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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

Main | Family List (MO) | Family List (INBio) | Cutting Edge
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The Cutting Edge

Volume XVI, Number 1, January 2009

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

Bien, W., G. Moore & T. Gordon. 2008. The invasive Microstegium vimineum (Poaceae) new to Costa Rica and Mesoamerica. Brenesia 69: 67–70.

Here we get the full-blown version of a report that first surfaced in this rag [see The Cutting Edge 14(2): 3, Apr. 2007], i.e., the initial discovery in Mesoamerica of the Asian weed Microstegium vimineum (Trin.) A. Camus. This, as our readers may recollect, was encountered on the slopes of Volcán Arenal, at an elevation of 576 m. We originally stated that this sp., though allegedly now rampant in the United States, “was omitted from Gray’s manual (1950)”; however, we had overlooked its inclusion in that work under the name Eulalia viminea (Trin.) Kuntze. The present authors (the discoverers) provide a detailed description of M. vimineum, as well as a key fragment adapted for incorporation in the key to genera of Francisco Morales’s (INB) Manual Poaceae treatment. There is no illustration, but the link to a Web site including a photo of M. vimineum is made available.

Bogarín, D., A. Karremans & F. Pupulin. 2008. New species and records of Orchidaceae from Costa Rica. Lankesteriana 8: 53–74.

This contribution yields one new, endemic sp. for Costa Rica, as well as a new combination, a new synonymy, and 11 new country records. The new sp. is Epidendrum zunigae Hágsater, Karremans & Bogarín, based on a single collection from the Península de Osa and compared to E. guanacastense Ames & C. Schweinf. and E. isomerum Schltr. The new synonymy affects the name Warmingia margaritacea B. Johans., applied in the Manual to an alleged Costa Rican endemic, but here subordinated to W. zamorana Dodson, based on Ecuadorian material; not only does this signify the loss of another Costa Rican endemic, it casts further doubt on the indigenous status of this sp. in Costa Rica, already questioned in the Manual.

The 11 new country records are as follows: Acianthera aberrans (Luer) Pupulin & Bogarín (also accounting for the new combination), mentioned in the Manual (under the name Pleurothallis aberrans Luer) as having been previously reported from Costa Rica without a proper voucher citation, here supplied (Pupulin et al. 4857, “JBL”; 250–300 m, vert. Carib. Cord. Central); Barbosella orbicularis Luer, alluded to in the Manual in the same vein as the foregoing sp., also here provided with a Costa Rican voucher (Bogarín 1949, “JBL”; ca. 500 m, vert. Carib. N Cord. de Talamanca); Brenesia lappiformis (A. H. Heller & L. O. Williams) Luer (which would have been treated under Pleurothallis in the Manual), otherwise known from Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Venezuala (50–550 m, vert. Carib. Cord. Central, Llanura de Tortuguero); Epidendrum maduroi Hágsater & García-Cruz, no longer a Panamanian endemic (1400–1800 m, vert. Pac. Cords. de Tilarán y Central); E. orthodontum Hágsater & L. Sánchez, also a lost Panamanian endemic (1250–2550 m, vert. Pac. y cerca de la División Continental, Cord. de Tilarán, N Cord. de Talamanca); E. scharfii Hágsater & Dodson, formerly of Colombia and Ecuador (700–1250 m, vert. Carib. N Cord. de Talamanca, vert. Pac., S Fila Costeña); E. stellidifforme Hágsater & Dodson, another disjunct from Colombia and Ecuador (650–700 m, vert. Carib. Cord. de Guanacaste); Lockhartia chocoensis Kraenzl., previously recorded from Colombia to Perú and Venezuela (650–2000 m, vert. Carib. Cord. de Guanacaste); Maxillaria bolivarensis C. Schweinf. (apparently a Maxillaria s. str.), disjunct from Venezuela (150–500 m, vert. Carib. Cord. Central); Scaphyglottis robusta B. R. Adams, another erstwhile Panamanian endemic (ca. 1150 m, vert. Carib. N Cord. de Talamanca); and Sobralia bouchei Ames & C. Schweinf., also attributed to Nicaragua and Panama (850–900 m, vert. Carib. N Cord. de Talamanca). The name Sobralia bouchei was synonymized under S. wilsoniana Rolfe in Robert L. Dressler’s Manual treatment; here Dressler seems to give tacit approval to the resurrection of S. bouchei, but whether for the same or a different sp. is not entirely clear (S. wilsoniana is also stated to range from “Nic.–Pan.” in the Manual).

