light micrographs of leaf cuticles, sections on imperfectly known and excluded spp., and an index to exsiccatae. [N.B.: the recently wed author, a former van der Werff student at MO, will be better known to many of our readers by her maiden name, Sachiko Yasuda .]

Pacheco, L. & R. C. Moran. 1999. Monograph of the neotropical species of Callipteris with anastomosing veins (Woodsiaceae). Brittonia 51: 343--388.

Callipteris Bory, is resurrected and redefined to circumscribe a pantropical assemblage of ca. 400 fern spp., segregated from Diplazium on the basis of dark-bordered rhizome scales with bifid marginal teeth. An estimated 100 spp. are neotropical. This contribution treats a subset of 15 neotropical spp. characterized by anastomosing leaf veins, and thick, fleshy laminae with pinnatifid apices. This largely montane group ranges widely, from Guatemala to Bolivia, northern Brazil, and the Lesser Antilles. The mountains of Costa Rica and Panama are a secondary center of sp. richness, with six spp., of which three are endemic. The following five spp. (none endemic) are recorded from Costa Rica: Callipteris atirrensis (Donn. Sm.) Pacheco & R. C. Moran (including Diplazium moranii C. D. Adams); C. ceratolepis (H. Christ) Pacheco & R. C. Moran; C. matamensis (A. Rojas) Pacheco & R. C. Moran; C. pactilis (Lellinger) Pacheco & R. C. Moran; and C. sanderi (C. Chr.) Pacheco & R. C. Moran. The last-mentioned sp., mainly of Pacific Colombia and Ecuador, is reported from Costa Rica for the first time, on the basis of Herrera 1151 (CR), from 600--700 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Guanacaste. Callipteris matamensis is reinterpreted to include much material previously referred to C. atirrensis. The revision features a generic description, key to spp., sp. descriptions and comprehensive specimen citations, composite line-drawings and distribution maps for all spp., and indices to exsiccatae and scientific names. Eleven new combinations are validated, plus three new spp., none of the latter occurring in Costa Rica. An introductory section includes brief discussions of major character-fields, and a cladistic analysis (using 15 morphological characters) of the 15 spp. treated. The analysis substantiates that these 15 spp. form a monophyletic group, but fails to answer (or even address) important larger issues, e.g.: is Callipteris (including its ca. 300 Old World spp., and ca. 85 New World spp. with non-anastomosing veins) a monophyletic taxon and, if so, are there alternatives to upsetting established nomenclature by ranking it generically? From our (admittedly limited) perspective, these spp. seem right at home in Diplazium ; perhaps subgeneric ranking would suffice to distinguish Callipteris . But by the time the evidence necessary to evaluate these options becomes available, generic status for Callipteris may well be a fait accompli .

Renner, S. S. 1998. Phylogenetic affinities of Monimiaceae based on cpDNA gene and spacer sequences. Perspect. Pl. Ecol. Evol. Syst. 1: 61--77.

More (or the same?) evidence that "the Monimiaceae as traditionally circumscribed...are polyphyletic," and that Siparuna is very closely related to the West African Glossocalyx [see below, and also Renner et al., Int. J. Pl. Sci. (Suppl. 6): S89--S98. 1997]. Monoecy seems to be basal in Siparuna (with dioecy derived).

----. 1999. Circumscription and phylogeny of the Laurales: evidence from molecular and morphological data. Amer. J. Bot. 86: 1301--1315.

A combination of rbcL sequence analysis and analysis of "a concatenated matrix of sequences from...six plastid genome regions" suggests (among many other things) that "Monimiaceae clearly are polyphyletic as long as they include Atherospermataceae and Siparunaceae." The only other issue of passing interest to us, whether or not to recognize Gyrocarpaceae as separate from Hernandiaceae, is revealed as "purely a matter of ranking." So lump the sucker! (our humble vote). Numerous cladograms.

Reveal, J. L. & A. B. Doweld. 1999. Validation of some suprageneric names in Magnoliophyta. Novon 9: 549--553.

Most of this is beyond our scope (suprafamilial), but one innovation is of interest: the new family name Engelhardtiaceae Reveal & Doweld is established for four genera, including our Alfaroa and Oreomunnea , "which are distinct in pollen morphology, seed and fruit anatomy, and morphology from Juglandaceae s. str." Cladistic evidence (if any) for the proposed separation must be sought from the source, a paper in Russian that we have not seen.

Rico Arce, M. de L. 1999. New combinations in Mimosaceae. Novon 9: 554--556.

