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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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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

Alford, M. H.  2006. A new species of Hasseltia (Salicaceae) from Costa Rica and Panama.  Brittonia 58: 277–284.

A name that we had been bandying about informally for a number of years, but never had the gumption to actually publish, is finally validated as Hasseltia allenii Hammel & Grayum ex M. H. Alford.  The new sp. is widespread in the Pacific lowlands (0–1000 m) of Costa Rica from Parque Nacional Carara southeastward to the Península de Burica, where Tom Croat (MO) once collected it just across the border with Panama, thus singlehandedly robbing us of an endemic.   Hasseltia allenii, “ironically...perhaps the most distinctive” of the four Hasseltia spp. here accepted, is unique in the genus in its long-petiolate, ovate, entire leaf-blades and glabrous staminal filaments.  These differences are adduced in a dichotomous, indented key that also includes two similar spp. in other genera.  Hasseltia floribunda Kunth and H. guatemalensis Warb. (both occurring in Costa Rica) are reinterpreted (especially the latter); full synonymy and typology are provided for these names, entailing three new lectotypifications.  The new sp. is illustrated in a fine composite line drawing, and its distibution is mapped.

Arias, S. & T. Terrazas.  2006. Análisis cladístico del género Pachycereus (Cactaceae) con caracteres morfológicos.  Brittonia 58: 197–216.

Conventional cladistic analysis of morphological and anatomical characters suggests that two spp. of Stenocereus, including the Costa Rican S. aragonii (F. A. C. Weber) Buxb., are not closely related to their ostensible congeners and instead belong to subtribe Pachycereinae.  However, unlike a previous molecular study involving these same authors [see The Cutting Edge 10(4): 4, Oct. 2003], there is no suggestion made here that these spp. might belong in Pachycereus.  Rather, the latter genus is portrayed as polyphyletic, with the clade containing the generic type well removed from Stenocereus aragonii.  Taking the cladogram at face value, S. aragonii might be accommodated in an expanded Cephalocereus, or in a separate genus together with the more northern S. eichlamii (Britton & Rose) Buxb. ex Bravo.  Interested?  Read on...

Arroyo-Cosultchi, G., T. Terrazas, S. Arias & H. J. Arreola-Nava.  2006. The systematic significance of seed morphology in Stenocereus (Cactaceae).  Taxon 55: 983–992.

Here is additional evidence (see preceding entry) that the striking Costa Rican endemic Stenocereus aragonii (F. A. C. Weber) Buxb. is classified in the wrong genus:  its seed morphology differs considerably from that of most other Stenocereus spp., but is similar to that of most Pachycereus spp.  The more northern Stenocereus eichlamii (Britton & Rose) Buxb. ex Bravo has seeds similar to those of S. aragonii.  Seeds of all 24 spp. presently included in Stenocereus were studied, and are depicted here in SEM micrographs.

Bacigalupo, N. M. & E. L. Cabral.  2006. Nuevas combinaciones en el género Diodella (Rubiaceae, Spermacoceae).  Darwiniana 44: 98–104.

The concept of Diodella is somewhat enlarged with the transfer of four additional spp. from Diodia, including Diodella sarmentosa (Sw.) Bacigalupo & E. L. Cabral, widespread but known in Costa Rica only from Isla del Coco.  So reconstituted, Diodella is said to differ from Diodia in its infundibuliform flowers, capitate stigma, fruits with the mericarps separating at maturity and seeds with the apex slightly folded over the ventral face.  If we calculate correctly, Diodia s. str. is now limited in Costa Rica to a single sp., D. serrulata (P. Beauv.) G. Taylor.  The spp. dealt with here are treated synoptically, with full synonymy and typology, formal descriptions, distribution summaries and discussions, exsciccatae citations, and line drawings.

Christenson, E.  2006. The genus Acineta:  a review of this increasingly popular genus of stately Neotropical orchids.  Orchid Digest 70: 232–251.