Finally, Myoxanthus speciosus (Luer) Luer, treated formally in the Manual on the basis of a single, somewhat dubious voucher, gets an ostensibly more credible one (Bogarín et al. 1420, “JBL”; ca. 2450 m, vert. Pac. N Cord. de Talamanca). It bears mentioning that the vast majority of the vouchers cited in this paper are spirit collections, made by the authors and their close colleagues and deposited in the herbarium of the Jardín Botánico Lankester (for which “JBL” is, as far as we can determine, a still-unofficial acronym). Given the high maintenance requirements and notorious vulnerability of spirit collections, we worry about the permanence of these records.

With the exception of Sobralia bouchei, every sp. dealt with in this paper is illustrated by both a line drawing (at least of a single flower or, in most cases, a full-page, composite rendering) and a color photo from life.

Cabrera, L. I., G. A. Salazar, M. W. Chase, S. J. Mayo, J. Bogner & P. Dávila. 2008. Phylogenetic relationships of aroids and duckweeds (Araceae) inferred from coding and noncoding plastid DNA. Amer. J. Bot. 95: 1153–1165.

This, “the first molecular phylogenetic study that includes a nearly complete generic sample of aroids and all extant genera of duckweeds,” provides (among many other things) more evidence (if any were needed) that Lemnaceae is nested within Araceae—though subbasally, and nowhere near subterminal Pistia, as originally envisioned.

Dressler, R. L. & F. Pupulin. 2008. La identidad de Sobralia leucoxantha, con tres especies nuevas, dos muy afines y una más lejana/The identity of Sobralia leucoxantha, with three new species, two closely allied and one more distant. Orquideología 25: 134–158.

The “Sobralia leucoxantha complex” (Orchidaceae) is defined by having “irregular (not gregarious) flowering, flowers lasting about three days, and often with inflorescences borne on leafless stems.”  Two of the new spp. described in this paper (las “muy afines”) are assigned to this complex, and separated from true S. leucoxantha Rchb. f. in a dichotomous, indented key. These novelties, both endemic to Costa Rica, are: Sobralia blancoi Dressler & Pupulin, known only from the Reserva Forestal Alberto M. Brenes on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Tilarán, which differs from S. leucoxantha in its distinctively colored flowers with a shorter column; and S. pendula Dressler & Pupulin, recorded from the Atlantic slope (and near the Continental Divide) of the Cordilleras de Tilarán, Central, and de Talamanca, differing from the two aforementioned spp. by its flowers with unique coloration and a keeled labellum. The third new sp., similar but apparently more distantly related (“mas lejana”) to all of the above, is Sobralia aspera Dressler & Pupulin, likewise a Costa Rican endemic, collected once from the Atlantic slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca. All of these new spp. are known from just one or a few specimens, mostly prepared from cultivated plants by the first author. These concepts thus remain to be rigorously tested in the great outdoors.

The status of the “real” Sobralia leucoxantha remains somewhat nebulous to us. That sp. was portrayed in the first author’s Manual treatment as quite widespread in Costa Rica, on both slopes, mainly from 1000–2000 m elevation, and a range map provided in this paper (serving for all four spp. discussed) depicts more or less the same in-country distribution for S. leucoxantha. Yet, we imagine this geographic range has been somewhat reduced by the segregation of at least two of the new spp. described here, and the possibility of additional shrinkage is suggested by the following statement (p. 153): “there are other slender plants superficially similar to S. leucoxantha that...occur widely in Costa Rica and western Panama, but we are unsure, at this time, how many species are involved.” Presumably, the range map still includes these somewhat aberrant populations. With existing herbarium specimens apparently excluded as a source of information, the big picture may be a very long time in emerging.

