www.mobot.org Research Home | Search | Contact | Site Map  

North America
South America
General Taxonomy
Photo Essays
Training in Latin

Wm. L. Brown Center
Graduate Studies
Research Experiences
  for Undergraduates

Imaging Lab
MBG Press
Climate Change
Catalog Fossil Plants
Image Index
Rare Books

Res Botanica
All Databases
What's New?
People at MO
Visitor's Guide
Jobs & Fellowships
Research Links
Site Map


Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

Main | Family List (MO) | Family List (INBio) | Cutting Edge
Draft Treatments | Guidelines | Checklist | Citing | Editors

The Cutting Edge

Volume IX, Number 1, January 2002

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

Anderson, C. 2001. The identity of two water-dispersed species of Heteropterys (Malpighiaceae): H. leona and H. platyptera. Contr. Univ. Michigan Herb. 23: 35–47.

The coastal sp. known to us as Heteropterys multiflora (DC.) Hochr., widespread in the Neotropics, is regarded as conspecific with an entity nearly as widespread in West Africa, where it has been called H. africana A. Juss. Both names must now yield to Heteropterys leona (Cav.) Exell, the oldest applicable name, based on an African (Sierra Leone) collection. The last-mentioned name was already used in the Flora de Nicaragua [W. R. Anderson, in Stevens et al. (eds.), Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 85: 1272–1273. 2001]. In Costa Rica, H. leona is known only from the Atlantic coast (Parques Nacionales Tortuguero and Cahuita). The other featured spp., H. platyptera DC., is restricted to the Lesser Antilles. Full synonymy, detailed descriptions, and representative specimen citations are provided for both spp. The introductory part includes illustrations depicting variation in samara morphology within each sp.

Anderson, W. R. 2001. Jacquin’s species of Bunchosia (Malpighiaceae) from Cartagena, Colombia. Contr. Univ. Michigan Herb. 23: 59–62.

Neotypification of three names proposed by Jacquin in the genus Malpighia fixes their application to spp. now classed in Bunchosia. Malpighia nitida Jacq. (1760) agrees with and is neotypified on a specimen of Bunchosia cornifolia Kunth (1822), meaning that the sp. hitherto known under the latter name must now be called Bunchosia nitida (Jacq.) DC. (a change already implemented in the Flora de Nicaragua). This is apparently the only result that affects us.
--. 2001. Notes on neotropical Malpighiaceae—VIII. Contr. Univ. Michigan Herb. 23: 63–81.
Eight miscellaneous new spp. are described here, in four different genera. Bunchosia grayumii W. R. Anderson, of low elevations in the Baja Talamanca region and adjacent Panama, is distinguished from the similar B. polystachia (Andrews) DC. by means of a key couplet. Bunchosia mesoamericana W. R. Anderson, occurring from Honduras to the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica, corresponds to "Bunchosia sp. A" of the Flora de Nicaragua. Heteropterys hammelii W. R. Anderson is a Costa Rican endemic, based on just five collections, scattered from the Guanacaste region south to the Valle Central and the valley of the Río Grande de Candelaria. It is compared with H. palmeri Rose and H. standleyana W. R. Anderson, of Mexico and northern Central America (respectively), as well as the Colombian H. lonicerifolia Triana & Planch. The remaining five new spp. do not concern us ( nor, apparently, does the designation of a lectotype for Bunchosia gracilis Nied.). Only Bunchosia grayumii (among the new spp. occurring in Costa Rica) is illustrated, with an excellent composite line drawing.

Azuma, H., J. G. García-Franco, V. Rico-Gray & L. B. Thien. 2001. Molecular phylogeny of the Magnoliaceae: the biogeography of tropical and temperate disjunctions. Amer. J. Bot. 88: 2275–2285.

Although the agenda of these authors was not taxonomic, their phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data reveals that "the tropical American [Magnolia] section Talauma branched first," i.e., is sister to the rest of the genus. Thus, we perceive no cladistic obstacle to the maintenance of Talauma at generic rank, as long as it is restricted to New World spp. (and yes, the generic type is a New World sp.).

Badillo, V. M. 2001. Nota correctiva: Vasconcellea St. Hill. [sic] y no Vasconcella (Caricaceae). Ernstia 11: 75–76.

The genus into which the author would have us transfer all spp. of Carica save C. papaya L. [see The Cutting Edge 8(1): 3, Jan. 2001] is properly Vasconcellea, not Vasconcella. Even though the misspelling does not invalidate the author’s original combinations (see Art. 33.4 of the Code), they are all repeated here, for good measure, with the genus name correctly rendered.

Carnevali Fernández-Concha, G., J. L. Tapia Muñoz & M. Gómez-Juárez. 2001. A synopsis of the Maxillaria rufescens complex in Mexico, Central America, and the Greater Antilles. Brittonia 53: 454–465.

The exclusively neotropical Maxillaria rufescens Lindl. (Orchidaceae) complex comprises "possibly 25 species," of which five are here accepted for the region specified in the title. Three of these spp. are attributed to Costa Rica: Maxillaria dressleriana Carnevali & J. T. Atwood, M. hedwigiae Hamer & Dodson, and M. moralesii Carnevali & J. T. Atwood. The names Maxillaria acutifolia Lindl. and M. rufescens, though frequently applied to Mesoamerican material, are properly restricted to South American taxa. None of this is news to us (thankfully). The five spp. are keyed and formally treated, with synonymy, typology, lengthy descriptions, specimen citations, and discussions. All are illustrated with composite line drawings. One new sp. name is validated, along with a nomen novum, neither relevant to Costa Rica.

Chavarría, U., J. González & N. Zamora. 2001. Árboles comunes del Parque Nacional Palo Verde/Costa Rica/Common trees of Palo Verde National Park. Inst. Nac. de Biodiversidad, Sto. Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica. 216 pp.

Ulises Chavarría, crack parataxonomist long stationed at Parque Nacional Palo Verde, joins forces with INBio bigwigs José González and Nelson Zamora to produce this fine little volume, certain to become a staple of OTS courses and ecotourists alike. Receiving the deluxe treatment are 55 spp. of trees "representative of the area," selected according to various criteria including abundance and distinctiveness. The fully bilingual text kicks off with descriptions of all the families involved, followed by a list of included spp., organized into mostly artificial groups ("Palms," "Bipinnate Leaves," "Simple, Alternate Leaves," etc.) and thus doubling as a sort of key. The formal sp. treatments, presented in the same order as the list, all feature a brief description, diagnosis, summary of distribution, a paragraph on "Natural History and Uses," and a complement of black-and-white illustrations. The illustrations, by Francisco Quesada, typically comprise one or more detailed drawings, a silhouette sketch (showing habit and scale), and a trail map of the park locating known populations. Seven pages of color photos, in the back of the volume, supplement the line drawings. These are followed by a glossary, a compendium of ethnobotanical uses, a vouchered checklist of all 696 spp. of vascular plants recorded from the park, a bibliography, and a combined index to common and scientific names. A must-have!

Costea, M., A. Sanders & G. Waines. 2001. Preliminary results toward a revision of the Amaranthus hybridus species complex (Amaranthaceae). Sida 19: 931–974.

"Preliminary" is the word all right; indeed, it is difficult to comprehend exactly what is contributed by this extremely tentative consideration of the grain amaranths. We get a key to the three subgenera of Amaranthus, but no key to spp., and no indication (as far as we can tell) of the subgeneric affinity of the A. hybridus complex (though we assume it belongs in subgen. Amaranthus). Amaranthus hybridus L. was the only member of this group treated in Flora costaricensis (Burger, Fieldiana, Bot. n. s., 13: 142–180. 1983), under a concept that included both A. cruentus L. and A. hypochondriacus L. The present authors favor maintaining these last two as separate spp.; however, they cite just one Costa Rican specimen in the entire complex, under A. hybridus subsp. hybridus. Rounding out the complex, as here construed, are Amaranthus caudatus L. and A. powellii S. Watson. Features synonymy, good sp. descriptions, discussions, and photos of herbarium specimens. The opening part includes a discussion of morphological characters, with SEM micrographs of fruit surfaces and some seeds and pollen.

