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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

Main | Family List (MO) | Family List (INBio) | Cutting Edge
Draft Treatments | Guidelines | Checklist | Citing | Editors

The Cutting Edge

Volume XIV, Number 1, January 2007

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

BORAGINACEAE.  Manual Boraginaceae contributor James S. Miller (MO) has determined that A. Rodríguez et al. 6909, from ca. 80 m elevation near Puerto Quepos, represents Varronia bullata L.  Better known until quite recently as Cordia bullata (L.) Roem. & Schult., this was one of the many otherwise widespread spp. that appear to “skip” Costa Rica, in this case having been collected in both Nicaragua and Panama.

CACTACEAE.  This must rank as the most astounding botanical discovery of the new millennium in Costa Rica:  Mammillaria, a genus never previously reported from the country!  This treasure was found by Manual co-PI Barry Hammel and INB curator Francisco Morales, in a location that, for obvious reasons, we are not about to divulge in these pages.  It boggles the mind that a population of such conspicuous plants, in a group so aggressively hunted by collectors, managed to elude detection for so long in a country as small and tame as Costa Rica.  But this gives us hope that other, equally stunning discoveries may follow!  There is no immediate reason to suspect that a new sp. is involved:  according to Barry, the material (see under “Season’s Pick,” above) corresponds reasonably well with Mammillaria ruestii Quehl, otherwise distributed from Guatemala to Nicaragua.  Nonetheless, Costa Rican plants that flowered in captivity just before Christmas had pink or magenta flowers (vs. “rojas” in M. ruestii, fide Flora de Nicaragua).

FABACEAE/FABOIDEAE. Manual co-PI and Fabaceae contributor Nelson Zamora has identified as Galactia argentea Brandegee a collection of fellow co-PI Mike Grayum from the llanuras de Guanacaste near Cuajiniquil. This sp. was previously known to range from Mexico to Nicaragua (with just one collection from the latter country).

FABACEAE/MIMOSOIDEAE.  A specimen from Parque Nacional Santa Rosa (Janzen 10129, MO) represents Mimosa affinis B. L. Rob., a sp. previously recorded only from Mexico to Nicaragua (and with just one collection from the latter country).  The Costa Rican specimen had been previously determined as “aff.” M. affinis, but now this identification has been confirmed by Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora.

MYRISTICACEAE.  Shrewd and persistent field and herbarium work by former parataxonomist Reinaldo Aguilar, in collaboration with Manual co-PI Barry Hammel, has revealed the presence in Costa Rica of a distinctive but long-overlooked Virola sp.  Though remarkable for its two types of trichomes and strikingly light gray lower leaf surface, it is otherwise rather nondescript, collections having been variously misdetermined as Virola guatemalensis (Hemsl.) Warb., V. sebifera Aubl., or V. surinamensis (Rol. ex Rottb.) Warb.; two were even found among the Otoba indets.!  Thanks to Reinaldo’s proactivity and the wonders of modern technology, we already have a name for this new-found entity:  Virola macrocarpa A. C. Sm., otherwise definitely known only from Panama and Colombia.  The identification was provided by family specialist William A. Rodrigues (UPCB), on the basis of a scanned image supplied by Reinaldo.  In Costa Rica, V. macrocarpa is restricted to the Pacific slope, where it occurs at elevations of 0–1400 m in the Cordillera de Talamanca and on the Península de Osa.

SOLANACEAE.  Several recent collections from in and about seasonal lagoons in the northern Guanacaste region have been identified by Manual co-PI Mike Grayum as Schwenckia micrantha Benth., hitherto recorded only from Venezuela and Brazil.  This material differs from S. americana L. (more generally distributed in the Guanacaste region) in its smaller habit, sessile, subamplexicaul leaves, much smaller flowers, and paludal habitat (S. americana being found mainly on rocky slopes and roadbeds).  In all of these aspects, our material concords so well with authoritatively determined Venezuelan specimens of S. micrantha at MO that we have no hesitation in applying that name, despite the wide geographic disjunction (and we did also find a single Panamanian collection that fits the bill).

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