All three new spp., together with Sobralia leucoxantha, are depicted in photos of fresh flowers, as well as the always excellent line drawings of the second author. The main text is fully bilingual (Spanish/English).

Fernández Casas, F. J. 2008. Cnidoscolorum notulæ (Euphorbiaceæ), 41–44. Fontqueria 55: 481–514.

This author has taken it upon himself to validate four new taxa in Cnidoscolus sect. Calyptrosolen (Müll. Arg.) Pax & K. Hoffm. that were first published, ineffectively and without Latin descriptions, in a 1975 Ph.D. thesis by Gary J. Breckon (MAPR), under the supervision of late Euphorbiaceae mastermind Grady L. Webster (DAV). Breckon himself does not appear to have been directly involved in the present effort, but his original names are used and ascribed to him alone; moreover, though it might be argued on a technicality that Fernández Casas has provided the validating Latin descriptions, these are acknowledged as “libere translata” from Breckon’s lengthy English versions, and appear to incorporate all of the same data. Thus, after some deliberation and consultation with esteemed colleagues at MO, we are persuaded that the author citations for these names should be qualified as “in Fern. Casas” (rather than “ex”).

Having said all of the above, we are somewhat annoyed to learn that one of these new taxa has been collected on Costa Rican soil. Annoyed because we had already perused Breckon’s thesis looking for just this sort of thing, and also because the Manual Euphorbiaceae treatment, by José González (LSCR), has already been edited and is slated for imminent publication. The taxon of interest is Cnidoscolus megacanthus Breckon, clearly the same entity that was treated as “Cnidoscolus sp. A” in Webster’s (2001) Flora de Nicaragua account of the genus. As it turns out, neither Breckon nor Webster attributed this taxon to Costa Rica, so we are off the hook on that score; both authors specified the geographic range as Mexico to northern Nicaragua. Fernández Casas, however, cites two Costa Rican collections of C. megacanthus, both gathered 30 years ago by MO savant Ron Liesner in Parque Nacional Santa Rosa. These specimens (just one of which we have found) had been registered in TROPICOS under the name Cnidoscolus aconitifolius (Mill.) I. M. Johnst. (so determined by Fernández Casas himself, as recently as 2001). We gather (mainly from Flora de Nicaragua) that the principal distinction from the familiar, cultivated C. aconitifolius (which belongs to the same section) is reflected in the epithet of the new sp., viz., the presence of stout, triangular spines on the branches of the latter. In addition, the petioles and inflorescences of C. megacanthus are alleged to possess abundant urticating trichomes, sparse or absent in C. aconitifolius (and, probably germane in this regard, the label notes for both Liesner collections allude to “stinging”). These features are indeed appreciable in the scant material at hand. Interestingly, although the Flora costaricensis Euphorbiaceae treatment by William Burger (F) and Michael Huft (1995) does not distinguish a separate taxon corresponding to C. megacanthus, the description of C. aconitifolius in that work includes the phrase “sometimes with broad-based thorn-like structures to 8 mm high,” undoubtedly inspired by the Liesner collections. Now we must scramble to evaluate the former entity and, if necessary, add it to the Manual treatment. Features a distribution map for the new sp., plus several photos from herbarium material. Bilingual (English/Latin), with the description also in Spanish and the abstract in five languages!

Gerlach, G. & A. Romero-González. 2008. Stanhopeinae mesoamericanae IV: las Coryanthes de Charles W. Powell. Lankesteriana 8: 33–42.