Dressler, R. L. 2001. Sobre el género Chondroscaphe, con dos especies nuevas de América Central, Chondroscaphe atrilinguis y C. laevis/On the genus Chondroscaphe, with two new species from Central America, Chondroscaphe atrilinguis and C. laevis. Orquideología 22: 12–22.

Chondroscaphe (Orchidaceae), originally a section of Chondrorhyncha, was raised to generic rank only in 1992. Six binomial combinations have been published since then, all pertaining to spp. ranging from eastern Panama to Peru and Venezuela. Still-unpublished DNA sequence analyses [see The Cutting Edge 8(1): 4, Jan. 2001] have suggested that even Chondrorhyncha s. str. is polyphyletic, with the Chondrorhyncha bicolor Rolfe complex "clearly part of Chondroscaphe." This change is formally effected here with the transfer of five names from the Chondrorhyncha bicolor complex and the description of two new spp., bringing the total for Chondroscaphe to 13. The result is that Chondroscaphe, not previously attributed to Costa Rica, is now represented there by at least three spp.: C. bicolor (Rolfe) Dressler, and the two new spp. mentioned in the title (the status of the Costa Rican Chondrorhyncha endresii Schltr., provisionally maintained as a synonym of Chondroscaphe bicolor, is unresolved). Chondroscaphe atrilinguis Dressler and C. laevis Dressler have both been collected in Costa Rica only from the Reserva Biológica Alberto Manuel Brenes (formerly the Reserva Forestal de San Ramón), on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Tilarán; the latter sp. is evidently endemic, while the former has also been found in western Panama. Illustrated with detailed line drawings of columns and pollinaria and excellent close-up color photos of living flowers. There is no amended formal description of Chondroscaphe, but seven morphological features (one newly added) are enumerated to distinguish the genus. The author stresses the difficulty of working with dried herbarium specimens in this group, characterized by flowers of "extreme thinness," and the need for fresh or fluid-preserved material. Totalmente bilingüe.
--. 2001. Stellilabium erratum, a comedy of blunders. Lankesteriana 2: 11–13.
Stellilabium erratum Dressler (Orchidaceae), known only from the Atlantic slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca, was first found in 1984, but has stayed under the radar due to a protracted series of outlandish herbarium foul-ups, referenced in both the title of the article and the specific epithet. The new sp., the eleventh Costa Rican representative of its genus, is assigned to subgen. Taeniorhachis Dressler [see The Cutting Edge 7(2): 6–7, Apr. 2000]. It has been included in the author’s Manual treatment of Stellilabium under a provisional name ("sp. B"). Illustrated with a very fine composite line drawing by Franco Pupulin.

Duvall, M. R., J. D. Noll & A. H. Minn. 2001. Phylogenetics of Paniceae (Poaceae). Amer. J. Bot. 88: 1988–1992.

Tribe Paniceae comprises more than 100 genera and 2000 spp., about 20% of the total for Poaceae. This study investigated the phylogeny of 57 spp. using insert sequences from the plastid locus rpoC2. Although these sequences proved to harbor "limited phylogenetic information," support (mostly weak) was provided for some recent conclusions of other workers, including Giussani et al. (2001; see below). For example: Paniceae is paraphyletic with respect to tribe Andropogoneae, Paspalum with respect to Thrasya, and Cenchrus and Pennisetum with respect to one another; Panicum maximum Jacq. is associated with Eriochloa and Urochloa, not other Panicum spp. According to the authors, either Panicum is "extraordinarily polyphyletic," or else "rpoC2 has insufficient phylogenetic information to resolve a monophyletic Panicum or any of the subgenera…therein."

Evans, R. J. 2001. Monograph of Colpothrinax.Palms 45: 177–195.

Colpothrinax (Arecaceae) comprises three spp., of fan-palms, closely related to the Pacific Pritchardia, but restricted to Central America and Cuba. Central American material has hitherto been subsumed under the name Colpothrinax cookii Read, published in 1969 on the basis of specimens from Guatemala (the holotype) and Panama. Since that time, collections have accrued from Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. This additional material has revealed that two spp. are represented in Central America, the northern C. cookii, and C. aphanopetala R. J. Evans (here described as new), of Costa Rica, Panama, and extreme southeastern Nicaragua. Although vegetatively virtually identical, the two Central American Colpothrinax spp. are easily distinguished with flowers or fruits. This excellent contribution by our own Ramblin’ Joe Evans features a key to spp., detailed descriptions of the genus and all three spp., comprehensive specimen citations, informative discussions, a distribution map, photos (mainly color) of live material, detailed line drawings, and SEM micrographs of pollen. An introductory section covers taxonomic history, various aspects of morphology, and relationships to other genera.

Fryxell, P. A. 2001. Talipariti (Malvaceae), a segregate from Hibiscus. Contr. Univ. Michigan Herb. 23: 225–270.

Folks have been tinkering with Hibiscus for a long time now, pinching off and reattaching such taxa as Abelmoschus and Wercklea. The group of 22 mostly Asian spp. dealt with here has been segregated before, according to the author’s account; however, the three previously used generic names must all be regarded, according to their types, as synonyms of Thespesia, prompting the establishment of the new name given in the title. The only member of the proposed new genus occurring in Costa Rica is the familiar coastal shrub or treelet that we originally learned as Hibiscus tiliaceus L., later amended to H. pernambucensis Arruda, as per Fryxell’s Manual treatment [see The Cutting Edge 3(2): 3, Apr. 1996]. Now taking "the middle road," the author demotes the New World taxon a half-step to infraspecific rank, yielding Talipariti tiliaceum (L.) Fryxell var. pernambucense (Arruda) Fryxell. The title does not suggest that this is actually a formal revision, with detailed descriptions of the genus and spp., keys to spp. and infraspecific taxa, comprehensive specimen citations, informative discussions, and an index to scientific names. The introductory part includes sections on taxonomic history, characterization of the new genus, and generic and intrageneric relationships. No cladistic evidence is presented, and no phylogenetic rationale is invoked. Detailed drawings depict stipules and involucel and calyx morphology for selected spp., and a few taxa (including ours) are represented by full-page composite plates.

Giraldo-Cañas, D. 2001. Sinopsis de la sección Cabrera del género neotropical Axonopus (Poaceae, Panicoideae, Paniceae). Revista Acad. Colomb. Ci. Exact. 25: 207–223.

Axonopus sect. Cabrera (Lag.) Chase, widely distributed in the Neotropics, comprises those spp. of Axonopus with stiff, elongate golden trichomes conspicuously covering the rachis of the inflorescence racemes and surrounding the spikelets. This so-called synopsis (really it is a full-scale revision) reduces the number of spp. from 10 to just two, Axonopus aureus P. Beauv. and A. chrysoblepharis (Lag.) Chase. This means no change for us, because these are the only names that have been used, in recent treatments, for the entire Mesoamerican region. Includes detailed descriptions of the genus, section, and spp., a key to all four sections of Axonopus, a key to the two spp. of sect. Cabrera, complete synonymy, extensive discussions, and comprehensive specimen citations. A composite line-drawing and SEM micrographs of florets depict both spp. Introductory sections on taxonomic history, relationships, distribution and ecology, and economic importance pertain to the genus as a whole, perhaps presaging revisions of the remaining three sections of Axonopus (with ca. 65 spp. total).

Giussani, L. M., J. H. Cota-Sánchez, F. O. Zuloaga & E. A. Kellogg. 2001. A molecular phylogeny of the grass subfamily Panicoideae (Poaceae) shows multiple origins of C4 photosynthesis. Amer. J. Bot. 88: 1993–2012.

