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Volume XIII, Number 1, January 2006
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Almeda, F. 2005. New taxa and new combinations in some Mexican and Central American
Melastomataceae. Novon 15: 503–518.
Four new taxa are described here, all in Miconia, with the following three occurring
in Costa Rica: Miconia commutata Almeda (also recorded from western Panama) and the
endemic M. danielii Almeda and M. tonduzii Cogn. var. hirtella Almeda.
Miconia commutata, collected in Costa Rica at the Estación Biológica La
Selva and the Península de Osa, is most similar to M. smaragdina Naudin, a sp. of
higher elevations. Miconia danielii, from 1300–2400 m elevation in the Cordilleras
Central and de Talamanca, is compared with M. coriacea (Sw.) DC. and M. cremadena
Gleason. The description of Miconia tonduzii var. hirtella, ranging from
2300–3000 m in the Cordilleras Central and de Talamanca and the Cerros de Escazú,
accompanies an overhaul of the infraspecific classification of M. tonduzii, "a
variable and puzzling species complex of southern Central America." The author pares
Cogniaux’s original six vars. down to just two, for a total (including var. hirtella)
of three. The sp. name is neotypified on the type of M. tonduzii var. furfuracea
Cogn., which thus becomes a synonym of the nominate var. (together with M. t. var.
cuneata Cogn. and M. t. var. latifolia Cogn.). Miconia tonduzii
var. serrulata Cogn. is maintained (with M. t. var. parvifolia Cogn.
in synonymy), while M. t. var. oblongifolia is relegated to the synonymy of
M. carnea Cogn. (which, it is implied, could eventually absorb all the remaining vars.
of M. tonduzii!). An undescribed entity, potentially a fourth var. of M. tonduzii
ranging from Nicaragua to Panama, is also discussed. Finally, Miconia sparrei Wurdack,
long known only from the holotype collected in Amazonian Ecuador, is reported from Costa Rica [see
also The Cutting Edge 8(2):
5–6, Apr. 2001] and Peru, and redescribed on the basis of the new material. All the new
taxa, as well as Miconia sparrei, are illustrated with superb composite line drawings.
From our perspective, the taxonomic innovations summarized above all represent formalizations
of changes that were already implemented in the author’s (with Gina Umaña
and Ricardo Kriebel) Manual draft treatment of Melastomataceae [see
The Cutting Edge 10(3):
3, Jul. 2003].
Azevedo, C. & C. van den Berg. 2005. (1705-1706) Proposals to conserve the name
Prescottia with that spelling and P. plantaginea against P. plantaginifolia
(Orchidaceae). Taxon 54: 1105–1106.
Only the first of these proposals interests us. Prescotia Lindl. was originally so spelled,
but was later amended to Prescottia by Lindley, to reflect the correct spelling of the
honoree’s surname. The latter spelling is the one that has been adopted in most major works,
including the Manual. Good work! Now we need similar conservation proposals, by dedicated orchidologists,
for Funkiella (vs. Funckiella), Schlimia (vs. Schlimmia), and
Warczewiczella (vs. Warscewiczella).
Barrington, D. S. 2005. Helechos de los páramos de Costa Rica. Pp. 375–395
in, M. Kappelle & S. P. Horn (eds.), Páramos de Costa Rica. Edit.
INBio, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica. 767 pp.
According to this source, the Costa Rican páramos harbor 25 genera of pteridophytes with a
total of 80 spp., 25 of which are endemic to Costa Rica and Panama (and 13 to Costa Rica alone). The
most sp.-rich genera are Elaphoglossum (12 spp.) and Huperzia (9 spp.), which together
account for 26% of the sp.-total. The affinities of the Costa Rican pteridoflora appear to be
predominantly Andean, as opposed to Mexican/Guatemalan. The diversity and distribution of the genera
is summarized in tabular form, and each genus is discussed separately (for the most part). A comprehensive
(though unvouchered) checklist, with overall altitudinal and geographic ranges, is featured as an
appendix. For additional information on this volume, see under Kappelle & Horn (this column).
Berry, P. E., A. L. Hipp, K. J. Wurdack, B. Van Ee & R. Riina. 2005. Molecular phylogenetics
of the giant genus Croton and tribe Crotoneae (Euphorbiaceae sensu stricto) using ITS and
trnL-trnF DNA sequence data. Amer. J. Bot. 92: 1520–1534.
Croton, with ca. 1225 spp., is one of 57 angiosperm genera with more than 500 spp. each,
together comprising ca. 15% of all extant angiosperm spp. This study deals mainly with infrageneric
phylogeny, which is largely beyond our scope. However, as suggested in another recent paper [see
The Cutting Edge 12(4): 13, Oct.
2005], it does result in the removal of a small group of spp. to a separate genus under the name
Astraea Klotzsch, as formalized by the validation of a new combination for a Brazilian sp.
[the name Astraea lobata (L.) Klotzsch is already available for the only affected Costa Rican
sp., formerly Croton lobatus L.]. Another occasional segregate, Julocroton (with
Croton argenteus L. in Costa Rica), is here retained in Croton.
Blanco, M. A. 2005. Un híbrido espontáneo entre Aristolochia gorgona
y A. grandiflora (Aristolochiaceae). Lankesteriana 5: 115–117.
In 2002, cultivated plants of the aptly named Aristolochia grandiflora Sw. and its recent
segregate, A. gorgona M. A. Blanco [see
The Cutting Edge 9(3): 4, Jul.
2002], flowered in close proximity at the Jardín Botánico Lankester in Costa Rica.
Seeds produced by the latter sp., and thought to have been the result of self-pollination, were
distributed to various institutions worldwide; however, plants raised from these seeds at FLAS, M, MO,
and PAC, as well as Lankester, proved to be interspecific hybrids, with flowers of intermediate
morphology (though more similar to those of A. grandiflora). The hybrid was vouchered by
herbarium specimens and color photos, the latter reproduced here, together with photos of flowers of
the two parent spp. from both frontal and lateral aspects (arguably the most valuable feature of this
paper). Previous records of hybridization in Aristolochia are discussed.
Brummitt, R. K. 2005. Report of the Committee for Spermatophyta: 57. Taxon 54: 1093–1103.