Based on their meticulous analyses of original descriptions and type material, the authors conclude that the binomials Coryanthes hunteriana Schltr. and C. powellii Schltr. (Orchidaceae)—both founded on Panamanian collections and described in the same paper—apply to a single sp. Thus, C. powellii is relegated to synonymy under C. hunteriana, apparently establishing a precedent in this regard. Because the name C. hunteriana was used for an accepted sp. in the Manual, and C. powellii nowhere mentioned, that ought to be the end of the story for us. However, the authors contend that there has been general confusion regarding the correct names for all the Coryanthes spp. occurring in southern Central America, perhaps requiring name changes for all three spp. treated in the Manual (as C. horichiana Jenny, C. hunteriana, and C. picturata Rchb. f.). First, they allege that the sp. called C. hunteriana in the most recent monograph of the genus (Gerlach & Schill, Trop. Subtrop. Pflanzenwelt 83: 1–205. 1993) is in reality C. picturata, while the sp. dubbed C. picturata in the same work actually corresponds to the recently described C. kaiseriana G. Gerlach [see The Cutting Edge 11(1): 5, Jan. 2004]. As for Coryanthes horichiana: that is conspecific with C. hunteriana, and becomes a synonym thereof. Because these claims involve an author (Gerlach) essentially tearing down his own work, we are inclined to take them more seriously than we might otherwise have done. On the other hand, we have no idea how strictly Manual Orchidaceae coordinator Robert L. Dressler applied these names vis-à-vis the aforementioned monograph, so cannot at this point fully assess the consequences of these revelations to us. One thing that does seem certain is that we have lost a sp. from the flora, as we had believed C. kaiseriana to be the fourth Costa Rican sp. of its genus. Illustrated with photos of critical herbarium specimens, as well as color photos of living material.

Gilman, A. C. & C. M. Taylor. 2008. Rubiacearum americanarum magna hama pars XXI. A new species of Palicourea (Psychotrieae) from Costa Rica. Novon 18: 487–489.

The new sp. is Palicourea palustris A. C. Gilman & C. M. Taylor, so far known only from 1600–2000 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of the Costa Rican Cordillera Central (the so-called “Barva transect”), where it has been collected almost exclusively by the first author. Here it is restricted to “extremely swampy sites,” as implied by the epithet. This habitat preference distinguishes the new sp. from the parapatric P. salicifolia Standl., apparently its closest relative. The latter sp. favors “relatively dry sites” in oak forest, and differs morphologically from P. palustris in its smaller stipules, smaller leaves with fewer veins, and shorter corolla lobes. Illustrated with black-and-white photos of living and dried specimens.

Hofreiter, A. 2008. A revision of Bomarea subgenus Bomarea s. str. section Multiflorae (Alstroemeriaceae). Syst. Bot. 33: 661–684.

The study group is accepted as comprising a total of 33 spp., of which seven are recorded from Costa Rica and/or Panama (not five, as per the author’s opening discussion). Five spp. of Bomarea sect. Multiflorae are attributed to Costa Rica, compared with nine in Francisco Morales’s Manual treatment of Alstroemeriaceae [in which only Bomarea edulis (Tussac) Herb. and B. obovata Herb. do not belong to this group]. The discrepancy owes to three factors: the relegation of the once-collected B. porschiana Cufod. (treated in full in the Manual) to second-class status in an appendix headed “Unclear or Excluded Binomials” (as “a synonym of B. andreana or B. costaricensis”); the author’s failure to include Costa Rica within the geographic range of Bomarea chiriquina Killip (even though the Manual voucher for that sp. is annotated as B. chiriquina by “Hofreiter, 2007” at MO); and the synonymization of two names accepted in the Manual, viz., Bomarea acuminata Baker (under B. andreana Baker) and B. caldasii (Kunth) Herb. [under B. multiflora (L. f.) Mirb.]. The disappearance of the name B. caldasii is somewhat perplexing, even to the author, who notes that Bomarea multiflora “seems not to occur in Costa Rica.” (nor does he attribute it to Panama). The only clue we can find is the Panamanian voucher for B. caldasii cited in Flora mesoamericana Vol. 6, which is determined at MO as B. acutifolia (Link & Otto) Herb. by “A. Hofreiter, 2006.” The author sheds some light on his methods by stating (in the opening discussion) that “sympatric but distinct and apparently non-interbreeding populations are treated as different species,” and that “allopatric populations are treated as distinct species, when consistent morphological differences exist that are not within the range of variation observed in other populations.” That sounds good, but the application of such criteria must be a tall order for an individual who, by all the evidence, has very little field experience in the Neotropics (and apparently none in Central America). Furthermore, this publication reveals certain inconsistencies and oversights (some noted already) that may not bode well for sound taxonomic work. For example, we were about to declare that we had lost another endemic, on seeing that the author had cited three Panamanian specimens of Bomarea costaricensis Kraenzl.; however, we quickly discovered that all three (as well as both Costa Rican specimens!) are determined at MO as B. andreana by “A. Hofreiter, 2007.” Subsequently, we found a few other discrepancies of this nature. On the surface, at least, this is a nice looking paper, with keys (dichotomous and indented!) to the subgenera of Bomarea and the spp. of sect. Multiflorae, synonymy, typology, and serviceable descriptions at all levels, representative specimen citations, distribution maps, and photos (mostly from herbarium material, all unvouchered). Time will tell whether the taxonomy passes muster.