Companion to the paper by Duvall et al. (2001; see above), this contribution analyzes sequence data from the chloroplast gene ndhF, and addresses the entire subfamily Panicoideae, with ca. 3300 spp. in 206 genera. This is by far the meatier of the two papers, with results more far-reaching as well as better supported. Represented in the sample were 35 genera of tribe Paniceae (including 19 spp. of Panicum in 14 sections and five subgenera), 22 genera of tribe Andropogoneae, and two genera of tribe Arundinelleae. Subfamily Panicoideae is verified as monophyletic, with three strongly supported clades. "In spite of the continuous segregation of genera," Panicum itself remains alarmingly polyphyletic, with spp. appearing throughout the cladogram, often in association with other genera; however, subgen. Panicum is monophyletic, and the authors suggest that the genus name be restricted to that entity. Panicum subgen. Dichanthelium Hitchc. & Chase is also monophyletic, and "can be raised" to generic level, while Panicum maximum Jacq., an abundant weed in Costa Rica, "should be placed in Urochloa." The large genus Paspalum is paraphyletic and includes Thrasya; thus, either Thrasya must be subsumed within Paspalum (as has already been suggested), or else the latter genus must be subdivided into smaller genera. On a more sanguine note, Digitaria, another major genus, is "clearly monophyletic," as is the much smaller Homolepis. It is suggested that C3 photosynthesis is ancestral for the subfamily, and that C4 arose at least eight times.

Goyder, D. 2001. Asclepiadaceae or Apocynaceae? Asklepios 83: 13–16.

In which the results of recent phylogenetic research confirming Asclepiadaceae to be nested within Apocynaceae are communicated cogently and persuasively to a largely horticultural readership. Now this will carry some weight!

Higgins, W. E. 2001. Oestlundia: a new genus of Orchidaceae in Laeliinae. Selbyana 22: 1–4.

The proposed new genus corresponds to the former Encyclia sect. Leptophyllum Dressler & G. E. Pollard, a group of four mainly Mexican spp. which (we are told) "is more closely related to Prosthechea than to Encyclia," hence "must be raised to generic status to keep sister clades equally ranked." All the "required" new combinations are validated here, in the author’s name. Of course, where taxonomic ranking is concerned, there is never any such thing as "must". The author’s own cladogram reveals at least one other obvious classificatory option, i.e., transferral of the four spp. of sect. Leptophyllum to Prosthechea, together with the two spp. comprising the genus Euchile (itself a section of Encyclia until 1998). There is no evidence that this possibility so much as entered the author’s mind. As lumpers, we’d always prefer to minimize the number of small, technical, segregate genera; we might even go so far as to ask, why not telescope all of these genera back into Encyclia, or even Epidendrum? It would suit us generalists just fine. But it would seem that the unwritten rule these days is, once a genus is created, it must forever be maintained; the trend toward splitting is thus irreversible, at least in Orchidaceae. The author provides an adequate formal description of Oestlundia, but little in the way of a diagnosis (there seems to be just one, very weak synapomorphy); indeed, we learn more about the life story of Erik Magnus Östlund than about the defining characteristics of the genus bearing his name.
The author unwittingly opened the door to the foregoing diatribe by offhandedly attributing Oestlundia luteorosea (A. Rich. & Galeotti) W. E. Higgins to Costa Rica. In fact, we are aware of no herbarium vouchers supporting the alleged occurrence of this sp. (under any name) in Costa Rica, and it is not included in Robert L. Dressler’s Manual treatment of Encyclia.

Kårehed, J. 2001. Multiple origin of the tropical forest tree family Icacinaceae. Amer. J. Bot. 88: 2259–2274.

Following up on previous indications that Icacinaceae were polyphyletic, the author cladistically analyzes morphological data plus sequence data from four genes to show that it is indeed so. However, his resolution is not definitive. The New World genera cluster in two distinct regions, one in association with the order Garryales, the other with Aquifoliales. The former alliance includes the (African) type Icacina, and is thus referred to as "Icacinaceae sensu stricto," even though it is "probably...not...monophyletic." This alliance includes half of the genera of Icacinaceae s. l. occurring in Costa Rica, viz., Calatola, Casimirella, Mappia, and Oecopetalum. These genera may thus be retained provisionally in Icacinaceae, although Calatola and Oecopetalum appear to belong to different groups than the type genus. The other (Aquifoliales) alliance includes Citronella, Dendrobangia, Discophora, and perhaps Metteniusa, to account for the remainder of the Costa Rican contingent. This strongly supported alliance consists of two equally well supported monophyletic sister clades, both receiving family rank as Cardiopteridaceae Blume and Stemonuraceae (M. Roem.) Kårehed (stat. nov.). Discophora would belong to the latter family and the other three genera to Cardiopteridaceae; however, the disposition of Metteniusa is especially tentative and "based on the assumption that the genus is indeed related to some icacinaceous genera." The new family is formally described.

Lee, J. & T. Hymowitz. 2001. A molecular phylogenetic study of the subtribe Glycininae (Leguminosae) derived from the chloroplast DNA rps16 intron sequences. Amer. J. Bot. 88: 2064–2073.

This study examined 34 taxa representing 15 genera in the mainly Old World subtribe Glycininae (Fabaceae/Papilionoideae), of which the Asian Pueraria (ca. 17 spp.), of kudzu fame, is "the largest and most problematic genus." Sure enough, Pueraria emerges as wildly polyphyletic, the five sampled spp. cropping out in four disparate regions of the consensus cladogram. Because the generic type, Pueraria tuberosa (Roxb. ex Willd.) DC., was not included, the potential nomenclatural consequences for P. phaseoloides (Roxb.) Benth., naturalized in Costa Rica, are not evident to us.

Luer, C. A. 2001. Icones pleurothallidinarum XXII. Systematics of Masdevallia. Part Three. Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 86: 519–780+.

The penultimate installment in a projected four-part series [see The Cutting Edge 8(2): 11, Apr. 2001], this contribution tackles two of the four sections of Masdevallia subgen. Masdevallia (Orchidaceae) yet to be treated (out of eight altogether). Dispatched here are 104 spp. accounting for sect. Masdevallia subsect. Masdevallia (84 spp.) and sect. Minutae Rchb. f. ex Woolward (20 spp.). The former is one of five subsections of the entirely South American sect. Masdevallia, which need not concern us here or in the future. Section Minutae, on the other hand, is well represented in the Mesoamerican region, with nine spp. recorded from Costa Rica alone. Of these, only Masdevallia laucheana Kraenzl. ex Woolward is endemic, known by just a few collections from the northern Cordillera de Talamanca. Includes a key to the five subsections of sect. Masdevallia, sp. keys for subsect. Masdevallia and sect. Minutae, detailed descriptions, comprehensive specimen citations, distribution maps, and composite line drawings for each sp., plus a cumulative index to scientific names. Just one new sp. is described (from Peru).

Luteyn, J. L. 2001. Two new species and two new combinations in Mesoamerican Ericaceae. Brittonia 53: 437–446.

Three of these four novelties pertain to Costa Rica, two of them exclusively. The new combinations Gonocalyx megabracteolatus (Wilbur & Luteyn) Luteyn and Vaccinium talamancense (Wilbur & Luteyn) Luteyn signify the loss of two Macleania spp. from our roster; the latter sp. is endemic to the upper slopes of Cerro Chirripó, while the former is mainly Panamanian, with a single Costa Rican record [see The Cutting Edge 7(3): 3, Jul. 2000]. The new sp., Vaccinium monteverdense Wilbur & Luteyn, is nearly endemic to the Cordillera de Tilarán in the Monteverde region, with one collection (Utley & Utley 1885) from the Cordillera de Guanacaste. Keys are provided for all spp. of Gonocalyx and the Mesoamerican spp. of Satyria, and the two new spp. are illustrated with detailed composite line drawings, executed to the exacting standards we have all come to expect from Bobbi Angell. All the nomenclatural novelties relevant to Costa Rica were prefigured in the author’s (with R. L. Wilbur and J. Francisco Morales) Manual treatment of Ericaceae [see The Cutting Edge 8(3): 3, Jul. 2001].

