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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.
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
--. 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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
Prince, L. M. & C. R. Parks. 2001. Phylogenetic relationships of
Theaceae inferred from chloroplast DNA sequence data. Amer. J. Bot. 88:
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
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
--. & 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
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,"
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
Webster, G. L. 2001. Synopsis of Croton and Phyllanthus
(Euphorbiaceae) in western tropical Mexico. Contr. Univ. Michigan Herb.
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)
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
--. & 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
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
"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
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.