Three new combinations are proposed, at least two of which have potential consequences for Costa Rican floristics. Abarema acreana (J. F. Macbr.) L. Rico, based on a Brazilian type, is extended to several Costa Rican collections that we had treated either as A. adenophora (Ducke) Barneby & J. W. Grimes or A. macradenia (Pittier) Barneby & J. W. Grimes. Indeed, the author admits that A. acreana "closely resembles Abarema adenophora...and the two may ultimately prove to be conspecific...In this case, Abarema adenophora would have priority." That being the case, why not simply use the older name, and avoid the new combination?

The emergent tree sp. most recently known to us as Balizia elegans (Ducke) Barneby & J. W. Grimes (and, not long before, as Pithecellobium elegans Ducke) is retagged as Albizia elegans (Ducke) L. Rico. But here again, the author wavers. Even the generic classification appears arbitrary and undecided: "On balance it seems wiser to adopt a broader concept of Albizia until the genus has been monographed across its pantropical range." At the sp. level, there are more problems: another largely South American sp., Albizia pedicellaris (DC.) L. Rico, is described as "very closely related to (perhaps even conspecific with)" A. elegans [bringing us full circle to our old La Selva days, during the Gary Hartshorn era, when we learned the sp. now called Albizia elegans as Pithecellobium pedicellare (DC.) Benth.]. Again: why not just use the older name? It seems imprudent to be fiddling around with nomenclature, when the taxonomy is still not understood.

Robinson, H. 1999. Generic and subtribal classification of American Vernonieae. Smithsonian Contr. Bot. 89: 1--116.

More than a quarter century into his assault on the New World members of Asteraceae tribe Vernonieae, the author finally provides a preliminary overview of the taxonomic landscape for the new millennium. The 70 indigenous New World genera are grouped into 10 subtribes, of which three are here described as new; nine genera (including Pacourina ) could not be placed in any subtribe. Excluded from the tribe are Liabum and relatives (to tribe Liabeae), and included is Trichospira (from tribe Heliantheae). At the generic level, the changes are, perhaps, not as catastrophic as we had feared. The good news is that most of the genera occurring in Costa Rica remain intact, namely, Centratherum, Pacourina, Piptocarpha, Pseudelephantopus, Rolandra, Spiracantha, Struchium, and Trichospira. The bad news is that, for our purposes, the venerable Vernonia ceases to exist. Generally understood as a cosmopolitan genus of ca. 1000 spp. as recently as 1987 (first edition of The Plant-book), Vernonia (the limits of which, we are assured, "have finally been recognized") is now restricted to a mere 22 spp., ranging from eastern North America to central Mexico and the Bahamas (with two spp. of temperate South America tentatively included). The ca. 12 spp. in the Costa Rican flora formerly treated in Vernonia are now distributed among seven smaller genera, in at least three different subtribes [we were unable to determine the subtribal affinity of the Old World Cyanthillium , represented in Costa Rica by the adventive sp. formerly called Vernonia cinerea (L.) Less.]. Most unsettling are the four rather similar genera included (with Struchium !) in subtribe Vernoniinae: Cyrtocymura [with the former Vernonia scorpioides (Lam.) Pers.], Eirmocephala (with Vernonia brachiata Benth. ex Oerst.), Lepidaploa [with Vernonia arborescens (L.) Sw., V. canescens Kunth, V. salzmannii DC., and V. tortuosa (L.) S. F. Blake], and Vernonanthura (with Vernonia deppeana Less. and V. patens Kunth). Less disturbing are the more obviously divergent Critoniopsis (with Vernonia triflosculosa Kunth), in subtribe Piptocarphinae, and Lepidonia (with Vernonia lankesteri S. F. Blake), in subtribe Leiboldiinae.

Outside Vernonia s. l., the only newish developments of interest to us are the recognition of the monotypic Orthopappus (to accommodate the erstwhile Elephantopus angustifolius Sw.), and the inclusion of Pollalesta in Piptocoma (maintained as distinct from the Old World Oliganthes ) already reported in these pages [see The Cutting Edge 3(2): 11, Apr. 1996].