Miller, A. J., D. A. Young & J. Wen. 2001. Phylogeny and biogeography of Rhus (Anacardiaceae) based on ITS sequence data. Int. J. Pl. Sci. 162: 1401–1407.

The cladistic analyses resulting from this study suggest that Rhus s. str. is monophyletic, and that Toxicodendron is reasonably distinct (in the sense that it could not be submerged in Rhus without other genera such as Cotinus and Schinus also being sucked into the vortex).

Morales, C. O. 2001. Dora Emilia Mora de Retana, 1940–2001. Lankesteriana 2: 1–7.

A fond remembrance of the late director of the Jardín Botánico Lankester [see The Cutting Edge 8(3): 1, Jul. 2001], with compilations of taxonomic novelties in which she was involved, spp. honoring her, and publications. Also reported here (and news to us) is the death, on 22 August, 2001, of Dora Emilia’s collaborator Joaquín B. García, with the sad observation that Costa Rica lost its two most prominent native orchidologists within a two-month period. This issue of Lankesteriana is dedicated to Dora Emilia, with her photographic portrait as the frontispiece. Manual contributor John Atwood shares his personal reminiscences in a companion piece (Lankesteriana 2: 9. 2001).

Murillo-Pulido, M. T. 2001. Acerca del "status" de Salpichlaena volubilis J. Smith in Hook. (Blechnaceae). Revista Acad. Colomb. Ci. Exact. 25: 229–236.

Based on a tabular compilation of variation in four leaf characters over a wide range of Colombian Salpichlaena collections, the author concludes (among other things) that Salpichlaena thalassica Grayum & R. C. Moran, occurring at relatively high elevations from Nicaragua to Ecuador, is a synonym of a more widespread, polymorphic S. volubilis (Kaulf.) J. Sm. Ironically, the rationale used to sink S. thalassica ("los especimenes varían morfológicamente con respecto a su distribución") is the same that was invoked to establish it.

Nesom, G. L. 2001. New combinations in Chionolaena (Asteraceae: Gnaphalieae). Sida 19: 849–852.

Ten Mexican and Central American spp. previously regarded by the author as comprising the genus Gnaphaliothamnus [see The Cutting Edge 1(4): 8, Oct. 1994] are now accepted by him as members of the otherwise South American Chionolaena, in general accordance with the views of other workers (e.g., Freire, Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 80: 397–438. 1993). Still, the author believes the Mesoamerican groub to be monophyletic, and sister to the South American spp. New combinations in Chionolaena are required (and here validated) for five of the ten Mesoamerican spp., including the only two represented in Costa Rica: Chionolaena costaricensis (G. L. Nesom) G. L. Nesom and C. salicifolia (Bertol.) G. L. Nesom. The last-mentioned combination sounds the death knell for Gnaphaliothamnus, restricted by Freire to G. salicifolius (Bertol.) G. L. Nesom alone. Features a tabular comparison of pappus features among the ten Mesomerican Chionolaena spp. [N.B.: The name Chionolaena lavandulifolia (Kunth) Benth. & Hook. f. ex B. D. Jackson, though long applied to Costa Rican material (mostly under Gnaphalium), is restricted by Nesom to Mexican populations, with Costa Rican plants distinguished as C. costaricensis.]

Potgieter, K. & V. A. Albert. 2002 ['2001']. Phylogenetic relationships within Apocynaceae s. l. based on trnL intron and trnL-F spacer sequences and propagule characters. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 88: 523–549.

In what is described as "the most comprehensive phylogenetic study of the Apocynaceae s. l. to date" (Endress & Stevens, Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 88: 520. 2002), the family in its broad sense (including Asclepiadaceae and Periplocaceae) passes muster as "a strongly defined monophyletic group, a finding that should be reflected in taxonomic treatments." However, two of its five subfamilies appear to be paraphyletic. A clade including the alternate-leaved genera Aspidosperma and Vallesia is sister to the rest of the family. Is this the final nail in the coffin for Asclepiadaceae? See Goyder (above, this column), who takes it to the next level.

Powell, E. A. & K. A. Kron. 2001. An analysis of the phylogenetic relationships in the wintergreen group (Diplycosia, Gaultheria, Pernettya, Tepuia; Ericaceae). Syst. Bot. 26: 808–817.

Sequence analysis of three DNA regions portrays the southeast Asian Diplycosia (with 97–100 spp.) and the mainly south temperate Pernettya (with ca. 14 spp., extending northward to Mexico) as both nested within the circum-Pacific Gaultheria s. str. (with more than 100 spp.). Pernettya, with at least one sp. in Costa Rica, has been distinguished from Gaultheria on the basis of its fleshy fruit and dry calyx (vice-versa in Gaultheria s. str.). The results of this study strongly support the inclusion of Pernettya within Gaultheria, a merger that was formalized a decade ago by Middleton (Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 106: 229–258. 1991) and has since been accepted by numerous authorities, e.g., The plant-book 2nd ed. (1997). On the other hand, the suggested admixture of Diplycosia, also strongly supported, is without precedent.

Pridgeon, A. M., R. Solano & M. W. Chase. 2001. Phylogenetic relationships in Pleurothallidinae (Orchidaceae): combined evidence from nuclear and plastid DNA sequences. Amer. J. Bot. 88: 2286–2308.

This paper presents the molecular-phylogenetic analyses that support the nomenclatural changes implemented by Pridgeon & Chase (see following entry). We processed the nomenclatural paper before seeing this, and are more interested in the classificatory outfall anyway. Furthermore, there is some duplication of content in the two papers, and the nomenclature paper supersedes this in incorporating a reanalysis of one of the data sets, with two spp. newly added. Bottom line: read on!

--. & M. W. Chase. 2001. A phylogenetic reclassification of Pleurothallidinae (Orchidaceae). Lindleyana 16: 235–271.

