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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 XI, Number 1, January 2004

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

SEASON'S PICK: Helianthemum glomeratum Lag. ex DC

Helianthemum glomeratum Lag. ex DC
photo © J. F. Morales
Helianthemum glomeratum Lag. ex DC
photo © J. F. Morales
Helianthemum glomeratum Lag. ex DC
photo © B. E. Hammel

This is Costa Rica's (and Central America's) only member of the small (ca. 8 genera, 200 spp.) family Cistaceae (Rock Rose). Most species of the family occur in the Old World, especially in the Mediterranean region, but with a few in North and South America. The family is a member of the Malvales and has been compared to Cochlospermaceae and Bixaceae, but may be more closely related to the dipterocarps-- see: Stevens, P.F. (2001 onwards). Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 4, May 2003 [and more or less continuously updated since]. http://www.mobot.org/MOBOT/research/APweb/)

The Rock Roses are a family of mostly small shrubs, well known in the horticultural trade for their rose-like but simple, often very colorfully patterned flowers, especially popular en England (see, e.g., http://www.cistuspage.org.uk/)

Helianthemum glomeratum is known in Costa Rica only from the highlands (1500-3500 m) of the central region of the country; the Cordillera Central and the northern part of the Cordillera de Talamanca, and is known also from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras--see Morales, J. F. (in prep.). In, B. E. Hammel, M. H. Grayum, C. Herrera, & N. Zamora (eds.), Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica. vol. IV. Dicotiledóneas (Acanthaceae-Clethraceae). Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard.

In the northern part of its range, this species is considered one of the most important plants in traditional medicine, for the remedy of diarrhea (see, e.g., http://ag.arizona.edu/OALS/ICBG/mexico/afecciones.html).

The above photos were taken from near Cerro Caraigres, along Fila Calera (AKA "Heartbreak Ridge"), at ca. 1700 m, and are vouchered by Morales 7425 and Hammel 22324. Thanks mucho to Francisco (Chico) Morales for suggesting this species and providing photos for this season's pick.

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