The following matters are of at least passing interest to us: a proposal to reject the name
Pentocnide Raf., which threatened Phenax (Urticaceae), is unanimously recommended;
a proposal to conserve Celastrus (Celastraceae) as having feminine gender is rejected, with
the recommendation that the name be conserved as having masculine gender (which has no bearing on the
sole Costa Rican sp., C. vulcanicola Donn. Sm.); a proposal to conserve the name Cordiaceae
against Ehretiaceae is rejected (for those of a mind to fragment Boraginaceae); the issue of whether
to conserve Wulffia (Asteraceae) against Tilesia remains unresolved (though a second
proposal to that effect was rejected by an insufficient margin); a proposal to conserve Ficus
americana Aubl. (Moraceae) against F. perforata L. is recommended, as is (unanimously)
a proposal to conserve Sesamum indicum L. (Pedaliaceae) against S. orientale L.; a
proposal to conserve Myrtus fragrans Sw. (Myrtaceae) with a conserved type is recommended
unanimously, preserving the name Myrcianthes fragrans (Sw.) McVaugh for a sp. that is well known
in Central America; a proposal to conserve Canna tuerckheimii Kraenzl. (Cannaceae) against
C. latifolia Mill. (and three other earlier synonyms) is recommended by the slimmest of margins,
preserving Manual usage; a proposal to reject the name Scirpus miliaceus L. (Cyperaceae) is
recommended unanimously, preserving the Manual usage of the name Fimbristylis littoralis
Gaudich.; and a proposal to conserve Chrysanthemum coronarium L. (Asteraceae) with a conserved
type is recommended (the previously designated type having been a specimen of C. segetum L.).
Christenson, E. A. 2005. Drei neue Stenorrhynchos-Arten/Three new species of
Stenorrhynchos. J. Orchideenfr. 12: 5–25.
Based on his study of literature, rather limited (or so it appears) herbarium material, and cultivated
plants, the author concludes that the name Stenorrhynchos speciosum (Jacq.) Rich. ex
Spreng. (Orchidaceae) correctly applies to a sp. restricted to the West Indies, and that said name has
been misapplied throughout Central and South America. We learn that material from the aforementioned
continental regions instead represents at least four distinct spp., of which three are here described
anew. Two of these new spp. occur (apparently or demonstrably) in Costa Rica, and should supersede S.
speciosum as per the Manual: Stenorrhynchos albidomaculatum Christenson and S.
glicensteinii Christenson. In the case of the former sp., actual herbarium specimens are cited only
from Venezuela and Colombia; however, the citation of three published illustrations (including a water
color and a black-and-white photograph) attests to the occurrence of the sp. in Costa Rica (with
"Río Birrís" the only locality mentioned). The author notes that S.
albidomaculatum "is undoubtedly what was described as" Spiranthes colorata
N. E. Br. var. maculata N. E. Br., but declines to elevate that name for pragmatic reasons.
Stenorrhynchos glicensteinii is said to range from "Mexico to Panama," but here
again, published illustrations figure prominently into that statement, with herbarium specimens cited
only from Mexico and Costa Rica. The lone Costa Rican specimen of S. glicensteinii is
"without locality data"; however, in the summary at the end of the paper, the author
asserts (based on cited literature) that "both Stenorrhynchos albidomaculatum and
Stenorrhynchos glicensteinii have been recorded" at Monteverde. Finally, the name
Stenorrhynchos millei Schltr. (synonymized under S. speciosum in the Manual) is
neotypified and resurrected for a rare Ecuadorean endemic sp.; S. millei was used for an
accepted sp. in Franco Pupulin’s Costa Rican orchid catalogue [see
The Cutting Edge 9(4):
10–11, Oct. 2002], no doubt misapplied to one of Christenson’s new spp. A dichotomous,
non-indented key is provided to separate the six spp. of what is termed the Stenorrhynchos
speciosum complex (represented in Central America only by the two new spp. mentioned above).
The key relies very heavily (in some couplets exclusively) on leaf markings, a character that has
proven highly unreliable in some other taxa—most notably, Dieffenbachia
(Araceae)—provoking rampant overdescription of spp. in early horticultural publications.
Illustrated with fine color photographs of drawings, herbarium specimens, and living plants,
variously depicting all six spp. in the complex. Fully bilingual (German/English).
Accepting Stenorrhynchos albidomaculatum and S. glicensteinii as bona fide
members of the Costa Rican flora, and with the addition of Scaphyglottis cernua (see under
Dressler, this column), our running total of new orchid spp. described from Costa Rica since 1993
has now risen to 221.
Denham, S. S. 2005. Revisión sistemática del subgénero
Harpostachys de Paspalum (Poaceae: Panicoideae: Paniceae). Ann. Missouri Bot.
Gard. 92: 463–532.
Previous phenetic and molecular-phylogenetic analyses [see, e.g.,
The Cutting Edge 10(1): 3,
Jan. 2003] have suggested that the smallish genus Thrasya (Poaceae) is nested within
the much larger Paspalum, from which it differs in its spikelets borne in a single
longitudinal row along the racemes (vs. two or four rows in Paspalum). Citing her own
(with Zuloaga) unpublished data, the author narrows the relationship to the informal
"Decumbentes" group of Paspalum, with which Thrasya is said to form
a monophyletic group characterized by the following synapomorphies: presence of axillary peduncles
in the ultimate leaf-sheath; second glume slightly exceeded by the spikelet; margins of the sterile
lemma folded over the fertile anthecium; and absence of papillae on the fertile anthecium. So
constituted, this group is here accorded formal taxonomic recognition under the name Paspalum
subgen. Harpostachys (Trin.) S. Denham, comb. nov. (based on Panicum sect.
Harpostachys Trin.), and promptly revised. The 39 accepted spp. of subgen.
Harpostachys are native only in tropical and subtropical regions of the New World, where
they are widespread. Nine spp. are definitely attributable to Costa Rica, including five that were
treated under Thrasya in Francisco Morales’s Manual account. Not
surprisingly, the transfer of these five spp. to Paspalum requires three nomina nova:
Paspalum calliferum S. Denham (based on Thrasya robusta Hitchc., not P.
robustum Link ex Steud.); P. foliiforme S. Denham [replacing Thrasya
petrosa (Trin.) Chase, not P. petrosum Swallen]; and P. procerum S. Denham
(based on Thrasya hitchcockii Chase, not P. hitchcockii Chase). New combinations
for the remaining two spp., Paspalum campylostachyum (Hack.) S. Denham [replacing
Thrasya campylostachya (Hack.) Chase] and P. trinitense (Mez) S. Denham (based on
Thrasya trinitensis Mez). Rounding out the Costa Rican complement of Paspalum subgen.