Acineta is one of those “popular” genera of gaudy orchids that are virtually the exclusive province of private collectors.  From the standpoint of workers in the field, these plants are essentially nonexistent, as they are very rarely encountered (at least in fertile condition) or collected.  The exceedingly few available herbarium collections tend to be fragmentary and, as noted by this author, suffer much during the drying process.  Many “species” are known only by their types, often of unknown origin (even as to country).   Part of the problem is that these plants are, presumably, high-growing epiphytes and seldom fertile.  Furthermore, when they do chance to encounter these spectacular plants flowering in the wild, even professional botanical collectors may be reluctant to preserve adequate material; more likely (according to our experience), they will decide to cart the whole plant back home as a trophy (“ex situ conservation”) or, at best, to sacrifice a single leaf and flower for science.  The result has been that almost nothing is known of the taxonomy of genera like Acineta.  This situation is acknowledged by the author, who stipulates that this paper “is not intended as the definitive treatment of the genus.”  That said, 19 spp. are provisionally accepted and treated here, one very briefly.  Synonymy and typology are provided for the genus and all spp., along with (in most cases) formal descriptions.  Most spp. are illustrated, with color photos and/or line drawings showing floral details.  The sole sp. treated in the Manual was there called Acineta densa Lindl. & Paxton, but that name is here synonymized under A. chrysantha (C. Morren) Lindl. & Paxton.  A second sp., A. sella-turcica Rchb. f.,. is also attributed to Costa Rica by Christenson, although he cites no vouchers to support this claim.  Nonetheless, it seems feasible, inasmuch as the type of A. sella-turcica was collected in western Panama (Prov. Chiriquí); furthermore, the possibility of a second Costa Rican sp. was alluded to in the Manual.  Brief paragraphs at the end of this paper address “Excluded Concepts,” “Aspects of Cultivation, ” “Conservation Status,” and needs for the future.  There are no taxonomic novelties.

Denham, S. S.  2006. A new combination for Thrasya robusta in Paspalum (Poaceae, Paniceae).  Novon 16: 331.

When the author formally transferred Thrasya into Paspalum [see The Cutting Edge 13(1): 5–6, Jan. 2006], she created the nomen novum Paspalum calliferum S. Denham for the sp. treated in the Manual as Thrasya robusta Hitchc. & Chase, citing the preexistence of Paspalum robustum Link ex Steud.  It turns out that the last-mentioned binomial was illegitimate, thus the epithet robustum has been available in Paspalum all along; Paspalum robustum (Hitchc. & Chase) S. Denham comb. nov. accordingly replaces the superfluous P. calliferum.

Dressler, R. L., F. Pupulin & J. P. Folsom.  2006. Three new Mesoamerican taxa of Dichaea with caducous leaves.  Novon 16: 336–343.

The three new taxa comprise two spp. of Dichaea (Orchidaceae) and one subsp., one of each represented in Costa Rica.  Our new sp., Dichaea globosa Dressler & Pupulin, is very nearly endemic, with just one collection from western Panama.  This taxon was actually included in the Manual under the name D. robusta Schltr., the cited voucher for which is the type of the new sp.  The last-mentioned name, based on a South American type, is here considered a synonym of D. morrisii Fawc. & Rendle.  As far as we can tell, the new subsp., Dichaea fragrantissima Folsom subsp. eburnea Dressler & Pupulin, was not accounted for in Robert Dressler’s Manual treatment, although it was first collected ca. 1867 and ranges widely in the Costa Rican cordilleras from 600–1500 m elevation (occurring also in Nicaragua and Panama).  The much rarer autonymic subsp. is known by just a few collections from central Panama.  Counting Brassia suavissima (see under C. O. Morales, this column), our running total of new orchid spp. described from Costa Rica since 1993 vaults to 243 (we don’t count infraspecific taxa).  All three novelties are illustrated with coauthor Franco Pupulin’s always excellent line drawings.

Gibbs, P. E. & W. S. Alverson.  2006. How many species of Spirotheca (Malvaceae s. l., Bombacoideae)?  Brittonia 58: 245–258.

We’ve never encountered a taxonomic revision with its title in the form of a query, so this is a first.  The answer, by the way, is five, at least according to these authors.  Spirotheca is an exclusively neotropical genus, distinctive in subfam. Bombacoideae by virtue of its epiphytic, strangling habit and “five large anthers that are in bud and until anthesis tightly spiralled around the staminal column.”  Just one sp. extends beyond South America, that being Spirotheca rosea (Seem.) P. E. Gibbs & W. S. Alverson, comb. nov. (at last!), which reaches the Cordillera de Tilarán in northwestern Costa Rica.  Chorisia rosea Seem., the basionym of S. rosea, is lectotypified, and one other comb. nov. at varietal rank is validated for a South American taxon.  Includes formal descriptions at all levels, a dichotomous, indented key to spp., full synonymy and typology, distribution summaries, comprehensive specimen citations, often lengthy discussions, and range maps.  Only Spirotheca rosea is illustrated, with a composite line drawing and a photo of a living flower.

Grayum, M. H.  2006. The identity and typification of Guarea hoffmanniana C. DC. (Meliaceae).  Taxon 55: 1005–1008.

Critical evaluation of a neglected isotype has established that the name Guarea hoffmanniana, appended under “Doubtful Species” in the latest revision of Guarea for the Neotropics (Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 28: 1–472.  1981), applies to a sp. that has been well known at the Estación Biológica La Selva by the name G. macropetala T. D. Penn.  Guarea hoffmanniana is here lectotypified on that isotype, while G. macropetala is formally relegated to synonymy.