Jenny, R. 2008. Nome definitivo per una vecchia specie: Gongora boracayanensis/An old species finally named: Gongora boracayanensis. Caesiana 30: 17–24.

At first glance, the epithet of this new sp. did not suggest a Costa Rican connection, but a second look proved otherwise. Gongora boracayanensis Jenny, W. E. Higgins & Dalström (Orchidaceae) hails from the private “Refugio de Vida Silvestre Boracayán” (this is a new one for us), at 600–700 m elevation in (apparently) the northern Fila Costeña, probably in the region of Fila Tinamastes. Somewhat amazingly (even to the author), this is typified by a herbarium specimen collected (“unknowingly and serendipitously”) in the wild by someone other than an orchid hobbyist (although three paratypes, indicated as having originated in the same region, were prepared by the author from cultivated plants). As it turns out, the new sp. was illustrated in color on the cover of Jenny’s 1993 monograph of Gongora [see The Cutting Edge 2(1): 7–8, Jan. 1995] under the name G. quinquenervis Ruiz & Pav., ironically revealed in the same work to have been long misapplied to a variety of spp. Unfortunately, this paper provides only a description of the new sp.; there is no discussion of the features ostensibly distinguishing it from G. quinquenervis or other congeners. More unfortunately yet, there appears to be no Latin whatsoever (we looked long and hard), meaning that the name is invalidly published (we don’t think Italian counts!). Too bad, as this is a rather attractive entity, judging from the numerous color photos, and we are always keen on Costa Rican endemics. We’ll accept it anyway for our running count of new Costa Rican Orchidaceae published since 1993, which now stands at 262, including the other novelties reported in this column (see under Bogarín et al., Dressler & Pupulin, and Pupulin & Merino). Entirely bilingual (Italian/English).

Knapp, W. M. & R. F. C. Naczi. 2008. Taxonomy, morphology, and geographic distribution of Juncus longii (Juncaceae). Syst. Bot. 33: 685–694.

The focus of this paper is on the sp. mentioned in the title, endemic to the continental United States. It is distinguished, in a dichotomous key, from two more widespread spp., Juncus biflorus Elliott and J. marginatus Rostk., the three together comprising the “ Juncus marginatus complex.”  The Manual Juncaceae treatment (by co-PI Barry Hammel) followed Flora mesoamericana Vol. 6 and other recent neotropical literature in applying the name J. marginatus to our sole representative of this group. However, to judge from various statements and maps in this paper (which cites only North American collections), it would appear that all Mesoamerican material is correctly J. biflorus, with J. marginatus occurring disjunctly north of Mexico and in South America (Peru, Bolivia, and western Brazil).

Kriebel, R., R. Aguilar & F. Almeda. 2008. A new and threatened arborescent Miconia (Melastomataceae: Miconieae) from the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. ser. 4, 59: 489–495.

As far as we know, Miconia osaensis Aguilar, Kriebel & Almeda is the first new sp. of Melastomataceae to be described from Costa Rica since the publication (2007) of Manual Vol. 6, which included the treatment of this family. Just four collections are cited, all made by the redoubtable Reinaldo Aguilar from the Península de Osa at 100–350 m elevation. The new sp. most closely resembles Miconia centrosperma Almeda, of eastern Panama, differing inter alia in its larger inflorescences and fruits and details of seed morphology. As indicated in the title, it is especially noteworthy (and also different from M. centrosperma) by virtue of its arborescent habit, attaining 15–20 m (according to the Latin description), or 9–25 m (according to the English). Features a distribution map, a composite line drawing, and color photos of living material.

