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The Cutting Edge
Volume XIII, Number 1, January 2006
News and Notes |
Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature |
Season's Pick | Annotate your copy
SEASON'S PICKS: Operculina pteripes (G. Don) O' Donell (Convolvulaceae)
AND Stizolobium pruriens (L.) Medik (Fabaceae/Faboideae), are totally
unrelated of course, but both are vines and very typical of the Costa Rican "spring"
Operculina pteripes is a species we have never seen cultivated, but for its large, famously papaya
or salmon pink colored flowers, surely ought to be. This fine example was collected and photographed at El
Rodeo by Ricardo Kriebel (Kriebel 4952).
Stizolobium pruriens fruits have a very bad reputation in Costa Rica as a sort of biological
weapon. When the fruits are fully ripe, their short stiff (and highly irritating) hairs apparently fall
off easily and can waft about in breezes causing all sorts of havoc. Reportedly, bags of them have been
deployed locally in confrontations between protestors and authorities, as well as (bad) jokes at country
dances. Fortunately, when we photographed and collected this specimen (Hammel & Pérez
23951) between Mal País and Cóbano, the enticingly furry fruits were not quite ripe.
The extravagantly colored flowers had a strong and very unusual fragrance, right at dusk. It was not at
all sweet, but not disagreeable either; we debated its description, and settled for several, Spanish
omelet, smoked, canned sardines, and wet rust among them! One other label at INB describes the fragrance
as that of beans with garlic. Those pollinators must be heavy eaters!