Islam, M. B., M. P. Simmons & R. H. Archer.  2006. Phylogeny of the Elaeodendron group (Celastraceae) inferred from morphological characters and nuclear and plastid genes.  Syst. Bot. 31: 512–524.

The genus name Elaeodendron, corresponding to a pantropical assemblage of ca. 40 spp., has been regarded by many authors as a synonym of Cassine.  Any such notion is quashed by this research, which resolves Elaeodendron as a natural group “unambiguously supported as distinct” from Cassine, while restricting the latter to just three South African spp.  This development is germane to us due to the recent discovery in Costa Rica of Elaeodendron xylocarpum (Vent.) DC. [see The Cutting Edge 7(2): 4, Apr. 2000].

Kluge, J. & M. Kessler.  2006. Fern endemism and its correlates:  contribution from an elevational transect in Costa Rica.  Diversity & Distrib. 12: 535–545.

The elevational transect of this study is the same as that already described in these pages for a companion paper involving these same authors [see The Cutting Edge 13(4): 4, Oct. 2006].  Of all the pteridophyte spp. collected in the transect (484, according to the companion paper), 24.5% were considered endemic to the cordilleras of Costa Rica and western Panama.  Endemism peaked at ca. 2300–2600 m, with lesser spikes in relatively narrow elevational belts characterized by “high and constant humidity and moderate temperatures.”  Endemic spp. were generally less frequent than widespread ones (except at the very highest elevations), and occurred in much narrower elevational ranges and in fewer plots.  The results of this study are alleged to confirm the rather unsurprising notion that endemism in the tropics is essentially a montane phenomenon.

Kriebel, R.  2006.Drymonia tomentulifera, sp. nova de Costa Rica, y notas sobre la biología reproductiva del género Drymonia (Gesneriaceae: Episcieae).  Lankesteriana 6: 43–47.

The endemic Drymonia tomentulifera Kriebel is very similar to D. pilifera Wiehler, from which it is distinguished by its indument type (the difference reflected in the two epithets) and smaller, maculate (vs. uniformly reddish or purplish) corollas with the tube sericeous (vs. villous) externally.  The new sp. ranges from ca. 400–1000 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of the Cordilleras de Guanacaste and Central.  This is a bona fide addition to the Costa Rican flora (the 23rd Drymonia spp.), as it was merely discussed in the author’s Manual draft treatment of Gesneriaceae [see The Cutting Edge 12(3): 1–2, Jul. 2005] as a variant of D. pilifera.  The flowers of D. tomentulifera are protandrous, a condition that is documented here (with vouchers) for 21 of the Costa Rican Drymonia spp. (i.e., all which have been investigated in this regard).  Illustrated with excellent color photographs of living material.

León Arguedas, J.  2006. Semblanza sobre Luis Fournier Origgi.  Lankesteriana 6: 29–32.

These are personal recollections of the late Costa Rican phytoecologist Luis A. Fournier [see The Cutting Edge 9(3): 1, Jul. 2002] presented by his illustrious colleague, Jorge León, upon the dedication of a plaque at USJ in December, 2005 (see under C. O. Morales, below).

Li, C.-X. & S.-G. Lu.  2006. Phylogenetic analysis of Dryopteridaceae based on chloroplast rbcL sequences.  Acta Phytotax. Sin. 44: 503–515.

Some significant conclusions of this study (that we can glean from the English abstract and cladograms) are:  Ctenitis should be included in Dryopteridaceae, Cyclopeltis “is isolated from all the other species of Dryopteridaceae and their relative lineages,” and Polystichum is paraphyletic.  The first two results are consistent with a recent new classification for extant ferns [see The Cutting Edge 13(4): 9–10, Oct. 2006], which assigned Ctenitis to Dryopteridaceae and Cyclopeltis to Lomariopsidaceae.  We cannot assess the potential consequences of a paraphyletic Polystichum for us, as few if any New World spp. were involved in this analysis.

Little, D. P.  2006. Evolution and circumscription of the true cypresses (Cupressaceae: Cupressus).  Syst. Bot. 31: 461–480.