Harpostachys are the following members of the erstwhile "Decumbentes" group:
Paspalum botterii (E. Fourn.) Chase, P. decumbens Sw., P. nutans Lam.,
and P. pilosum Lam. Having gained five spp. as a result of the generic merger, Paspalum
(already the largest genus of Poaceae in Costa Rica) falls back one, as P. langei E. Fourn.,
accepted as distinct in the Manual, is newly synonymized under P. botterii (extending the
overall geographic range of the latter accordingly). Paspalum variabile (E. Fourn.) Nash,
of northern Mesoamerica, is mapped as occurring in Costa Rica, based on an old literature record that
we believe to be erroneous.
Features full synonymy and typology, rigorous descriptions at all levels (including genus), keys to
the subgenera of Paspalum and to the spp. of subgen. Harpostachys, distribution
summaries, often extensive discussions, specimen citations (mostly representative), distribution maps,
superb composite line drawings of selected spp., a section on excluded spp. (just one), and indices
to exsiccatae and scientific names. The introductory part addresses taxonomic history, important
morphological and anatomical characters (illustrated with black-and-white photographs, including
photomicrographs), and distribution.
Dressler, R. L. 2004. Der Scaphyglottis pulchella Komplex/The Scaphyglottis
pulchella complex. J. Orchideenfr. 11: 305–315.
Critical field studies by Manual Orchidaceae coordinator Robert L. Dressler lead
to the resolution of two new spp. from material previously lumped under the name Scaphyglottis
pulchella (Schltr.) L. O. Williams. Just one of these is known from Costa Rica: Scaphyglottis
cernua Dressler, which differs from S. pulchella s. str. (also occurring in Costa Rica)
by its slightly smaller, pendent, partially closed flowers with the column abruptly expanded distally.
The author observes that "it is easy to see why pressed specimens were not distinguished."
Noting that "the representation of this group in herbaria is still very poor," he cites just
two specimens of S. cernua: the Costa Rican holotype (from near 1000 m elevation near Cachí,
along the Río Grande de Orosi) and a paratype from western Panama. Also briefly discussed is puzzling
Panamanian material potentially representing two undescribed new spp. Features a dichotomous, non-indented
key to the members of the Scaphyglottis pulchella complex, deliberately interpreted "quite
broadly" so as to include, e.g., S. sessiliflora B. R. Adams, S. spathulata C.
Schweinf., and S. tenella L. O. Williams. Illustrated with excellent composite line drawings
depicting flowers of the two new spp., as well as S. pulchella, plus color photos from life of
these and other related spp. Fully bilingual (German/English).
-- . 2005. Haarige, gepunktete Ponthievas, aber nicht notwendigerweise Ponthieva maculata
und zwei neue Arten aus Ekuador/Hairy ponthievas, spotted, but not necessarily Ponthieva maculata
and two new species from Ecuador. J. Orchideenfr. 12: 130–139.
We obviously don’t care about the new Ecuadorian spp., but have some interest in the section
dealing with Ponthieva maculata Lindl. (Orchidaceae), a name that has been much used (misused,
as it turns out) in Central America. The real P. maculata is now regarded as strictly South
American, while Central American material previously so named actually represents two distinct spp.,
P. brenesii Schltr. and P. formosa Schltr. This situation was already presented correctly
in the author’s Manual treatment, and tentatively resolved well before that [see
The Cutting Edge 5(4): 6, Oct.
1998], but this will stand as the definitive elucidation. A key to the Central American members of the
Ponthieva maculata complex (and including P. maculata for comparison) transcends the
relevant Manual couplet, and a lengthy and illuminating discussion provides valuable historical and field
insights. All three spp. are illustrated with color photos of living material. Fully bilingual
-- & J. Folsom. 2005. (1707) Proposal to reject the name Cymbidium muricatum
(Orchidaceae). Taxon 54: 1106–1107
Cymbidium muricatum Sw. is the basionym of Dichaea muricata (Sw.) Lindl., a name that
has been applied indiscriminately to a variety of spp. including, in Costa Rica, D. cryptarrhena
Rchb. f. ex Kraenzl. and D. morrisii Fawc. & Rendle. Based on their interpretation
of Swartz’s original description, the authors lectotypify C. muricatum on a specimen
representing D. morrisii. This would mean that the latter name must fall into synonymy under
D. muricata; however, to avoid confusion, the authors immediately propose rejection of
C. muricatum. Incidentally, the name Dichaea muricata was not used for any accepted
sp. in Robert L. Dressler’s Manual treatment, but was used, in the sense of this
new lectotypification (with D. morrisii in synonymy), in Franco Pupulin’s
catalogue of Costa Rican orchids [see
The Cutting Edge 9(4): 10–11, Oct. 2002].
Gómez-Laurito, J. 2005. Utricularia uxoris (Lentibulariaceae), una nueva
especie costarricense de la sect. Orchidioides. Lankesteriana 5: 137–139.
Utricularia sect. Orchidioides A. DC. comprises mainly cloud-forest spp., very
different from the Utricularia spp. familiar to North American botanists by virtue of their
epiphytic habit, simple, entire leaves, and comparatively large flowers that (as the name suggests)
strikingly resemble those of some Orchidaceae. Utricularia uxoris Gómez-Laur. stands out
among the Costa Rican spp. of this group in having flowers with a green calyx and corolla and a white
spur. To date, it is known only from the type locality, at 1050–1150 m elevation in the Reserva
Biológica El Copal, on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca northeast of Parque
Nacional Tapantí. This is the 11th Utricularia sp. for Costa Rica, and we will have to
scramble to accommodate it in Garrett E. Crow’s (NHA) Manual Lentibulariaceae
treatment, already through the final stages of editing and slated for imminent publication. Illustrated
with a superb composite line drawing by Diego Bogarín.
Graham, S. A., J. Hall, K. Sytsma & S. Shi. 2005. Phylogenetic analysis of the Lythraceae
based on four gene regions and morphology. Int. J. Pl. Sci. 166: 995–1017.
These analyses reveal that, in order to be monophyletic, Lythraceae must include Punica
(sparingly cultivated in Costa Rica), as well as other genera often referred to separate families, e.g.,
Sonneratia and Trapa. This suits us well, as Punica is discussed under the
family heading in Armando Estrada’s Manual Lythraceae treatment.
Hammel, B. E. & N. Zamora. 2005. Pleodendron costaricense (Canellaceae), a new
species for Costa Rica. Lankesteriana 5: 211–218.
