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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

Main | Family List (MO) | Family List (INBio) | Cutting Edge
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The Cutting Edge

Volume X, Number 1, January 2003

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

HOMINIDAE. New to Costa Rica and the world, on the final day of November, a bouncing baby boy, Nilo Francisco Aguilar Bainbridge. Congratulations to the awe-struck parents, INBio parataxonomist and former park naturalist Reinaldo Aguilar and English illustrator Catherine Bainbridge, both of whom are doing fine...as is the niño.

LENTIBULARIACEAE. Well, we wished for it, and darned if it didn't happen! Canellaceae, Santalaceae, and Drosera were among the taxa that we most dreamed of finding in Costa Rica, and all have miraculously turned up. Lamenting that Luis Diego Gómez had beaten us to Drosera [see The Cutting Edge 3(4): 3, Oct. 1996], we wondered whether “Pinguicula is still out there, as a consolation prize.“ Not anymore, it ain't! Consolation was claimed on (wouldn't you know it) the last day of November (as Grayum vegetated at an ice hockey tournament in Chicago) by Manual co-PI Barry Hammel and INBio botanist Francisco Morales, who encountered Pinguicula crenatiloba A. DC. (see “Season's Pick“) on the fabled slopes of Cerro Caraigres, in the northern Talamanca. This region had already yielded several other exciting novelties, such as Amelanchier denticulata (Kunth) K. Koch [Rosaceae; see The Cutting Edge 4(3): 3, Jul. 1997], Bidens chrysanthemifolia (Kunth) Sherff [Asteraceae; see The Cutting Edge 8(1): 2, Jan. 2001], and Calathea coccinea Standl. & Steyerm. [Marantaceae; see The Cutting Edge 7(3): 3, Jul. 2000]. As for the Law of Diminishing Returns, dredged up in this column last quarter: Hammel and Morales agree that this was at least in part an artifact of a recent collecting hiatus; simply put, nobody's been getting into the field of late! But is there anything major left to dream about? Hey, we still have Achatocarpaceae, Bataceae, Buxaceae, Cyrillaceae, and Rapateaceae, just to name a few. Meanwhile, on the final day of November, goalie Jeff Grayum played the game of his young life as the visiting Affton Americans vanquished the Orland Park Vikings 3-1, despite being outshot by roughly the same margin. It was a good day all around.

VERBENACEAE. A collection made by Palo Verde plant guru Ulises Chavarría from 900 m elevation on the slopes of Volcán Miravalles, in the Cordillera de Guanacaste, has been tentatively identified by INBio expert José González as Citharexylum schottii Greenm. This sp. was attributed to Mexico (Yucatá'n), Nicaragua, and Costa Rica in Flora de Nicaragua (Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 85: 2507. 2001); however, we are not aware of any previous Costa Rican records. Although Flora de Nicaragua describes C. schottii as “2-15 m de alto,“ Ulises's plant was an herb just 60 cm tall.

VITACEAE. This one is complicated. INBio botanical whiz and dentist Francisco Morales informs us that Costa Rican plants known as Cissus rhombifolia Vahl. since at least the time of Standley are now split among C. erosa Rich., C. microcarpa Vahl, C. obliqua Ruiz & Pav., & C. serrulatifolia L. O. Williams-this according to a recent Flora Neotropica Monographs contribution by Julio Antonio Lombardi [see The Cutting Edge 8(2): 10, Apr. 2001]. Cissus rhombifolia itself is a synonym of C. alata Jacq., reported by Lombardi only from South America Mexico and Panama. The last-mentioned sp. is apparently easy to recognize within the complex by virtue of its reflexed stipules and globose hairs. With the Flora de Nicaragua showing C. alata present just to the north, Costa Rica became one of those gaps-to-be-filled. Two 1990 collections by MO herbarium curator (and Vitaceae authority) James C. Solomon accomplish the task; both come from seasonally dry habitats along the Río Grande de Térraba.


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