Cladistic analyses of morphological, anatomical and biochemical characters involving 56 spp. of Cupressaceae subfam. Cupressoideae support previous studies (molecular, but with relatively few spp.) in portraying Cupressus as diphyletic.  The split is along hemispheric lines, with the Old World Cupressus spp. (including the generic type, C. sempervirens L.) sister to Juniperus, while the New World Cupressus spp. are basal to that clade in a sister-group relationship with the dispecific, recently resuscitated Callitropsis.  In effect, this means that Cupressus cannot be maintained in its current broad sense without absorbing both Juniperus and Callitropsis.  Mainly because the last-mentioned option would require about 68 new combinations, the author instead proposes generic recognition for the 16 New World spp. of Cupressus s. l., plus the two Callitropsis spp., under the latter name (despite the still unresolved relationship between those entities).  Indeed, he actually implements this change, validating all the indicated new combinations himself; thus, the sole “Cupressus” sp. treated in the Manual becomes Callitropsis lusitanica (Mill.) D. P. Little (and a combination in Callitropsis is also validated for Cupressus benthamii Endl., indicated as a synonym in the Manual).  Morphological distinctions among these freshly reconceived genera are briefly discussed near the end of the paper, following which is an artificial key (dichotomous and indented) to all the genera of subfam. Cupressoideae.

Lu, J.-M. & D.-Z. Li.  2006. The study on systematic position of Cyclopeltis. Acta Bot. Yunnan. 28: 337–340.

Based on their study of morphological data, biogeography, and a limited molecular analysis, the authors maintain that the fern genus Cyclopeltis should be moved from Dryopteridaceae to Tectariaceae.  For us this is old news, as Cyclopeltis was already included in Tectariaceae in Flora mesoamericana Vol. 1 (1995); moreover, it has recently changed addresses once again, this time to Lomariopsidaceae [see The Cutting Edge 13(4): 9–10, Oct. 2006].

Merckx, V., P. Schols, H. Maas-van de Kamer, P. Maas, S. Huysmans & E. Smets.  2006. Phylogeny and evolution of Burmanniaceae (Dioscoreales) based on nuclear and mitochondrial data.  Amer. J. Bot. 93: 1684–1698.

In contrast to previous studies involving “a very limited number of taxa,” these analyses reveal both Burmanniaceae and Dioscoreaceae as polyphyletic, with Burmanniaceae tribe Thismieae in a strongly supported sister-group relationship with Tacca (Dioscoreaceae).  Although the authors do not address classificatory options, these would clearly include the reinstatement of Taccaceae, with Thismieae subsumed therein or elevated to separate familial status (as Thismiaceae).  The three largest genera of Burmanniaceae s. l., Burmannia, Gymnosiphon, and Thismia, are all paraphyletic.  Burmannia could easily be made non-paraphyletic by the exclusion of two somewhat aberrant African spp., Gymnosiphon by the inclusion of Cymbocarpa.  Intriguingly, the only New World Thismia sp. included in this study, T. panamensis (Standl.) Jonker, grouped with two oligotypic paleotropical genera rather than its New World congeners, suggesting that separate generic rank for the New World Thismia contingent could provide the solution for paraphyly in that genus (the generic type being an Old World sp.).  At the sp. level, neither Gymnosiphon divaricatus (Benth.) Benth. & Hook. f. nor G. minutus Snelders & Maas (the latter recorded from Costa Rica, the former anticipated) emerged as monophyletic, based on several different accessions of each sp., which “further questions the species delimitation within the genus.”  Finally, the transition from autotrophy to heterotrophy (or vice-versa) in Burmannia has evidently occurred on numerous independent occasions.

Morales, C. O. 2006. Un herbario de Costa Rica llega a 75 años.  Lankesteriana 6: 25–28.

This paper was inspired by the recent renaming of USJ as the “Herbario Luis A. Fournier,” honoring the late Costa Rican plant ecologist.  The history of the USJ herbarium is briefly summarized, along with its present status.  We learn a few things here:  the herbarium was actually founded in 1931, before the Universidad de Costa Rica itself, apparently on specimens prepared mainly by José María Orozco, an early head of the university’s botany department.  Many of these seminal collections were lost to the ravages of insects and fungi, and most of the rest were destroyed in a 1965 fire instigated by an adjacent plant dryer.  We also did not know that compactors have lately been installed at USJ to accommodate the entire dicot collection, and that the herbarium database will be available on the Internet within three years.  The author takes this opportunity to update his recent catalog of vascular plant types at USJ [see The Cutting Edge 12(2): 11–12, Apr. 2005], and here again we learn about something new:  Brassia suavissima Pupulin & Bogarín, a new sp. described from Costa Rica (in 2005) that we somehow missed.

Morales, J. F.  2006. Novedades en las Proteaceae de Costa Rica.  Darwiniana 44: 490–492.