We finally have a name for this vanishingly rare endemic, the discovery of which was first announced
in this rag fully seven years ago [see
The Cutting Edge 6(1): 4, Jan. 1999]. How can it be that time passes so quickly? Still, Pleodendron
costaricense N. Zamora, Hammel & Aguilar remains known by just nine collections from three different
sites in tropical wet forest on the Pacific slope; more soberingly, it is known by only three
individuals—two reproductive adults and a sapling—none of which grows in a protected area.
The adults occur in rather widely separate, roadside situations (one near Parrita, the other on the
Península de Osa), and while both produce abundant fruits with seed, just one seedling has been
found in the wild and the authors have been unable to induce germination. Thus the future for this sp.
looks bleak, to say the least, although the first critically important conservation
prerequisites—recognition and naming—have now been accomplished.
Pleodendron costaricense becomes the first Mesoamerican spp. of its genus [the only other,
P. macranthum (Baill.) Tiegh., being Puerto Rican], and only the second Mesoamerican representative
of Canellaceae [with Canella winterana (L.) Gaertn. occurring on the Yucatán Peninsula, as
well as the Greater Antilles]. The new sp. differs from Pleodendron macranthum in its much shorter
peduncles and petals, in addition to its "quite different" fruits (we gather that they are a
bit larger and more glaucous). Floral differences among the various genera of Canellaceae are tabularized.
Illustrated with photos of living material, as well as an excellent composite line drawing by Manual artist
Hassan, N. S., J. Thiede & S. Liede-Schumann. 2005. Phylogenetic analysis of Sesuvioideae
(Aizoaceae) inferred from nrDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences and morphological data. Pl.
Syst. Evol. 255: 121–143.
Both Sesuvium and Trianthema emerge as paraphyletic, with respect to the minor
genera Cypselea and Zaleya, respectively; however, even the splitting option would
entail no significant consequences for us, because Sesuvium portulacastrum (L.) L. and
Trianthema portulacastrum L., the only members of the group occurring in Costa Rica, are the
type spp. of their respective genera.
Higgins, W. E. 2005. Systematics and the segregation of Encyclia. Pp. 134–140
in, H. Nair & J. Arditti (eds.), Proceedings of the 17th World Orchid Conference 2002.
Natural History Publ. (Borneo), Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. 428 pp.
Here we get the molecular-based cladistic evidence for the recent division of Encyclia into
six smaller genera, including Oestlundia [see
The Cutting Edge 9(1): 6, Jan.
2002] and Prosthechea [see
The Cutting Edge 5(2): 4, Apr. 1998] We learn that an Encyclia s. l.,
that would subsume four of these segregate genera (including both of the last-mentioned ones), is perfectly
tenable on cladistic grounds. Still, the author defends his narrow concept of Encyclia as
"more predictive, based on the morphological characteristics." And you thought subjectivity
had been eliminated from systematics? Features a tabular morphological comparison of the four
Kappelle, M. & S. P. Horn (eds.). 2005. Páramos de Costa Rica . Edit.
INBio, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica. 767 pp.
Combined, ecologist Maarten Kappelle (currently of The Nature Conservancy) and
paleoecologist Sally Horn (TENN) have 35 years of experience working in the Costa Rican
páramos. This monumental effort, their joint venture, accomplishes at least as much for the
páramo habitat as Kappelle’s landmark 1996 solo contribution [see
The Cutting Edge 4(2): 5, Apr.
1997] did for Costa Rican oak forests: it is (to rob from our earlier review) the definitive study.
One of the most erudite works yet published by Editorial INBio, this effort involves, as contributors,
such international luminaries as Antoine M. Cleef (AMD), Luis Diego
Gómez, S. Rob Gradstein (GOET), Henry Hooghiemstra
(AMD), Gerald A. Islebe (CIQR), James L. Luteyn (NY), Jay M.
Savage (SDSU), Harrie J. M. Sipman (B), and Focko Weberling
(ULM), not to mention the editors themselves. The book is divided into seven main parts (each with
three to seven articles), as follows: "Parte 1. Aspectos Generales" (including a description
and definition of "páramo" and a history of exploration of the Costa Rican
páramos); "Parte 2. Aspectos Físicos"; "Parte 3. Aspectos
Paleoecológicos y Biogeográficos"; "Parte 4. Aspectos de Biodiversidad: Hongos
y Plantas"; "Parte 5. Aspectos de Biodiversidad: Animales"; "Parte 6. Aspectos
de Biodiversidad: Ecosistemas"; and "Parte 7. Aspectos de Conservación y Desarrollo
Sostenible." Of course, we are most interested in "Parte 4," particularly the articles
on ferns and flowering plants, which are reviewed separately in this column (see under Barrington and
Vargas & Sánchez, respectively). Throughout, this volume is generously spiced with a variety
of graphs, charts, tables, maps, and black-and-white photos (including several of significant historical
interest); at the end are found 33 pages of color photos and maps. All of the articles are in Spanish
(with both Spanish and English abstracts), and each has its own list of bibliographic references.
This book is dedicated to the memory of the late Adelaida Chaverri [see
The Cutting Edge 11(3): 3, Jul.
2004], one of the foremost students of Costa Rican páramos, and a co-author of several articles
contained herein. Her publications are compiled in an appendix.
Kriebel, R. & A. Rodríguez. 2005. Revisión del género Dichapetalum
(Dichapetalaceae) en Costa Rica. Lankesteriana 5: 121–136.
This rigorous account accepts 14 spp. of Dichapetalum for Costa Rica, more than double the
total of six treated in the first Manual draft of Dichapetalaceae submitted long ago by Ghillean
T. Prance [see The
Cutting Edge 2(2): 3, Apr. 1995]. Several of the additions and other changes
have been effected by Prance himself during the intervening years [see, e.g.,
The Cutting Edge 4(3): 10, Jul.
1997]. Most of the others can be chalked up to this wholly original contribution, including two new
spp.: Dichapetalum inopinatum Al. Rodr. & Kriebel, known definitely only by the type from
Parque Nacional Tortuguero; and Dichapetalum reliquum Kriebel & Al. Rodr., from 600–1300 m
elevation in the southern Fila Costeña and the Pacific slope of the Valle Central. Both new spp. are
scandent, with D. inopinatum compared to D. grayumii Prance and D. hammelii Prance
and D. reliquum to D. nevermannianum Standl. & J. Valerio. The following spp., all
principally South American, are reported for the first time from Costa Rica: Dichapetalum nervatum
Cuatrec. (50–750 m, Atlantic slope of Cordillera de Guanacaste and Llanura de Tortuguero); D.
odoratum Baill. (1360–1500 m, Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca); and D.
rugosum (Vahl) Prance (50–400 m, Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca and Llanura de
Tortuguero). A Costa Rica specimen of the last-named sp. had been recently identified by Prance, and the
same is true of Dichapetalum pedunculatum (DC.) Baill. (400–1200 m, Atlantic slope of the
Cordillera Central and northern Cordillera de Talamanca), already attributed to Costa Rica by Prance in
Flora de Nicaragua Vol. 1 (2001: 801). Features a genus description, a dichotomous, indented key
to spp., and alphabetically ordered sp. entries with full synonymy and typology, generous descriptions
and discussions, distribution summaries, and comprehensive specimen citations. The two new spp. are
illustrated with composite line drawings by INBio’s Claudia Aragón.