Li, J., J. G. Conran, D. C. Christophel, Z.-M. Li, L. Li & H.-W. Li. 2008. Phylogenetic relationships of the Litsea complex and core Laureae (Lauraceae) using ITS and ETS sequences and morphology. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 95: 580–599.

We learn that Litsea is polyphyletic, but as no New World spp. were sampled, the potential consequences for L. glaucescens Kunth (the sole Costa Rican representative) are unclear. However, since the generic type is L. chinensis Lam., we fear the worst.

Maas-van de Kamer, H. & P. J. M. Maas. The Cannaceae of the world. Blumea 53: 247–318.

When it rains it pours, where the monogeneric family Cannaceae is concerned. This opus magnus comes hot on the heels of a similar global monograph by Japanese botanist Nobuyuki Tanaka [see The Cutting Edge 8(3): 9, Jul. 2001] who, not surprisingly, had focused on the Asian elements of Canna. However, as Tanaka himself had acknowledged, Canna is apparently indigenous only in the New World, though it was introduced to the Old World at an early date. The present authors, firmly grounded in the neotropical flora (and contributors of the Manual Cannaceae treatment), likewise believe Canna to be of New World origin, and treat “almost all” of the names based on Old World material as synonyms of the widespread and protean Canna indica L. Also assigned to the synonymy of C. indica is Canna generalis L. H. Bailey & E. Z. Bailey, a name widely used in horticultural circles and mentioned in the Manual (as C. ×generalis). The total number of sp. in the genus is reduced from 19 (fide Tanaka) to 10 (as already indicated in the Manual), and all infraspecific taxa are dispensed with. Otherwise, there are no substantive changes to the authors’ Manual account, which treated three spp.: Canna glauca L., C. indica, and C. tuerckheimii Kraenzl. We do note, however, the questioned attribution to Costa Rica (also mapped) of Canna paniculata Ruiz & Pav., a sp. that is otherwise disjunct between southern Mexico and South America, and thus might reasonably be expected in the intermediate area. Nowhere do the authors appear to elaborate on this intriguing suggestion. Features technical descriptions of the family, genus, and spp., synonymy and typology at all levels, a dichotomous (but non-indented) key to spp., distribution summaries, notes, and other information (as available) for each sp., and, at the end, sections on doubtful and excluded names and invalid names and indices to vernacular and scientific names. The introductory part addresses taxonomic history, morphology, floral biology, distribution, uses, and vernacular names. Range maps are presented for all spp., and each is illustrated by color plates of living material and (in some cases) a composite line drawing. Apart from types, specimens are not cited.

Martínez-y-Pérez, J. L., T. Mejía-Saulés & V. Sosa. 2008. A taxonomic revision of Luziola (Poaceae: Oryzeae). Syst. Bot. 33: 702–718.

This is a fine revision, from the looks of things, but there is nothing terribly new here either for the Manual or Flora mesoamericana Vol. 6. The total number of spp. in the aquatic, monoecious Luziola is down from 12 (as stated in both of the foregoing sources) to nine, but no Mesoamerican taxa are affected by the reduction. The same three spp. treated in Francisco Morales’s (INB) Manual contribution endure, and even the anomalous specimen discussed under L. peruviana is confirmed as such. Includes full synonymy and typology, detailed genus and sp. descriptions, a dichotomous, indented key to spp., phenology and distribution summaries, representative (but extensive) specimen citations, rather brief discussions, distribution maps, and a section on excluded names. Various morphological features are discussed (with some illustrations) in the introductory part. Two spp. (neither in Costa Rica) are depicted in excellent composite line drawings.

McDade, L. A., T. F. Daniel & C. A. Kiel. 2008. Toward a comprehensive understanding of phylogenetic relationships among lineages of Acanthaceae s. l. (Lamiales). Amer. J. Bot. 95: 1136–1152.