This was predictable. Pleurothallis, one of the largest genera of vascular plants with ca. 1500 spp., "has been nothing but a polymorphic assemblage for almost two centuries." Over the years, numerous smaller genera with conspicuous autapomorphies have been chipped off (many by Manual contributor Carlyle A. Luer), leaving the residual mass "with no defining synapomorphies." In Luer’s own words, "a Pleurothallis might be described as any pleurothallid that does not fit into any of the other genera." Now, following cladistic analysis of molecular data for more than 180 carefully selected taxa in subtribe Pleurothallidinae (see the foregoing entry), the whole card house comes tumbling down. As expected, Pleurothallis proves to be "grossly polyphyletic." Perhaps we should not be surprised that most of its satellite genera appear to be monophyletic and, with a few exceptions, are retained in this new classification; the same may be said of the subgenera within Pleurothallis (although two are polyphyletic, and many are removed to other genera). Presumably in order to preserve as many accepted generic concepts as possible, the authors have opted to split Pleurothallis s. l. into several smaller genera. All of these have strong bootstrap support, but some are weakly characterized in morphological terms. Six of these splinter genera are represented in Costa Rica: Acianthera (by at least 13 spp.), fashioned mainly from Pleurothallis subgen. Acianthera (Scheidw.) Luer; Anathallis (by at least 6 spp.), comprising P. subgen. Acuminatia Luer and subgen. Specklinia (Lindl.) Garay sect. Muscosae Lindl.; Anthereon (by 2 spp.), including P. subgen. Specklinia sects. Mentosae Luer and Tripteranthae Luer; Echinella (by 6 spp.), comprising P. subgen. Acianthera sects. Satyria (Luer) Luer and Silenia Luer; Phloeophila (by just P. peperomioides Ames in Costa Rica, previously included in P. subgen. Acianthera); and Specklinia (by at least 26 spp.), formed from P. subgen. Empusella Luer, subgen. Pseudoctomeria (Kraenzl.) Luer, and subgen. Specklinia sects. Hymenodanthae Barb. Rodr., Muscariae Luer, and Tribuloides Luer, together with the oligotypic genus Acostaea. Several other Pleurothallis subgenera (entraining at least 37 spp. in Costa Rica) are siphoned off to the sister genus Stelis, including P. subgenera Dracontia Luer, Elongatia Luer, Effusia Luer, Crocodeilanthe (Rchb. f. & Warsz.) Luer, Pseudostelis (Schltr.) Luer, and Unciferia (Luer) Luer. Stelis also absorbs Salpistele (with just one Costa Rican sp.). Remaining in Pleurothallis s. str. are subgenera Ancipitia Luer, Apoda-Prorepentia Luer, Kraenzlinella (Kuntze) Luer, Pleurothallis, and Rhynchopera (Klotzsch) Luer (to name only those subgenera occurring in Costa Rica). Altogether, Pleurothallis loses at least 90 spp. in Costa Rica alone under this scheme, retaining at most ca. 60 spp. and falling from second to fifth place in sp. total, after Epidendrum (157 spp.), Maxillaria (107 spp.), Lepanthes (93 spp.), and Stelis (now swollen to 90 spp.). Masdevallia, another important pleurothallid genus, suffers the relatively minor loss of M. subgen. Pygmaeia Luer sect. Pygmaeia (with two spp. in Costa Rica), yielding the new genus Diodonopsis, sister to the Dracula/ Masdevallia/Porroglossum clade (suggesting that another option might have been to simply enlarge Masdevallia).
Costa Rica can now claim a total of 22 genera in subtribe Pleurothallidinae. Only two genera are lost outright, Acostaea (to Specklinia) and Salpistele (to Stelis). The oligotypic Restrepiopsis is also lost, but to a genus (Pleurothallopsis) not previously represented in Costa Rica. Trichosalpinx survives for the moment, but its relationships were "largely unresolved," and the future looks bleak; the four spp. sampled came out in three distinct regions of the cladogram, and the authors cite the need for "much more extensive DNA sequencing of taxa." Three genera (Anthereon, Diodonopsis, and Echinella) are described as new, and hundreds of new combinations (and at least one nomen novum) are validated by "Pridgeon & M. W. Chase." Unfortunately, the authors did not do their nomenclatural homework very carefully, and numerous problems thus remain. Among those relevant to Costa Rican taxa are the following: the new combination in Acianthera based on Pleurothallis johnsonii Ames overlooks the earlier synonym Brenesia costaricensis Schltr.; Pleurothallis racemiflora (Sw.) Lindl. ex Hook. is the basis for two new combinations, one in Anathallis and one in Stelis, both accordingly invalid under Art. 34.2 (the combination in Stelis is also an illegitimate later homonym); Specklinia emarginata Lindl. (1830) is cited as the accepted name for "Pleurothallis corniculata Lindl.," although the latter is based on Epidendrum corniculatum Sw. (1788) and the combination Specklinia corniculata (Sw.) Steud. (1840) was long ago validated; Pleurothallis grobyi Bateman ex Lindl. is combined superfluously under Specklinia (see Barros, Hoehnea 10: 110. 1984); the epithet of Pleurothallis microphylla A. Rich. & Galeotti is misspelled ("microphila"), perhaps invalidating the proposed new combination in Specklinia; and a nomen novum created in Specklinia for Acostaea costaricensis Schltr. neglects A. pleurothalloides Schltr., generally accepted as a synonym. Finally, the authors’ inexplicable failure to account for the preexistence of epithets in transferring names from Pleurothallis to Stelis results in hordes of illegitimate homonyms, at least nine of which involve spp. occurring in Costa Rica: Pleurothallis amparoana Schltr., P. floribunda Poepp. & Endl., P. grandis Rolfe, P. ingramii Luer, P. kareniae Luer, P. macrantha L. O. Williams, P. powellii Schltr., P. ramonensis Schltr., and P. tuerckheimii Schltr. These will require nomina nova in Stelis, with the exception of P. floribunda and P. tuerckheimii, for which eligible synonyms are available. Many other new combinations remain to be validated; to cite just a few examples, we find no appropriate new names for Pleurothallis lewisiae Ames (presumably an Anathallis), P. quadrifida (Lex.) Lindl. (presumably a Stelis), or P. simmleriana Rendle (presumably a Specklinia), all accepted names for Costa Rican spp. The authors were apparently cued at least in part by the sp. lists provided by Luer (Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 20: 1–109. 1986), which are somewhat out-of-date and, in many cases, not comprehensive.
This new cladistic interpretation of subtribe Pleurothallidinae will inevitably entail wholesale reexaminations of prevailing notions of character evolution in the group. Already, several characters emphasized in traditional classifications have been shown to be unreliable, including sensitive labella, number of pollinia, and number of stigmatic lobes. Nonetheless, and despite the many new combinations published here, the new system will probably not be adopted in floristic works until the new generic concepts have been formalized and clearly articulated.

Prince, L. M. & C. R. Parks. 2001. Phylogenetic relationships of Theaceae inferred from chloroplast DNA sequence data. Amer. J. Bot. 88: 2309–2320.

These analyses suggest that Theaceae in the conventional sense is paraphyletic, a situation that the authors remedy by removing a group of genera (including Cleyera and Ternstroemia) to a separate family, Ternstroemiaceae [already embraced by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group; see The Cutting Edge 6(1): 5–6, Jan. 1999]. However, their cladograms suggest that a (more sensible?) alternative may be to simply sink the monogeneric Symplocaceae into Theaceae s. l., an option not even addressed. More interestingly, this study disputes the generally accepted notion of Keng (Gard. Bull. Singapore 33: 303–311. 1980) that Gordonia and Laplacea are congeneric. Both Costa Rican spp. presently classed in Gordonia were sequenced: G. brandegee H. Keng clusters with the generic type, G. lasianthus (L.) J. Ellis, but far removed from G. fruticosa (Schrad.) H. Keng. Thus, according to this analysis, G. brandegeei may remain in Gordonia (though originally described in Laplacea), while G. fruticosa (which includes the generic type of Laplacea as a synonym) should revert to being called Laplacea fruticosa (Schrad.) Kobuski. Freziera and Symplococarpon were omitted from this study, and Pelliciera was apparently excluded a priori.

Pruski, J. F. 2001. A new combination in Elaphandra and a new variety of Eleutheranthera ruderalis (Compositae: Heliantheae: Ecliptinae) from Andean South America. Revista Acad. Colomb. Ci. Exact. 25: 315–319.

The establishment of the Venezuelan Eleutheranthera ruderalis (Sw.) Sch.-Bip. var. radiata Pruski automatically generates the varietal autonym for Costa Rican material.

Pupulin, F. 2001. Miscellaneous new taxa in neotropical Orchidaceae. Selbyana 22: 14–26.