Lombardi, J. A. 2005. Three new species of Vitaceae from Mesoamerica. Novon 15: 562–567.
Cissus patellicalyx Lombardi is endemic to Costa Rica, and the only one of these novelties that
concerns us. Collected just twice, the new sp. ranges from 1250–1400 m elevation on both slopes of
the Cordillera de Talamanca. It is compared with C. tiliacea Kunth (of northern Mesoamerica) and
C. verticillata (L.) Nicolson & C. E. Jarvis, but differs from both inter alia in its
malpighiaceous (vs. unbranched) trichomes and patelliform (vs. cotyliform) calyces. If accepted by Manual
Vitaceae contributor Francisco Morales (INB), this new entity would push the Costa Rican
sp. total for Cissus to 15. Illustrated with a composite line drawing.
Luteyn, J. L. & R. L. Wilbur. 2005. Family #172 Ericaceae. In W. Burger (ed.),
Flora costaricensis. Fieldiana, Bot. n. s., 45: 1–107.
According to the handy historical summary presented in the Introduction (p. v), this contribution
represents the 12th installment of the groundbreaking and authoritative Flora costaricensis
series, ending a five-year hiatus [see
The Cutting Edge 7(3): 4, Jul. 2000]. Here treated in full are 93 spp. and four infraspecific taxa
of Ericaceae in 21 genera; however, because of the authors’ inclination to observe biogeographical
rather than political boundaries, these totals include 22 spp. and one var.—as well as two genera,
Bejaria and Orthaea—that occur in western Panama but have not been found in
Costa Rica. Deleting these elements, this account agrees in all critical details with the latest
Manual draft for Ericaceae [see
The Cutting Edge 11(2): 2, Apr. 2004] which, after all, involved the same authors (in addition to
INBio’s Francisco Morales). By far the most sp.-rich ericaceous genus in Costa
Rica is Cavendishia, with 22 spp. and two infraspecific taxa, followed distantly by
Vaccinium, with nine spp. Nineteen (and perhaps 20) spp., one subsp., and two vars. are
Costa Rican endemics, as is the monospecific genus Utleya. Three spp. (including one of
the hypotheticals) are designated by provisional or unvalidated names. No cultivated spp. are
treated formally, though the Asian Rhododendron simsii Planch. appears in the key to
Features dichotomous (though non-indented) keys, very detailed descriptions at all levels, generous
discussions, and (at the end) an extensive list of cited references and a combined index to scientific
names, common names, and scientific terms. Tables are employed to compare critical characters in three
sp. complexes. New to the series is a boldfaced indication of the conservation status for each sp.
("Endangered," "Widespread," etc.). These terms are defined in the lengthy and
quite interesting family discussion, which is informed and enriched by the authors’ profound field
knowledge of neotropical Ericaceae. Well illustrated with two composite figures (by NY artist
Bobbi Angell), showing taxonomically important staminal details, and 13 composite
figures (by series editor William Burger), depicting fertile branches of most of the
sp. treated. Reference is also made to the first author’s Web site
(http://www.nybg.org/bsci/res/lut2/), which presents color
photos of many Costa Rican Ericaceae.
Morales, J. F. 2005. Estudios en las Apocynaceae neotropicales XIX: la familia Apocynaceae
s. str. (Apocynoideae, Rauvolfioideae) en Costa Rica. Darwiniana 43: 90–191.
This is a sumptuous account of the Costa Rican members of Apocynaceae, in the traditional sense
(excluding Asclepiadaceae) that will endure in Vol. 4 of the Manual, still several years down the
road. Chico’s first Manual draft, submitted more than 11(!) years ago [see
The Cutting Edge 1(4): 3, Oct. 1994], treated 78 spp. of Apocynaceae s. str. in 32 genera, and
little has since changed: now we have 80 spp. in 30 genera. Our most diverse genus is Stemmadenia
(9 spp.), followed by Prestonia, Rauvolfia, and Tabernaemontana (each with 7
spp., though one Tabernaemontana is a cultivated exotic). Seven spp. qualify as Costa Rican
endemics (down from 11 in 1994), while eight spp. and four genera (Beaumontia,
Catharanthus, Nerium, Vinca) are known strictly or principally in
cultivation. No new taxon names or combinations are validated here, but we find at least one notable
innovation: the familiar name Stemmadenia obovata K. Schum. is deemed illegitimate and
replaced by S. pubescens Benth., with two names of equal priority, S. glabra
Benth. and S. mollis Benth., relegated to synonymy (presumably establishing a precedent in
this regard). The author generally opts for broad generic circumscriptions, e.g., with
Bonafousia, Peschiera, and Stenosolen (each accepted in Chico’s first
draft and represented by a single sp. in Costa Rica) subsumed within Tabernaemontana and
Cascabela included in Thevetia. Features rigorous descriptions at all levels, keys
(unfortunately, non-indented) to genera and spp., and, for each sp., a distribution summary, list
(usually representative) of specimens studied, and (in most cases) a brief discussion
("Observaciones"). Common names and uses are also enumerated, whenever such information
is available. Most spp. are depicted in at least one excellent photograph. The introductory part,
also photographically illustrated, addresses important aspects of morphology and terminology. At
the end we get an extensive bibliography, plus indices to exsiccatae, scientific names, and common
names. This is as good as it gets: a floristic treatment that positively resonates with authority,
by a worker with a long and intimate familiarity with his group in both the field and herbarium.
-- & J. K. Williams. 2005. Una nueva combinación en el género
Allotoonia (Apocynaceae, Apocynoideae, Echiteae). Lankesteriana 5: 119–120.
The combination Allotoonia woodsoniana (Monach.) J. F. Morales & J. K. Williams,
based on Echites woodsonianus Monach., is validated to replace the illegitimate A.
parviflora J. F. Morales & J. K. Williams [see
The Cutting Edge 12(1):
10–11, Jan. 2005].