More evidence that Avicennia is an integral member of Acanthaceae [see, e.g., The Cutting Edge 15(4): 2, Oct. 2008]. Furthermore, Lepidagathis is “not monophyletic” (it is diphyletic, judging from the cladogram), though the potential consequences of this (if any) for the single Costa Rican sp., L. alopecuroidea (Vahl) R. Br. ex Griseb., are highly speculative.

Nivia Ruiz, Á. & A. Cascante Marín. 2008. Distribución de las formas de vida en la flora costarricense. Brenesia 69: 1–17.

This investigation (based on data compiled partly from the Manual) is similar to that already published in the introductory volume (Vol. 1) of the Manual (see especially the “Análisis” section of the “Vegetación” chapter), except that pteridophytes are omitted. The results are also rather similar. Herbs were found to be the predominant life-form in Costa Rica (46% of all spp.), with epiphytes particularly well represented among them. The percentage of epiphytic spp. in the Costa Rica flora (24.7%) is about twice the global average (and the authors note that the addition of pteridophytes would jack the figure up to about 28%). Moreover, epiphytes (again, omitting pteridophytes) contribute about 45% of the total endemism in the country, with Araceae, Bromeliaceae, and Orchidaceae alone accounting for 40%. Orchidaceae were the dominant family of herbs, Rubiaceae of shrubs, and Fabaceae of both trees and climbers. This is just a small sample of the many kinds of information presented here. The data are summarized by family in an appendix, and another appendix creatively defines the various life-forms accepted for the study by means of a dichotomous key.

Pupulin, F. & G. Merino. 2008. Two new species of Kefersteinia (Orchidaceae: Zygopetalinae). Willdenowia 38: 187–193.

Kefersteinia saccata Pupulin, “the smallest species of the genus in Mesoamerica,” is based on a single specimen, ostensibly having originated from ca. 200 m elevation on the Llanura de San Carlos, on the northern Atlantic slope of Costa Rica. Typically, this was prepared by the author from a cultivated plant and exists only as a spirit collection. The new sp., the eleventh of its genus in Costa Rica, is said to be most closely related to Kefersteinia retanae G. Gerlach and K. wercklei Schltr. The other sp. described in this paper is Ecuadorian. Both are illustrated with superb composite line-drawings by the first author.

Rosen, D. J., S. L. Hatch & R. Carter. 2008. Taxonomy and nomenclature of three closely related species of Eleocharis subgenus Limnochloa (Cyperaceae). Blumea 53: 235–246.

Just one of these three spp. occurs in Costa Rica, that being Eleocharis mutata (L.) Roem. & Schult., duly included in the Manual Cyperaceae treatment by Jorge Gómez-Laurito (USJ). So there is little new here for us (but we do note the northward extension of its geographic range into southern Texas). A rigorously presented work with most of the standard features, including a dichotomous key, detailed descriptions, range maps, and excellent composite drawings; however, there are no specimen citations.

Withner, C. L. & P. A. Harding. 2004. The cattleyas and their relatives: the debatable epidendrums. Timber Press, Portland, OR/Cambridge, UK.

We once reflected, while laboring on the preparation of the Manual Orchidaceae treatment, that coming to grips with orchid taxonomy was like trying to hit a moving target. What better example than Prosthechea, for nearly two centuries a forgotten and unused name, bursting back on the scene in 1998 to claim 24 spp. in Costa Rica alone (the snapshot preserved in the Manual), and within just six years shorn of all but two of these. Somehow we overlooked this new book, probably because we did not recognize several of the generic names and assumed they referred to Old World taxa. Not so; all the taxa treated in this lavishly illustrated volume are strictly neotropical. What we have here reflects a familiar phenomenon, the inexorable decay of Orchidaceae genera into ever smaller units, entailing the creation of new generic names and the resurrection of previously obscure ones. In this case, the authors have based their decisions on morphological criteria, bolstered by their reinterpretation of the same molecular-based cladograms generated by Wesley E. Higgins (SEL) and adduced by him [see The Cutting Edge 13(1): 7, Jan. 2006] to rationalize the segregation of Oestlundia and Prosthechea from Encyclia (a prior segregate from Epidendrum). And so it goes. These authors retain Oestlundia (not definitely known from Costa Rica), in the same sense as Higgins, but fragment Prosthechea s. l. into five smaller genera, under the following names: Anacheilium Rchb. ex Hoffmanns., Hormidium (Lindl.) Heynh., Panarica Withner & P. A. Harding gen. nov., Pollardia Withner & P. A. Harding gen. nov., and Prosthechea s. str. Additionally, a small group of spp. is removed from Epidendrum (in the sense of the Manual) under the generic name Coilostylis Raf., a move for which no phylogenetic justification is offered. All of these genera are distinguished in a dichotomous (but non-indented key), which does not include Epidendrum. All with the exception of Encyclia and Epidendrum are treated more elaborately in the main text of the book, with lists of and keys to spp. and comprehensive individual sp. entries, each featuring synonymy, a brief, technical description (with “measurements” given separately), summaries of distribution and phenology, culture tips, and (irregularly) comments.