Despite the title, there is only one “novedad” reported here:  Roupala sessiliflora J. F. Morales, a new sp. endemic to Costa Rica.  Known by just two collections, R. sessiliflora appears restricted to the Atlantic slope, where it has been found at elevations of 50–450 m in the Cordillera Central and on the Llanura de San Carlos.  The new sp. is compared with the Mexican Roupala mexicana K. S. Edwards & Prance and the South American R. cordifolia Kunth, but differs from both in its sessile flowers and smaller tepals.  It is also noteworthy, at least among its Costa Rican congeners, in comprising tall trees (30–35 m).  This is the fourth Roupala sp. for Costa Rica.  Illustrated with a composite line drawing.

Moran, E. & V. A. Funk.  2006. A revision of Erato (Compositae: Liabeae).  Syst. Bot. 31: 597–609.

Erato (which we will always think of as a Liabum segregate) is a genus of five spp., ranging from Costa Rica to Bolivia.  Just one sp. occurs in Central America, that being the newly described Erato costaricensis E. Moran & V. A. Funk, a cloud-forest inhabitant of Costa Rica and western Panama.  This is not an outright novelty, but rather a familiar entity known to us most recently as Erato vulcanica (Klatt) H. Rob., and before that as Munnozia vulcanica (Klatt) H. Rob. & Brettell and (for a much longer period) Liabum vulcanicum Klatt.  The three last-mentioned names are here revealed as having been misapplied.  The real Erato vulcanica, which occurs only in Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela, differs from E. costaricensis in its hispid (vs. appressed-pubescent) peduncles, 7-nerved phyllaries (vs. 5-nerved), and slightly shorter ray flowers.  Features synonymy, typology and formal descriptions at all levels, dichotomous keys to spp. (in both English and Spanish), distribution and phenology summaries, brief discussions, specimen citations (mostly representative), distribution maps, and composite line drawings of two spp. (including E. costaricensis).  As befits a modern taxonomic revision, the introductory pages focus on cladistic relationships within the genus.

Murdock, A.G., J. L. Reveal & A. Doweld.  2006. (1746) Proposal to conserve the name Marattiaceae against Danaeaceae (Pteridophyta).  Taxon 55: 1027–1052.

Because of a recent change in the Code, the name Danaeaceae now has priority over the well-established Marattiaceae, and would have to replace the latter name in classifications (i.e., most of them) that treat Danaea and Marattia in the same family.  Conservation represents the only salvation for Marattiaceae.

Palacios-Duque, L.  2004. Una nueva especie de Sloanea (Elaeocarpaceae) del Chocó, Colombia.  Hickenia 3: 201–204.

On the surface, this paper would seem in no way germane to us, as the new sp., Sloanea garcia-cossioi Pal.-Duque, is known to its author only from the type collection (his), made in Depto. Chocó, Colombia.  However, we have it on very good authority that this same spp. also occurs in Costa Rica, where it has been known by the never-published name “Sloanea sulcata Dam. A. Sm.”  The new sp. is compared with Sloanea laevigata Dam. A. Sm. (the same sp. with which “S. sulcata” is compared in Damon Smith’s Manual draft treatment of Elaeocarpaceae), from which it differs in its divided style.  In Costa Rica, “Sloanea sulcata” occurs at ca. 0–650 elevation in the very wet Pacific lowlands of southwestern Costa Rica.  Illustrated with a photograph of the type specimen.

Pool, A.  2006. New species of Scutellaria (Lamiaceae) from Mesoamerica.  Novon 16: 388–403.

Ten new spp. of Scutellaria, representing three sections, are described from the Mesoamerican region, in anticipation of the author’s impending treatment of the genus for Flora mesoamericana and of Lamiaceae for the Manual.  Four of these novelties occur in Costa Rica, three exclusively.  Three of our four new spp. belong to Scutellaria sect. Uliginosae (Epling) Epling, and are compared with the likes of S. orichalcea Donn. Sm. and S. purpurascens Sw.:  Scutellaria albituba A. Pool (ca. 1400–1800 m, Pacific slope of the Cordilleras de Guanacaste and de Tilarán, and also in Guatemala) and the endemic S. lactea A. Pool (900–2300 m, Pacific slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca) and S. talamancana A. Pool (known only from the type, collected at 1100–1150 m on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca).  Our fourth new sp., the endemic Scutellaria tucurriquensis A. Pool (600–800 m, Atlantic slope of the Cordillera Central and northern Cordillera de Talamanca), is referred to Scutellaria sect. Cardinales Epling and compared to S. glabra Leonard, among other spp.  All ten new spp. are depicted in photographic images of herbarium material (mainly types).  By the way, all of these entities were already accounted for in the author’s Manual treatment, as Scutellaria spp. A–D.

Rodríguez, A.  2006. Diez especies nuevas de Guarea (Meliaceae) de Nicaragua, Costa Rica y Panamá.  Lankesteriana 6: 101–121.