Nesom, G. L. & J. F. Pruski. 2005. (1704) Proposal to conserve the name
Gnaphalium purpureum (Compositae: Gnaphalieae) with a conserved type.
Taxon 54: 1103–1104.
Gnaphalium purpureum L. is the basionym of Gamochaeta purpurea (L.) Cabrera,
a mainly North American sp. not recorded from Costa Rica. However, its lectotype appears to
represent Gamochaeta americana (Mill.) Wedd., a widespread neotropical sp. that is
common in the Costa Rican mountains. To maintain current nomenclature, the authors propose to
conserve G. purpureum with a different type (also selected from the original material)
that accords with the prevailing modern application of the name. Were this proposal to be
rejected, then the name Gamochaeta purpurea would replace G. americana for
our Costa Rican plants.
Ojeda, I., G. Carnevali Fernández-Concha & G. A. Romero-González. 2005.
New species and combinations in Heterotaxis Lindley (Orchidaceae: Maxillariinae). Novon
Citing recent DNA-sequence analyses that allegedly portray the massive genus Maxillaria
as "grossly polyphyletic," the authors pursue the dismemberment of that taxon by
championing the reinstatement of Heterotaxis, corresponding to a monophyletic, basal
clade of Maxillaria s. l. said to be more closely related to Cryptocentrum,
Mormolyca, and Ornithidium Salisb. (also perhaps slated for reinstatement)
than to "core" Maxillaria. Heterotaxis, with about 11 spp. ranging
throughout the Neotropics, is characterized by short rhizomes and oblong, laterally compressed,
unifoliate pseudobulbs "subtended by various leaf-bearing sheaths" (doesn’t
that make them multifoliate?), and fleshy, basically yellow to orange-red flowers. The two new
spp. described here do not interest us, but two of the six new combinations do: Heterotaxis
maleolens (Schltr.) Ojeda & Carnevali and H. valenzuelana (A. Rich.) Ojeda
& Carnevali both occur in Costa Rica, and were treated (using the same epithets) under
Maxillaria in John T. Atwood’s Manual account of the latter
genus. Rounding out the Costa Rican complement of Heterotaxis is H. crassifolia
Lindl., the generic type, included in the Manual under the name Maxillaria crassifolia
(Lindl.) Rchb. f.
Rojas Alvarado, A. F. 2005. Novedades en Huperzia Bernh. (Lycopodiaceae) de
Costa Rica. Lankesteriana 5: 109–113.
The Costa Rican endemic Huperzia oellgaardii A. Rojas sp. nov. is based on six
collections, from 1800–2900 m elevation on both slopes of the Cordillera Central and the
Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca. It is characterized as intermediate in aspect
between H. taxifolia (Sw.) Trevis. and H. tubulosa (Maxon) B. Øllg.,
differing from both in its broader leaves. Also reported from Costa Rica are Huperzia
chiricana (Maxon) Holub (two collections from 3100–3400 m on Volcán Turrialba)
and H. lancifolia (Maxon) Holub (two collectons from 1600–1900 m on both slopes
of the Cordillera de Talamanca). Both were deemed Panamanian endemics in Flora
mesoamericana Vol. 1 (1995), though a Costa Rican collection of H. lancifolia had
been previously cited by Lellinger (Pteridologia 2A: 37. 1989). All three featured spp. are
illustrated by photos of exsiccatae.
Schulte, K., R. Horres & G. Zizka. 2005. Molecular phylogeny of Bromelioideae and
its implications on biogeography and the evolution of CAM in the family. Senckenberg. Biol. 85:
This is a preliminary and inconclusive study that leaves the "core Bromelioideae"
poorly resolved. That said, the picture does not look promising for Aechmea, with spp.
"scattered [all] over" the core region.
Stevens, W. D. 2005. New and interesting milkweeds (Apocynaceae, Asclepiadoideae).
Novon 15: 602–619.
Eight new spp. (all in Matelea) and four new combinations are here validated, and 11
new typfications are proposed. Of greatest interest to us are the three new spp. that occur (all
endemically) in Costa Rica. Matelea corrugata W. D. Stevens, from 50–1200 m in the
Cordillera de Tilarán and Península de Osa, is "not clearly related to any
other Mesoamerican species." Matelea costaricensis W. D. Stevens, from
1500–2000 m in the Cordilleras Central and de Talamanca and the Cerros de Escazú,
and M. haberi W. D. Stevens, from 750–1550 m in the Cordilleras de Guanacaste and
de Tilarán, are both compared to M. pinguifolia (Standl.) Woodson and M.
pseudobarbata (Pittier) Woodson. The only new combination that concerns us is Polystemma
guatemalense (Schltr.) W. D. Stevens, based on Labidostelma guatemalense Schltr.,
for a sp. hitherto known in Costa Rica by its basionym or, more commonly, by the synonym
Matelea quirosii (Standl.) Woodson. (Incidentally, the Matelea segregate
Polystemma presently comprises just two spp., but "about 18 additional Mexican
species" are soon to be appended.) None of the new typifications appears to impact the
Costa Rican flora in any way, although at least one (Gonolobus barbatus Kunth) involves
a sp. occurring in the country. All the new spp. are illustrated, either by a scanned image of
the holotype (Matelea corrugata, M. costaricensis) or an excellent composite
line drawing (M. haberi) by Alba Arbeláez (MO).
--. 2005. Novelties in Cynanchum L., sensu Woodson, in Mesoamerica. Novon 15:
Cynanchum "sensu Woodson" (Apocynaceae, Asclepiadoideae) was a hodgepodge
that included at least six genera now generally accepted as distinct, viz., Cynanchum s.
str., Ditassa, Metalepis, Metastelma, Orthosia, and
Tassadia [see e.g.
The Cutting Edge 10(1): 7, Jan. 2003]. Embracing this more finely divided (though still not
fully resolved) classification, the author goes one step further in describing a new genus,
Liedea W. D. Stevens, distinct from related elements of Cynanchum s. l.