Several of the proposed new taxa are at sectional or subsectional rank, and thus do not concern us here. Those that do are three of the four new spp., one in Macroclinium and two in Prosthechea, and a new subsp. of Trichocentrum pfavii Rchb. f., all endemic to Costa Rica. Macroclinium montis-narae Pupulin, known only by the type collection from Cerro Nara near Puerto Quepos, belongs to the newly established sect. Macroclinium subsect. Bicolores Dodson & Pupulin, for which a key to spp. is provided. This subsection is also represented in Costa Rica by Macroclinium confertum Pupulin, M. ramonense (Schltr.) Dodson, and M. robustum Pupulin & D. E. Mora, from all of which the new sp. differs in lacking lobes or auricles on the lamina of the labellum. Another key distinguishes all the Costa Rican Macroclinium spp., now totaling 11.
The two new Prosthechea spp. are P. joaquingarciana Pupulin and P. neglecta Pupulin, known only by their type collections from Vara Blanca (in the Cordillera Central) and San Pedro de Dota (in the Cordillera de Talamanca), respectively. The former sp. is compared with (among other spp.) Prosthechea baculus (Rchb. f.) W. E. Higgins, while the latter belongs to the informal P. prismatocarpa group. A key is presented for the Costa Rican representatives of this group, also including P. brassavolae (Rchb. f.) W. E. Higgins, P. ionocentra (Rchb. f.) W. E. Higgins, and P. prismatocarpa (Rchb. f.) W. E. Higgins.
Finally, Trichocentrum pfavii subsp. dotae Pupulin, differing from the parapatric nominate subsp. only in its spatulate (rather than flabellate) labellum, is based on two specimens from the Dota region, on the Pacific slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca. Both subspp. are included in a key to the newly established Trichocentrum sect. Lobulatae Pupulin, the other two members of which (T. dianthum Pupulin & D. E. Mora and T. estrellense Pupulin & J. B. García) are Costa Rican endemics.
All the new spp., as well as the new subsp., are illustrated with excellent composite line drawings, apparently by the author himself. Adding the three new spp. validated in this paper to the two Chondroscaphe spp. and one Stellilabium published by Dressler (see above, this column) and the new Myoxanthus (next entry), our running count of new orchid spp. described from Costa Rica since the debut of this newsletter has now risen to 182 (we’re not counting infraspecific taxa, of which, in any event, there have been exceedingly few).

--. & M. A. Blanco. 2001. Myoxanthus vittatus (Orchidaceae), a new species from Costa Rica. Lankesteriana 2: 15–18.

Myoxanthus vittatus Pupulin & M. A. Blanco is known from just two specimens, both live-collected in sterile condition at ca. 450 m elevation on the Pacific slope of the central Cordillera de Talamanca, and later brought to flower in cultivation. The new sp. is a member of subgen. Silenia Luer, a small group that has been bounced back and forth between Myoxanthus and Pleurothallis, within which it is distinct in its small size, whitish flowers striped with purple, adaxially smooth sepals, and densely pubescent ovary. In accordance with Carlyle A. Luer’s Manual treatment of subtribe Pleurothallidinae, this sp. would have to be transferred to Pleurothallis (where the epithet vittata is preoccupied). On the other hand, the present authors consider that Pleurothallis tomentosa Luer (another Costa Rican sp. in this group) needs a name in Myoxanthus, and have duly validated the indicated combination. For yet a third view, see Pridgeon & Chase (above, this column), whose system would accommodate all of these spp. in the new genus Echinella. Illustrated with an excellent composite line drawing.

Röth, B. 2001. Lepanthes barbosae und Gabriel Barbosa. Orchidee (Hamburg) 52: 461–464.

A peculiar article which combines observations on Lepanthes barbosae Luer (Orchidaceae), an obscure endemic of the Monteverde region, with commentary on (and by) Gabriel Barbosa (we have also seen it spelled "Barboza"), a local orchid grower who first collected the sp. and for whom it was named. Features color photos of L. barbosae, and several other orchid spp., and of Barbosa’s orchid collection and the man himself. In German.

Sawyer, N. W. 2001. New species and combinations in Larnax (Solanaceae). Novon 11: 460–471.

The nomenclatural metamorphosis is now complete (we hope!) for the montane shrub we learned initially as Deprea orinocensis (Kunth) Raf. Central American material to which the last-mentioned name had been applied was subsequently resegregated as D. sylvarum (Standl. & C. V. Morton) Hunz., based on the Costa Rican Athenaea sylvarum Standl. & C. V. Morton. Recent phylogenies generated from morphological and molecular analyses now suggest that two spp. of Deprea, including D. sylvarum, are better transferred to Larnax, a mainly Andean genus of 18 spp. that is "certainly distinct [from Deprea] in its floral and pollen morphology." Accordingly, our montane shrub becomes Larnax sylvarum (Standl. & C. V. Morton) Sawyer, comb. nov. One other new combination is validated, as well as four new spp. and one new subsp. The only other novelty that concerns us is the Colombian Larnax sylvarum subsp. novogranatensis Sawyer, requiring that Central American populations sport the autonymic subsp. epithet. Includes keys to separate Larnax from five closely allied genera of Solanaceae, to all the spp. of Larnax (except one), and to the two subspp. of L. sylvarum. Three of the four new spp. are illustrated with line drawings. Oh well, at least we no longer have to worry about confusing Deprea with Deppea (Rubiaceae).

Spooner, D. M., R. G. van den Berg, A. Rivera-Peña, P. Velguth, A. del Rio & A. Salas-López. 2001. Taxonomy of Mexican and Central American members of Solanum series Conicibaccata (sect. Petota). Syst. Bot. 26: 743–756.

Solanum sect. Petota Dumort. (Solanaceae) is classified in 21 series with a total of 232 spp., including the potato (S. tuberosum L.). Series Conicibaccata Bitter, the second largest of the 19 tuber-bearing series, comprises some 40 spp. ranging from southern Mexico to northern Bolivia. Just four, however, occur in the Mesoamerican region, where all are endemic and virtually allopatric. The authors employed a multifaceted approach involving field work as well as greenhouse, herbarium, and laboratory studies, the last including both cytological and molecular analysis. Solanum agrimonifolium Rydb. and S. oxycarpum Schiede, as here defined, occur only in northern Mesoamerica, while S. longiconicum Bitter and S. woodsonii Correll are restricted to Costa Rica and/or Panama (both of the last-named spp. are attributed to Costa Rica in Fig. 1, but no Costa Rican specimens of S. woodsonii are cited anywhere in the paper). In the past, all Costa Rican material of this group has generally been identified as S. oxycarpum. The authors do not seem entirely comfortable with their own conclusions, highly influenced by their molecular data, and believe that there is no "easy or even ´correct´ decision on taxonomic limits for these four species." They characterize their sp. key as "frankly…difficult to use...with incomplete specimens or immature material," and note that their concept of S. woodsonii, especially, is based on "very limited material." Additional field-testing of these hypotheses is therefore to be desired. Solanum longiconicum is distinguished by a newly reported character, viz., a conspicuous purple spot on the fresh seeds. Features a brief composite description of the Mesoamerican members of ser. Conicibaccata, a key to the four Mesoamerican spp., synonymy and typology, brief sp. descriptions, comprehensive specimen citations, a distribution map, graphical representations of morphological variation, and a neighbor-joining tree.

Taylor, C. M. & J. L. Clark. 2001. Rubiacearum americanarum magna hama V. Amphidasya in Mesoamerica and western South America. Novon 11: 489–497.

This time the big bucket spills out a new name for the sole Costa Rican representative of Amphidasya, a genus of about 13 spp. that is most diverse in Panama and northwestern South America. Amphidasya ambigua (Standl.) Standl., the name that had been used for our sp., is here restricted to a taxon occurring only in eastern Panama and northwestern South America. The Costa Rican entity, ranging from Nicaragua to northwestern Colombia, becomes Amphidasya longicalycina (Dwyer) C. M. Taylor, comb. nov. (based on Hoffmannia longicalycina Dwyer). Four new spp. are described, and illustrated with line drawings, and a key to all the spp. in the genus is provided. The genus is characterized informally in the introductory section. The conclusions presented here were based strictly on a study of dried material.

Weber, A., W. Huber, A. Weissenhofer, N. Zamora & G. Zimmermann (editors). 2001. An introductory field guide to the flowering plants of the Golfo Dulce rain forests, Costa Rica. Stapfia 78: 1–465 (+ 106 plates).