This "generic revision" is anything but the definitive word on the classification of subtribe Vernonieae. It omits keys to genera, generic descriptions and, most problematically, any original cladistic or phylogenetic analysis or discussion of the group (notwithstanding the bandying of such terms as "para-" and "polyphyletic," and lip service to some recent molecular studies by others). Though duly cited, the conclusion of molecular workers that "the subdivision of Vernonia s. l. into segregate genera is premature" was obviously ignored. It is to be hoped that the critical omissions from this contribution will be supplied in some forthcoming work, akin to the author's (with R. M. King) fine volume on Asteraceae tribe Eupatorieae (Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 22: 1--581. 1987). Perhaps then we will gain some insight into the cladistic tenability, not to mention the practicality, of the new generic concepts. In the meantime, we must make do with this summary, which features discussions of important morphological characters, a key to New World subtribes and descriptions thereof, tabular, pictorial diagnoses of genera by subtribe, nine composite plates of superb SEM pollen micrographs, and 11 composite line drawings of selected spp. Most valuable are Appendix I, a list of accepted generic names native or introduced New World Vernonieae, and especially Appendix II, a comprehensive list of sp. names, with exhaustive synonymy and geographic distribution for accepted names. One new genus, one new sp., and 15 new combinations are validated, none germane to Costa Rica.

Simmons, M. P. & J. P. Hedin. 1999. Relationships and morphological character change among genera of Celastraceae sensu lato (including Hippocrateaceae). Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 86: 723--757.
A cladistic analysis involving 69 morphological characters and 82 taxa (representing 31 genera of Celastraceae s. l. and 22 genera of Hippocrateaceae) shows Hippocrateaceae as monophyletic, but "nested within a paraphyletic Celastraceae s. str." Several Australasian genera are characterized as "transitional" between the two groups. Within Celastraceae s. str., the recognition of Gymnosporia as distinct from Maytenus is supported (although none of the New World spp. that have been assigned to Gymnosporia was included in the study). Features an in-depth discussion of aril evolution within the group.

Werff, H. van der. 1999. New taxa and combinations in the Ocotea helicterifolia (Lauraceae) species group. Novon 9: 571--583.
Four new sp. and four new combinations are here validated, but only one of these novelties concerns us. Ocotea patula van der Werff sp. nov. is endemic to Costa Rica, where it is known by just two collections, both from Cerro Anguciana, the highest peak of the Pacific Fila Costeña. Comparison is made with the parapatric O. valeriana (Standl.) W. C. Burger, of the same group. An introductory discussion characterizes the O. helicterifolia (Meisn.) Hemsl. sp.-group, and a key to the 15 Central American spp. (seven of which occur in Costa Rica) is provided. Entries for each of the 15 spp. include complete bibliographic and typological information, synonymy, and a brief discussion; the 14 named spp. are illustrated with black-and-white photos of herbarium specimens.

Young, N. D., K. E. Steiner & C. W. dePamphilis. 2000 ["1999"]. The evolution of parasitism in Scrophulariaceae/Orobanchaceae: plastid gene sequences refute an evolutionary transition series. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 86: 876--893.
Phylogenetic analyses of plastid rps 2 and mat K sequences suggest that holoparasitism has had five independent origins within the Scrophulariaceae/Orobanchaceae clade. In all cases, holoparasitic taxa have been derived from hemiparasitic ancestors. Traditional Orobanchaceae emerge as monophyletic, and more closely related to parasitic Scrophulariaceae than to Gesneriaceae (meaning that unilocular ovaries must have arisen independently in Orobanchaceae s. str. and Gesneriaceae). A clade containing Orobanchaceae s. str. and all parasitic Scrophulariaceae is strongly supported, and the authors recommend that Orobanchaceae be expanded accordingly. Under this scenario, Orobanchaceae would embrace numerous genera traditionally classed in Scrophulariaceae, e.g., Agalinis, Alectra, Buchnera, Castilleja, and Lamourouxia. This amplified Orobanchaceae includes hemiparasites and nonparasites, as well as holoparasites. The remaining genera of Scrophulariaceae s. l. would be split into two families, Antirrhinaceae and Scrophulariaceae s. str., as established in previous papers (see, e.g., Olmstead & Reeves, Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 82: 176--193. 1995). The position of Calceolaria is unresolved, and separate familial status may be merited, pending future analyses. A more detailed exposition of the new taxonomic system is promised for a forthcoming paper.


Answers to POP QUIZ:

1. International Journal of Plant Sciences was Botanical Gazette
2. Journal of Plant Biology was Korean Journal of Botany
3. Journal of Plant Research was Botanical Magazine, Tokyo
4. Palms was Principes
5. Plant Biology was Acta Botanica Neerlandica + Botanica Acta (and the latter was Berichte der Deutschen Botanischen Gesellschaft)
6. Plant Ecology was Vegetatio
7. Systematics and Geography of Plants was Bulletin du Jardin Botanique National de Belgique/Bulletin van de Nationale Plantentuin van België

 

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