(for which the genus name Scyphostelma Baill. is available) in its growth habit,
stem indument, and inflorescence architecture. The new genus is monotypic at birth, with only
Liedea filisepala (Standl.) W. D. Stevens comb. nov. [based on Metastelma
filisepalum Standl.; syn. Cynanchum filisepalum (Standl.) L. O.Williams], a
high-climbing liana ranging from 900–1500 m in Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador; however,
"the generic description is prepared to accommodate several apparently undescribed species
from northern South America." In Costa Rica, L. filisepala is known mainly (if not
exclusively) from the Cordillera de Tilarán. Eleven additional new spp. are described here,
in Cynanchum s. str., Metastelma, and Orthosia, but the only one of
interest to us is Orthosia extra-axillaris W. D. Stevens, a Costa Rican endemic occurring
at 2300–3200 m elevation in the Cordilleras Central and de Talamanca. Likewise, of the three
new combinations that are validated, we care only about Orthosia glaberrima (Woodson) W.
D. Stevens (based on Metastelma glaberrimum Woodson), which applies to the widespread,
montane sp. that has been known variously as Cynanchum glaberrimum (Woodson) L. O.
Williams (Flora of Panama) or Orthosia sp. A (Flora de Nicaragua),
or by the misapplied name Cynanchum sepium (Decne.) Standl. (Flora of Guatemala).
All the new spp. are illustrated with scanned images of herbarium specimens.
In his discussions under new Metastelma spp. not found in Costa Rica, the author’s
sententious commentary reveals valuable new insights on the Costa Rican members of that genus.
According to the recent regional revision of Liede and Meve [see
The Cutting Edge 11(2): 9,
Apr. 2004], Metastelma is represented in Costa Rica by two taxa: M. barbigerum
Scheele var. liesnerianum (L. O. Williams) Liede & Meve, also occurring disjunctly in
northern Mesoamerica; and M. pedunculare Decne., ranging northward to Guatemala. Stevens
rejects this taxonomy on all counts, treating both Costa Rican taxa as endemics, the former under
the name Metastelma liesnerianum (L. O. Williams) Liede, the latter as M. sepicola
Pittier (cited in the synonymy of M. pedunculare by Liede and Meve). Explicit rationale
for these positions is provided.
Szlachetko, D. L. 2003. Senghasia, eine neue Gattung der Zygopetaleae. J.
Orchideenfr. 10: 332–344.
We have been aware of this paper since being informed of it a few years back by our pal
Mario Blanco (FLAS), but had not been able to lay our hands on a copy of the
obscure German hobbyist journal in which it appears (though parts of it are available on the Web).
But now the MO library has managed to obtain some back issues and a new subscription, so
we’re good to go (see also under Christenson and Dresssler, this column). Getting back to
the issue at hand: Polish orchidologist Darius Szlachetko, seemingly on a mission
to cut every orchid genus down to some optimal size, here elevates Kefersteinia sect.
Umbonatae Senghas & G. Gerlach to generic rank on the basis of a few labellar details,
without the benefit of any sort of phylogenetic analysis or rationale. The resulting
Senghasia Szlach. comprises 12 spp., ranging from Nicaragua to Peru, for which new
combinations are duly provided. Those germane to Costa Rica are Senghasia costaricensis
(Schltr.) Szlach., S. parvilabris (Schltr.) Szlach., S. retanae (G. Gerlach)
Szlach., and S. wercklei (Schltr.) Szlach., all with basionyms in Kefersteinia
(under which they were treated in the Manual). A dichotomous, non-indented key distinguishes all
12 spp. Illustrated with color photos of living material and tinted(!) composite line drawings
of floral details for selected spp.
Vargas, G. & J. Joaquín Sánchez. 2005. Plantas con flores de los
páramos de Costa Rica y Panamá: el páramo ístmico. Pp. 397–435
in, M. Kappelle & S. P. Horn (eds.), Páramos de Costa Rica. Edit.
INBio, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica. 767 pp.
The core of this contribution is a comprehensive, meticulously vouchered and annotated checklist
of the angiosperms recorded from the páramos of Costa Rica and Panama, presented as an
appendix. The annotations indicate, for each sp., regional distribution (both altitudinal and
geographic), phenology (both flowering and fruiting), and overall geographic distribution.
Páramo, for the purposes of this paper, is defined as "un tipo de vegetación
sin árboles que se encuentra sobre 3.000 ms.n.m." Analysis of the checklist reveals
a total of 416 angiosperm spp. (121 monocots, 295 dicots) in the habitat so delimited, representing
216 genera (53 monocots, 163 dicots) and 72 families (11 monocots, 61 dicots). Four genera
(Jessea, Laestadia, Talamancalia, and Westoniella; all
Asteraceae) are claimed as endemic to the study region (we think the authors forgot a fifth,
Iltisia), as well as 146 spp. (i.e., 35.1% of the sp.-total, comprising the largest of
six distribution patterns discerned by the authors). By far the most sp.-rich families are
Asteraceae and Poaceae, with 73 and 52 spp., respectively; these families also harbor the most
endemic spp., with 45 and 14, respectively (followed closely by Cyperaceae, with 13). Genera with
the most spp. are Ageratina (Asteraceae), Festuca (Poaceae), and
Lachemilla (Rosaceae), with eight apiece; those with the most endemics (six spp. each)
are Ageratina, Westoniella, and Telipogon (Orchidaceae). The dominant
angiosperm spp. in the páramos of Costa Rica and Panama (here dubbed "el
páramo ístmico") are either endemic or of Andean origin. The most diverse
páramos in the region are Cerro Chirripó and Cerro de La Muerte, each with at least
60% of the regional sp.-total, while the least diverse are Cerro Echandi and Cerro Fábrega,
each with less than 15%; of course, these figures could well be artifacts of relative collecting
intensity (as acknowledged by the authors). Only 86 angiosperm spp. reach the highest summit in
the study region (Cerro Chirripó, 3819 m), and just 127 are restricted to elevations above
3000 m. These latter spp. (of which 50 are endemic to the region) are regarded as páramo
indicators and enumerated in a separate table. The most wide-ranging sp. altitudinally is the
exotic Sonchus oleraceus L. (Asteraceae), the only angiosperm to run the table in Costa
Rica (0–3819 m). Flowering and fruiting peaks in the study region occur in both March and
August, among the driest or wettest (respectively) months of the year. For additional information
on this volume, see under Kappelle & Horn (this column).
Whitten, W. M., N. H. Williams, R. L. Dressler, G. Gerlach & F. Pupulin. 2005. Generic
relationships of Zygopetalinae (Orchidaceae: Cymbidieae): combined molecular evidence. Lankesteriana
Separate and combined analyses of DNA sequence data from both nuclear and plastid regions of 104
ingroup and two outgroup taxa provide strong support for the monophyly of orchid subtribe
Zygopetalinae, as well as many of its genera, viz., Chaubardiella, Chondroscaphe,
Dichaea, Huntleya, Kefersteinia, and Warczewiczella. However,
Chondrorhyncha, despite the pre-Manual removal of Chondroscaphe, remains highly
polyphyletic, leading to the segregation herein of six new monophyletic genera. Two of the latter
are represented among the four spp. treated under Chondrorhyncha in the Manual:
Daiotyla (with Chondrorhyncha albicans Rolfe) and Stenotyla [with C.
lankesteriana Pupulin and C. picta (Rchb. f.) Senghas]. Chondrorhyncha
reichenbachiana Schltr. is transferred to the existing genus Benzingia Dodson.