Don’t be fooled by the formal citation as a periodical: this is a book, and a formidable one at that, the product of many years of dedication by Austrian workers to the preservation and scientific investigation of a large tract of forested land at the northeast corner of Golfo Dulce now known as Parque Nacional Piedras Blancas. This was the historic "Esquinas Forest," immortalized in Paul H. Allen’s practical tree guide, The rain forests of Golfo Dulce (1956). The present volume incorporates some features of the latter work (e.g., multiple, artificial keys), but extends coverage taxonomically to include herbs, shrubs, and lianas, and geographically to the Península de Osa [where it supplements the tree guide of Quesada Q. et al. (1997); see The Cutting Edge 4(4): 6, Oct. 1997]. On the other hand, the Palmar Norte region, featured prominently in Allen’s book, is here omitted, together with genera such as Hyospathe (Arecaceae) and Pentaplaris (Tiliaceae). Most of the botanical field work for this project was carried out by our good friends Werner Huber (WU) and Anton Weissenhofer (WU), frequent contributors to our "Leaps and Bounds" column. Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora (INB) was influential in expanding coverage to the Península de Osa, and revised much of the text. Primary authorship of the family treatments (indicated on p. 433) was shouldered by Austrian botanists associated with WU (mainly Georg Zimmermann), with co-authorship credited variously to most curators at CR and INB (including all three Manual co-PI’s).

Opening remarks by managing editor Anton Weber (WU) emphasize that this is a field guide, not a flora, and in no way comprehensive. Ferns and fern allies are excluded, but have been worked up and will be published separately. Thus, coverage is restricted to seed plants, of which ca. 2200 spp. in ca. 900 genera and 158 families are documented from the Golfo Dulce region. All 158 families are apparently treated here, with 627 genera "described in some detail" and 960 spp. "represented by brief descriptions, line drawings and/or photographs." All genera known to occur in the area are keyed out for most families, and sp. keys are provided "if suitable." Families are distinguished in a short "Survey Key," a more detailed "Annotated Key," and a non-comprehensive tabularization of "spot characters," all emphasizing field characters (mainly vegetative). Family treatments are sequenced alphabetically within four major groups, "Gymnosperms—Cycads," "Gymnosperms—Conifers," "Angiosperms—Monocotyledons," and "Angiosperms—Dicotyledons" (in that order), with genera and spp. nested alphabetically thereunder. In addition to morphological features, there is some discussion of ecology and economic botany (at the family level), as well as information on distribution and diversity, synonymy, and common names. Especially useful are the exhaustive and scrupulously current lists of references, placed at the end of each family treatment. Selected spp. are illustrated with line drawings, from various sources (listed on pp. 435–436), including INBio’s Claudia Aragón. Even more valuable are the composite color plates, a mind-boggling 106 of them, uniformly excellent, and depicting many spp. never before photograhed. The extensive introductory part includes chapters on geography and climate, floristics and vegetation, utilization and conservation, soils (by Susanne Pamperl), geologic history (by Otto Malzer), and tourist and research facilities. An appendix (IV) listing all spp. of vascular plants vouchered from the Golfo Dulce region as of October, 2001, is followed by an index to scientific names. Colored topographic and vegetation maps decorate the end-papers.
This is an extremely handsome publication, executed to high professional standards. Yet, because it is richly illustrated and shuns technical language, it will also be accessible to interested readers who lack formal training in systematic botany. The main limitation, freely acknowledged by the editors (and implied by the word "introductory"), is the omission of more than half the spp. known from the study region. The "difficult task of species selection," which devolved upon those co-editors with the most extensive field knowledge of the area, apparently focused on "the commoner species" and "some species of particular interest." It would appear that ready availability of expertise was also a factor. Some mainly herbaceous and/or shrubby families are covered in an extremely cursory manner, especially Asteraceae, Orchidaceae, and Poaceae, for which even keys to genera are omitted; on the other hand, Acanthaceae and Araceae receive more extensive treatments. Taxa consisting mainly of trees are, in general, better served, but even here there is some unevenness: for example, 23 of the 34 Inga spp. (Fabaceae/ Mimosoideae) known from the Golfo Dulce region are described, but just one of the 24 Pouteria spp. (Sapotaceae). The criteria for including keys to spp. are similarly inscrutable; in Gesneriaceae, keys are provided for the two spp. of Codonanthe and the nine spp. of Columnea occurring in the study area, but not for the seven spp. of Drymonia or three of Gasteranthus. Despite these minor irregularities, "algo es algo," as Costa Ricans are fond of saying. This book should permit any fundamentally educated reader to easily identify all seed plants growing in the Golfo Dulce region to family, most to genus, and some to sp. For the rest, as the editors observe, "the consultation of scientific literature is necessary"; fortunately, this literature is throroughly referenced. Although we have no information on the cost of this volume, we feel confident in stating that it is well worth whatever the expense. Presumably it will be available in Costa Rica, as this was a cooperative project involving both CR and INB. The text is entirely in English.

Webster, G. L. 2001. Synopsis of Croton and Phyllanthus (Euphorbiaceae) in western tropical Mexico. Contr. Univ. Michigan Herb. 23: 353–388.

Of incidental interest to us is the author’s reiteration that Phyllanthus anisolobus Müll. Arg., of Costa Rica through Ecuador, is a different sp. from the more northern P. mocinianus Baill., under which name it was treated in Flora costaricensis (Burger & Huft, Fieldiana, Bot. n. s., 36: 1–169. 1995) as well as in José González’s Manual contribution [see The Cutting Edge 3(3): 2, Jul. 1996]. Several differences (all floral) are enumerated.

Weigend, M. 2001. Desfontainia Ruiz & Pav. (Desfontainiaceae) revisited—a first step back towards α-diversity. Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 123: 281–301.

This is a half-cooked effort (the "first step" part of the title) that resolves the widespread, montane Desfontainia spinosa Ruiz & Pav. into three spp. (the "back towards α-diversity" part that "differ clearly and consistently in various characters." However, one of these spp., D. splendens Humb. & Bonpl., "remains a heterogeneous and widespread taxon and should probably be further subdivided into more narrowly endemic and more natural taxa." As luck would have it, the Mesoamerican material (restricted to Costa Rica and Panama) falls under D. splendens, ranging (in the broad sense) to western Venezuela and northern Bolivia. The variation within D. splendens s. l. is compartmentalized in five "informal groups," dubbed "Taxon A" through "Taxon E." These "taxa" are keyed and treated semiformally, with synonymy, representative specimen citations, and notes. "Taxon E" is dedicated to the Mesomerican populations, characterized by more deeply toothed leaves, but "much less distinct typical D. splendens" than the other forms. Although the name Desfontainia costaricensis Woodson is available, the author indicates that infraspecific ranking would be preferable. The taxonomic conclusions here presented were informed by the author’s own field work, and the nomenclatural decisions by his admirable resolution of a diabolical herbarium mixup tracing all the way back to Ruiz and Pavón. The author acknowledges the sister-taxon relationship of Desfontainia (formerly referred to Loganiaceae) and Columellia (Columelliaceae), yet apparently maintains them in separate families (Columelliaceae is the older name), contrary to the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group [see The Cutting Edge 6(1): 5–6, Jan. 1999]. Includes formal generic and sp. descriptions, a key to spp., and both photos and line drawings of all three spp.

--. & M. Binder. 2001. Three new species of Ribes L. (Grossulariaceae) from Central and South America. Syst. Bot. 26: 727–732.

Presented here are some preliminary results of revisionary work on the neotropical members of Ribes. Three novelties are described, of which just one occurs in Costa Rica: Ribes costaricensis Weigend, of high elevations (2700–3300+ m) in the Cordillera de Talamanca, where it barely squeaks into extreme western Panama in the Cerro Fábrega region. Dioecious and thus belonging to the otherwise South American Ribes subgen. Parilla Jancz., the new sp. is closely related to Ribes ecuadoriense Jancz. and R. leptostachyum Benth., and has long been known under the latter name. Illustrated with an excellent composite line drawing.

Werff, H. van der. 2001. New taxa and combinations in Ocotea (Lauraceae) from Central America. Novon 11: 501–511.