It now appears that the taxonomic “Middle Ages” may be winding down for Guarea in Costa Rica, with all of our ducks finally beginning to line up.  This contribution by INB curator and Manual Meliaceae co-contributor Alexánder Rodríguez dispatches the lion’s share of new Costa Rican spp. that had been swept under the rug by previous workers (a few more are still to come).  All of the 10 spp. described in this paper occur in Costa Rica, seven exclusively:  Guarea aguilarii Al. Rodr. (0–700 m, southern Pacific slope), G. constricta Al. Rodr. (150–1150 m, southern Pacific slope), G. corticosa Al. Rodr. (100–500 m, southern Pacific slope), G. inesiana Al. Rodr. (1650–1750 m, Pacific slope of the Cordilleras Central and de Talamanca), G. macrocalyx Al. Rodr. (0–900 m, Baja Talamanca and southern Pacific slope), G. montana Al. Rodr. (550–1600 m, both slopes of the Cordilleras de Guanacaste and de Tilarán, southern Fila Costeña), and G. tafae-malekui Al. Rodr. (400–1000 m, Atlantic slope of the Cordilleras de Guanacaste and de Tilarán, in the vicinity of Volcán Arenal).  Guarea adenophylla Al. Rodr. (1550–1650 m, both slopes of the Cordilleras de Guanacaste, de Tilarán, and Central) pops up in western Panama, while both Guarea ciliata Al. Rodr. (0–200 m, Cordillera Central and Llanura de San Carlos) and G. pilosa Al. Rodr. (0–1300 m, Atlantic slope of all the principal cordilleras and the Llanuras de San Carlos and de Tortuguero) squeak into southeastern Nicaragua.  A few of these new spp. have long been recognized as distinct, under incorrect names; for example, at the Estación Biológica La Selva, Guarea ciliata has endured a succession of such names for the last 25 years, most recently G. ternifoliola C. DC. (correctly a synonym of G. excelsa Kunth).  Guarea montana is a familiar sp. in the Monteverde region, where it has generally been misidentified as G. rhopalocarpa Radlk., a closely related but consistently distinct sp. ranging into more lowland habitats.  The most intriguing of these novelties is Guarea tafae-malekui (honoring a late indigenous headman of the Llanura de San Carlos region) which, despite having been consistently mistaken for G. grandifolia C. DC., is unique in the genus by virtue of its ovaries with three or four superposed ovules per locule (vs. one or two in all the other spp.).  It also has hollow twigs that house a recently described ant sp. that is apparently specific to G. tafae-malekui.  Each new sp. is illustrated with a fine composite line drawing (much reduced in scale) by INBio’s Claudia Aragón or Manual artist Silvia Troyo.

All 10 of these newly validated sp. names have now replaced their provisional counterparts in the author’s soon-to-be-published Manual account of Guarea [see The Cutting Edge 13(3): 2, Jul. 2006].   However, due to insufficient material, the author wisely declined to describe one of his putatively new sp., which alone will retain its provisional designation in the Manual.

Seigler, D. S., J. E. Ebinger & J. T. Miller.  2006. The genus Senegalia (Fabaceae: Mimosoideae) from the New World.  Phytologia 88: 38–93.

This paper summarizes molecular and morphological data bearing on the generic distinction of Senegalia, a large pantropical assemblage formerly included in Acacia s. l. (see following entry) with 86 spp. accepted here for the New World.  At least in Costa Rica, spp. of Senegalia are characterized by their usually lianescent habit and prickly stems.  Here, one nomen novum and 51 new combinations are validated in the names “Seigler & Ebinger” for the New World taxa not yet with names in Senegalia; however, as far as we can determine, all the Costa Rican representatives of the group already had such names, viz., Senegalia hayesii (Benth.) Britton & Rose, S. riparia (Kunth) Britton & Rose, and S. tenuifolia (L.) Britton & Rose.  The authors report that the long-established name Acacia riparia Kunth (the basionym of Senegalia riparia) is potentially threatened by Mimosa retusa Jacq. (1760), and indicate that they have proposed conservation of the former name.  Other features of this paper include an informal description of Senegalia, comparisons with related or similar genera, a cladogram, and sections entitled “Incertae sedis” and “Excluded names.”

-- , -- & -- . 2006. Mariosousa, a new segregate genus from Acacia s. l. (Fabaceae, Mimosoideae) from Central and North America.  Novon 16: 413–420.