Chondrorhyncha crassa Dressler, discovered in Costa Rica during the post-Manual era [see
The Cutting Edge 11(2):
12, Apr. 2004], belongs to Daiotyla, while C. helleri Fowlie and C.
lendyana Rchb. f., mentioned in the Manual as dubiously reported from Costa Rica, are
members of Stenotyla. Thus, as anticipated [see
The Cutting Edge 8(1): 4,
Jan. 2001], the name Chondrorhyncha, in the sense of its type, is definitively purged
from the Costa Rican flora (though the type sp. itself was not included in this study). All the
indicated new taxa and combinations are validated in the name of Dressler alone. Features a key
(non-indented) to the genera of the "Chondrorhyncha complex."
Yamane, K. & T. Kawahara. 2005. Intra- and interspecific phylogenetic relationships
among diploid Triticum-Aegilops species (Poaceae) based on base-pair substitutions,
indels, and microsatellites in chloroplast noncoding sequences. Amer. J. Bot. 92: 1887–1898.
The only result of this study of interest us concerns the position of Secale, which
appears nested within Triticum. However, the authors waffle on this and consider
Secale to be "part of an unresolved basal polytomy," and that "more
extensive studies are needed to clarify the phylogeny" of the group. Both Secale
and Triticum have been found very rarely naturalized or escaped in Costa Rica.
Zimmer, B. 2005. Report of the Committee for Pteridophyta: 15. Taxon 54: 831–832
A proposal to reject the name Acrostichum ebeneum L. (Pteridaceae) is rejected as
superfluous, since the same purpose has been served by recent changes in the Code that uphold the
earliest typification of the name. Said purpose was to restore the name Pityrogramma
tartarea (Cav.) Maxon for the sp. that we (and many others) have, in good faith, been
calling P. ebenea (L.) Proctor for the past 15+ years. However, in typical fashion,
the Committee subverts its agenda to foster nomenclatural stability by leaving the door open
for "a proposal to the opposite effect of the present one" (i.e., that would seek to
maintain P. ebenea). Bottom line: there is no end in sight, nor does there seem to exist
any provision to impose an end-point, in any of these situations.
Zuchowski, W. 2005. A guide to tropical plants of Costa Rica. Distrib.
Zona Tropical, Miami, FL. 529 pp.
Our good friend Willow Zuchowski has lived for more than 20 years in Costa Rica,
based at Monteverde with her husband, the entomologist and legendary botanical collector
William A. Haber (also our colleague at MO). Willow’s unique combination
of non-stop field immersion, botanical expertise, and artistic skills has come to full fruition
in this new field guide, beautifully and professionally executed to the highest of standards.
Her challenge was "to produce a book that would both contain enough species to be useful
and be small enough to carry into the field"; on both counts, she has succeeded admirably.
We cannot sum up the contents any better than Willow has herself, on p. 9: "[This book] is
an introduction to the common and conspicuous plants that both visitors to and residents of Costa
Rica might observe in their travels around the country, and its organization reflects the
different contexts in which people may encounter these plants. More than 430 plants are included
and illustrated with a photograph [by Turid Forsyth] and/or a pen and ink
illustration [by Willow]. Each species account describes a plant’s identifying
characteristics and presents interesting facts about its natural history, chemical properties,
and medicinal and other uses. Sidebars dispersed throughout the book take the narrative beyond
individual species to focus on groups of plants, unusual uses for plants, and other topics of
The selection and sequencing of the "different contexts" is inspired. Chapter 1
("Painted Treetops") deals with flowering trees, the first Costa Rican plants that
mosts ecotourists will notice as they taxi from the airport into San José, especially in
the dry season (the peak period for ecotourism). Chapters 2–5 focus on other conspicuous
and/or important wayside plants, viz., "Other Common Trees," "Roadside and Garden
Ornaments," "Fruits and Crops," and "Living Fences and Reforestation,"
respectively. Other, mostly native plant spp. of primary and weedy habitats are considered in
Chapters 6–8: according to habitat in Chapter 6 ("Special Habitats") and by
taxon in Chapters 7 ("Typical Tropical Groups") and 8 ("Conspicuous Grasses").
"Wet Atlantic Lowlands," "Tropical Dry Forest," "Tropical Montane
Cloud Forests," and "Beach and Mangrove" comprise the "special
habitats," while Araceae, Bromeliaceae, Arecaceae, Heliconiaceae and Strelitziaceae,
Orchidaceae, and "Ferns and Lycophytes" are the "typical tropical groups."
At the end of the volume are found an illustrated glossary, an alphabetical list of featured spp.
by family, a very extensive bibliography, and a combined index to scientific and common names.
The introductory pages feature a brief consideration of the Costa Rican physical environment and
vegetation (including a very basic map), along with discussions on the use of the book,
classification and nomenclature, observation and identification of plants, and conservation.
The production of this fine work was clearly a labor of love for all concerned. Every page is
colored by the author’s lively and informed writing. The aforementioned sidebars are a
particular delight, and even seasoned field botanists will learn from some (e.g.,
"Identifying Cecropia Species in Costa Rica"; "Drift Seeds").
Both page-design and editing are impeccable (we haven’t noticed a single typo or misspelling).
Willow’s close ties and proactive involvement with the professional botanical community have
ensured that her usage and spelling of scientific names are absolutely state-of-the-art. All of
Turid’s photos are in vivid color, and mostly quite excellent (a few are even stunning).
Clearly, each and every ecotourist who visits Costa Rica will need to own a copy of this
soon-to-be-indispensable volume; but we must also strongly recommend it to professional field
biologists, as an introduction to the Costa Rican flora and (we hope!) an inroad and eventual
companion to the Manual. According to Willow, the book is already widely available in Costa Rica,
e.g, at 7th St. Books in San José (a half block north from the Hotel Presidente), where it
sells for $35.00. She adds that it is not yet available in the United States, but may be on
amazon.com (possibly @ $40.00) by late January or early February. For further information,
contact Willow directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org.