Three new combinations are validated, none pertaining to Costa Rica, and nine new spp. are described, of which five occur in Costa Rica. Two of the five new spp. are Costa Rican endemics, as far as is known: Ocotea klepperae van der Werff (related to O. dendrodaphne Mez) has been collected at two sites in the central Pacific lowlands, while O. macrantha van der Werff (compared with O. rubriflora Mez) is recorded only from the Península de Osa. The other three new spp. occurring in Costa Rica are: Ocotea atlantica van der Werff, related to O. leucoxylon (Sw.) Laness.; O. haberi van der Werff, compared with O. holdridgeiana W. C. Burger; and O. pullifolia van der Werff, closely related to (and initially identified as) the Honduran O. jorge-escobarii C. Nelson. Ocotea atlantica ranges northward to Honduras, while both O. haberi and O. pullifolia are shared with western Panama. All nine new spp. are illustrated with scanned images of herbarium specimens. A checklist accounts for the 37 spp. of Ocotea that have been described from Central America since 1980; 19 of these occur in Costa Rica, nine exclusively. Because the majority of these recent novelties come from the best-collected areas in Central America, and nearly all are based on recent collections, the author concludes that "our knowledge of Ocotea species in Central America is far from complete and that more new species will come to light."

Williams, N. H., M. W. Chase & M. Whitten. 2001. Phylogenetic positions of Miltoniopsis, Caucaea, a new genus, Cyrtochiloides, and Oncidium phymatochilum (Orchidaceae: Oncidiinae) based on nuclear and plastid DNA sequence data. Lindleyana 16: 272–285.

Further molecular investigations on the orchid subtribe Oncidiinae [see The Cutting Edge 8(4): 7, Oct. 2001] reveal a well supported clade of four spp., traditionally classed in Oncidium, but with numerous characters typical of Cyrtochilum (thick pseudobulbs, rounded in cross-section, with numerous apical and basal leaves and elongate inflorescences), and distantly related to Oncidium s. str. A new genus, Cyrtochiloides, is erected for this group, and the indicated new combinations are validated. Two of the four spp. occur in Costa Rica: Cyrtochiloides ochmatochila (Rchb. f.) N. H. Williams & M. W. Chase and C. panduriformis (Ames & C. Schweinf.) N. H. Williams & M. W. Chase. The other results of this study are not germane to us.

Withner, C. L. 2001. Encyclia in Zentralamerika, zwei neue und sechs wenig bekannte Arten. Orchidee (Hamburg) 52: 444–450.

We are concerned by the author’s commentary on one of the two new spp. and two of the six little known ones. Encyclia davidhuntii Withner & M. Fuente sp. nov., described from a cultivated plant collected in Belize, is attributed without documentation to several other countries, including Costa Rica. Alleged to occur in Costa Rica in a similarly cavalier manner are E. alanjensis (Ames) Carnevali & G. A. Romero (an invalid combination) and E. amanda (Ames) Dressler, neither verifiable by us. The generally accepted status of the former name as a synonym of E. stellata (Lindl.) Schltr. is challenged. We have enough trouble keeping tabs on the Costa Rican orchid flora without having to deal with this sort of thing. The new sp. is illustrated with a color photo from life, and all the spp. discussed are depicted by line drawings of floral features. Fully bilingual (German/English).

Zamora V., N., Q. Jiménez M. & L. J. Poveda A. 2000. Árboles de Costa Rica. Vol. II. Inst. Nac. de Biodiversidad, Sto. Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica. 374 pp.

[N.B.: We briefly noted this publication in The Cutting Edge 7(4): 7, Oct. 2000, before the volume was in hand. Now that it is, we can provide a more definitive account.]
This is a continuation of Árboles de Costa Rica. Vol. 1, the 1975 classic by the late L. R. Holdridge and Luis J. Poveda (JVR), now envisioned as a multi-part series comprehensive in its coverage. A second edition of the original work, published in 1997 [see The Cutting Edge 4(4): 4, Oct. 1997], was essentially a reprinting, with updated nomenclature. The present volume, an entirely new production, represents a tremendous step forward in both bridging the gap with the past and staking out the future for this long-stagnant but vitally important project. In the spirit of comprehensiveness and gap-bridging, 122 compound-leaved dicot spp. not included in the first volume (which dealt only with monocots and those dicots with compound or lobed leaves) are here treated in full. Following this, the authors plunge headlong into the simple-leaved dicots, dispatching an additional 192 spp. from Acanthaceae through Capparaceae. Within each of the two major halves of the book, the sp. entries are ordered according to artificial morphological groupings established in a "Lista de especies incluidas," presented at the outset. For the simple-leaved spp. there are just two such groupings, "Opuestas" and "Alternas," under which alphabetical order prevails. As in the first volume, each sp. entry occupies a single page, with both text and illustration; diverging from the first volume, the headings for the textual portion are condensed from seven to four ("Descripción," "Diagnóstico," "Distribución," and "Historia Natural"), and the illustration is an excellent composite line drawing (by INBio’s Claudia Aragón) rather than a poor black-and-white photo. Ten pages of fine color photos brighten the back of the book, followed by a glossary, bibliography, and combined index to common and scientific names. There is some overlap in taxonomic coverage between this volume and the first author’s independent Flora arborescente de Costa Rica. I. Especies de hojas simples (1989); however, all of the illustrations are different, as is much of the text.
As suggested above, the present contribution treats a total of 314 tree spp. Exactly 500 spp. were included in the first volume, yielding a total of 814 spp. dealt with so far. Taking at face value the authors’ estimated total of 1900 tree spp. for Costa Rica, one reasons that about three more volumes will be required to complete the series. Arborescent monocots, included in the first volume but not reconsidered here, appear to have fallen through the cracks, at least for the time being. Tree-ferns, not dealt with in Vol. 1, will presumably be ignored on the considerable merits of Alexander Rojas’s slick little guide [see The Cutting Edge 6(3): 10, Jul. 1999].

--. & T. D. Pennington. 2001. Guabas y cuajiniquiles de Costa Rica (Inga spp.). Inst. Nac. de Biodiversidad, Sto. Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica. 197 pp.

Here is everything you ever wanted to know about Costa Rican Inga spp., condensed into one slim, smartly organized, and profusely illustrated volume. Inga (Fabaceae/Mimosoideae) is the most diverse tree genus in the country, with 53 spp. (including 12 endemics). While the genus itself is quickly learned by novices, the spp. are bewildering, even to professional botanists. Previous keys have tended to require both flowering and fruiting material, though often at least one of these stages is unavailable. Nelson Zamora (INB) and Terry Pennington (K) have made specialized studies of Inga over the past decade, during which time they have described (together or separately) nine of the Costa Rican spp. here accepted (including I. cotobrusensis N. Zamora, still "ined."). Their diagnostic, illustrated key, strongly emphasizing vegetative features, is deceptively simple; this is a hard-won product, forged from intimate acquaintance and careful scrutiny applied over both time and space. Avail yourselves! The two-page formal sp. treatments, comprehensive for Costa Rica, are sequenced alphabetically by scientific name. Each includes a description, diagnostic summary, distribution summary (overall and for Costa Rica), and paragraphs on phenology, habitat, and uses. These textual features are supplemented, on the same page, by graphical representations of geographical and altitudinal distribution, flowering and fruiting phenology, and habit and scale. The facing page is occupied by a detailed, composite line drawing. In the back of the volume are 31 pages of color photos (all from life), an illustrated glossary, an atlas of Costa Rican Inga fruits, a bibliography, and a combined index to common and scientific names. The introductory part covers various far-ranging topics at the generic level, including taxonomic history, morphology, habitat, distribution, phenology, and economic importance. Because Inga is everywhere, and everywhere confusing, everyone with a need to identify Costa Rican trees will need to acquire this book. The illustrations are credited to Álvaro Fernández, Francisco Quesada, and Rosemary Wise. In Spanish.


© 1995-2023 Missouri Botanical Garden, All Rights Reserved
4344 Shaw Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 577-5100

Technical Support