The celebrated fragmentation of Acacia s. l., fueled by recent and ongoing molecular analyses (including those of the present study), has resolved at least five segregate genera, with the name Acacia Mill. now famously restricted to a mainly Australasian group that does not occur naturally in the New World [see The Cutting Edge 12(4): 1, Oct. 2005].  Existing names at generic rank are available for three of the four groups represented by native New World elements:  Acaciella Britton & Rose, Senegalia Raf. (see foregoing entry), and Vachellia Wight & Arn. [see The Cutting Edge 13(2): 12, Apr. 2006].   Nameless, until now, is the genus comprising the so-called “Acacia coulteri sp. group,” formerly classed in Acacia ser. Vulgares Benth. [see The Cutting Edge 8(2): 9, Apr. 2001].   All 13 spp. of this group are here rechristened with new combinations in Mariosousa Seigler & Ebinger, which embodies the full name of the famed Mexican legume specialist.  The only sp. to reach Costa Rica is Mariosousa centralis (Britton & Rose) Seigler & Ebinger, and with the validation of that combination, all Costa Rican members of the former Acacia s. l. now have alternative names in the new system.  Features a cladogram, a formal description of the genus and a key to its spp., and full synonymy and typology.

Smith, A. R., H.-P. Kreier, C. H. Haufler, T. A. Ranker & H. Schneider.  2006. Serpocaulon (Polypodiaceae), a new genus segregated from Polypodium.  Taxon 55: 919–930.

With this paper, the implementation of taxonomic changes suggested by a major molecular study involving several of these same authors [see The Cutting Edge 11(3): 12, Jul. 2004] is initiated.  Polypodium, in its glory days embracing some 250 spp. (but with 125–150 spp. in most modern floras), will be restricted to ca. 30 circumtemperate and neotropical spp. in the new scheme now being unveiled.  We gather that, in the Mesoamerican region, the new Polypodium s. str. will more or less coincide with the “Grupo de Polypodium plesiosorum” of Flora mesoamericana Vol. 1 (1995: 358–360).   Most of the other erstwhile Polypodium spp. will apparently wind up either in Pecluma (“Grupo de Polypodium dulce” of Flora mesoamericana) or Pleopeltis (“Grupo de Polypodium polypodioides”), to be considered in future papers.  The present paper validates the genus name Serpocaulon A. R. Sm. for 40 neotropical spp. (corresponding to the “Grupo de Polypodium loriceum” of Flora mesoamericana) characterized by “regularly anastomosing (goniophlebioid) veins and often long-creeping, cordlike rhizomes bearing partially or entirely clathrate scales.”  Some of these spp. were originally described in the genus Goniophlebium, but that name is now restricted to ca. 25 spp. of tropical Asia, Australasia, and Oceania, that are more closely related to other Old World genera.  New combinations in Serpocaulon are validated in the name of “A. R. Sm.” for all spp. here referred to the group, including 12 attributed to Costa Rica:  Polypodium attenuatum Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd., P. dissimile L., P. eleutherophlebium (Fée) Mett. (formerly known to us as P. wiesbaueri Sodiro), P. fraxinifolium Jacq., P. giganteum Desv., P. levigatum Cav., P. loriceum L., P. loriciforme Rosenst., P. maritimum Hieron., P. ptilorhizon Christ, P. triseriale Sw., and P. wagneri Mett.  Excluded from Costa Rica are several spp. that have occasionally been attributed to the country, e.g., Polypodium adnatum Kunze ex Klotzsch, P. caceresii Sodiro, P. latipes Langsd. & Fisch., P. sessilifolium Desv. (cf. Flora mesoamericana), and P. subandinum Sodiro.  Molecular and morphological evidence supporting the recognition of Serpocaulon is discussed in some detail.  Synonymy, typology, and a formal description are provided for the genus, and selected features are illustrated in one plate of color photos (from life) and another of line drawings.

Stranczinger, S., A. Borhidi & J. L. Szentpéteri.  2006. Phylogenetic relationships among some species of the Rondeletia complex (Rubiaceae).  Acta Bot. Hung. 48: 427–433.

Analysis of rDNA sequence data from 16 taxa resolves Arachnothryx, Rogiera, and Rondeletia s. str. as monophyletic entities (with regard to the spp. included in the study).   However, unlike a previous study [see The Cutting Edge 9(2): 10, Apr. 2002], the sample size here wasn’t large enough to portray Rondeletia s. l. as polyphyletic, a critical consideration in deciding whether to break it up.

Szlachetko, D. L. & M. Kulak.  2006. Nouvelles combinaisons dans le genre Zosterophyllanthos Szlachetko & Margónska (Orchidaceae, Pleurothallidinae).  Richardiana 6: 183–195.

The authors transfer 108 names from Pleurothallis to the recently created segregate Zosterophyllanthos [see The Cutting Edge 9(4): 11, Oct. 2002], raising the sp. total for the latter entity to 161.  The following spp. treated in the Manual receive new combinations in Zosterophyllanthos courtesy of “Szlach. & Kulak”:  Pleurothallis bothros Luer, P. canaligera Rchb. f. (mentioned briefly in our Pleurothallis genus discussion), P. cardiothallis Rchb. f., P. chavezii Luer, P. compressa Luer, P. excavata Schltr., P. isthmica Luer, P. oncoglossa Luer, P. palliolata Ames, and P. tonduzii Schltr.  In addition, superfluous “isonyms” are perpetrated for at least two spp. that had already been transferred to Zosterophyllanthos by “Szlach. & Marg.,” viz., Pleurothallis homalantha Schltr. and P. phyllocardioides Schltr.  We can find no explanation as to why the new combinations in this paper are of femenine gender, while those in the original batch were masculine; Art. 62.2(c) of the Code explicitly stipulates masculine gender for names ending in -anthos.  Another mystery:  why is the second author of the genus name “Margónska,” in the title of this paper, but “Margońska” in the generic protologue?

-- & A. Romowicz.  2006. Notes sur le genre Senghasia Szlachetko (Orchidaceae, Huntleyinae).  Richardiana 6: 180–182.

Senghasia is another of Szlachetko’s segregate genera, in this case at the expense of Kefersteinia.  Four spp. treated under Kefersteinia in the Manual were previously transferred to Senghasia [see The Cutting Edge 13(1): 12, Jan. 2006].  Now we lose a fifth, as Senghasia lactea (Rchb. f.) Szlach. & Romowicz, one of the four new combinations here validated, replaces Kefersteinia lactea (Rchb. f.) Schltr.

Warwick, S. I., A. Francis & I. A. Al-Shehbaz.  2006. Brassicaceae:  species checklist and database on CD-Rom.  Pl. Syst. Evol. 259: 249–258.

The CD alluded to in the title, included as a pocketed supplement to this issue of the journal, contains information on ca. 14,000 names, representing 338 genera and 3709 spp. (as accepted by these authors) of Brassicaceae.  The hard-copy paper includes a handy checklist of all accepted genera, indicating the accepted sp. total for each, as well as a brief summary and descriptions of the types of information (mainly nomenclatural or bibliographic in nature) available in the computerized database.

Zamora, N. A.  2006. Two new species of Ormosia (LeguminosaePapilionoideae, Sophoreae) from Mesoamerica.  Edinburgh J. Bot. 63: 183–190.

One of these new sp. is Mexican, while the other, Ormosia intermedia N. Zamora, is endemic to Costa Rica.  A member of sect. Unicolores Amshoff, O. intermedia is a black-seeded sp., most similar to the South American O. flava (Ducke) Rudd.  It differs from the latter most notably in having fewer leaflets and fruits that are strongly constricted between the seeds.  The new sp., originally discerned at the Estación Biológica La Selva, is now known by six collections, from 10–100 m elevation on the Llanuras de San Carlos and de Tortuguero.  Features a tabular comparison with Ormosia flava and another South American sp., the red-seeded O. grandiflora (Tul.) Rudd.  Both new spp. are illustrated with excellent composite line drawings by INBio’s Claudia Aragón.

-- & D. Solano.  2006. Una nueva especie de Swartzia (Leguminosae) de Costa Rica.  Lankesteriana 6: 133–138.

Swartzia maquenqueana N. Zamora & D. Solano (Fabaceae/Faboideae) is so far known only from the vicinity of the Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Mixto Maquenque (near Boca Tapada), at ca. 100 m elevation on the Llanura de San Carlos, in the northern Atlantic drainage of Costa Rica.  Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora discovered this sp. some years back, his initial fertile collection having been reported in these pages under the name Swartzia sumorum Ant. Molina [see The Cutting Edge 4(2): 2, Apr. 1997].  That name, based on a Nicaraguan type, is not mentioned in this paper, so we do not learn why it was ultimately rejected (though we assume there were very good reasons).  Swartzia maquenqueana is only the second Costa Rican sp. belonging to the largely South American ser. Tounateae Benth., characterized by lacking both bracteoles and petals.  The other Costa Rican representative of this group, Swartzia cubensis (Britton & P. Wilson) Standl., is not compared with S. maquenqueana or otherwise mentioned explicitly.  No mention is made, either, in this paper of Hammel 18178 (from the mouth of Río Sierpe, at the neck of the Osa Peninsula), which presumably also belongs to ser. Tounateae.  Of course we fully expect that mystery to be resolved in the Manual treatment!  The new sp. comprises large trees (12–30 m) with hollow twigs, housing ants of the genus Azteca.  Features a range map, composite line drawing, and two pages of photos of living material taken in the field.


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