Here is how it all shakes down for Costa Rica. According to this new system, Prosthechea s. l. (i.e., in the sense of the Manual) is reduced from a worldwide total of “ca. 90 spp.” to a mere 16, of which just two are left in Costa Rica: P. ochracea (Lindl.) W. E. Higgins and P. ortizii (Dressler) W. E. Higgins. Easy come, easy go!  Hormidium harbors a total of four spp., three represented in Costa Rica: the former Prosthechea pseudopygmaea (Finet) W. E. Higgins, P. pygmaea (Hook. ex Lindl.) W. E. Higgins, and P. racemifera (Dressler) W. E. Higgins. Panarica (its name compounded from “Panama” and “Costa Rica”) accounts for six spp., including five in Costa Rica: the former Prosthechea brassavolae (Rchb. f.) W. E. Higgins, P. ionocentra (Rchb. f.) W. E. Higgins, P. neglecta Pupulin, P. prismatocarpa (Rchb. f.) W. E. Higgins, and P. tardiflora Pupulin. Pollardia, with a total of 16 spp., has three Costa Rican representatives: the former Prosthechea campylostalix (Rchb. f.) W. E. Higgins, P. livida (Lindl.) W. E. Higgins, and P. varicosa (Bateman ex Lindl.) W. E. Higgins. The remaining 11 spp. assigned to Prosthechea in the Manual belong in Anacheilium, with 59 spp. total, by far the largest of the segregate genera. Also referred to Anacheilium is the former Prosthechea chimborazoensis (Schltr.) W. E. Higgins, which, though not mentioned in the Manual, may occur in Costa Rica. All the spp. treated in the Manual under Prosthechea are accounted for in the new system and, more significantly, no spp. unaccounted for in the Manual are explicitly attributed to Costa Rica. Turning finally to Coilostylis, it absorbs a total of eight spp. from Epidendrum, including those treated in the Manual as E. ciliare L., E. glumibracteum Rchb. f., E. oerstedii Rchb. f., and E. parkinsonianum Hook.

With just two exceptions, all the necessary new combinations implied in the foregoing paragraph are validated in the names of “Withner & P. A. Harding.”  It bears mentioning that, for both nomenclatural and taxonomic reasons, these authors use the name Coilostylis clavatum (Raf.) Withner & P. A. Harding for the sp. called Epidendrum glumibracteum in the Manual. Also, since Prosthechea crassilabia (Poepp. & Endl.) Carnevali & I. Ramírez was recently shown to be the correct name for the sp. called P. vespa (Vell.) W. E. Higgins in the Manual [see The Cutting Edge 12(4): 3, Oct. 2005], the latter name should be replaced by Anacheilium crassilabium (Poepp. & Endl.) Withner, P. A. Harding & Campacci by Manual users. There you have one of the exceptions, the other being Anacheilium spondiadum (Rchb. f.) Nir ex Withner & P. A. Harding. Four other implied combinations were unnecessary, having been already available, viz., Anacheilium cochleatum (L.) Hoffmanns., A. fragrans (Sw.) Acuña, Hormidium pseudopygmaeum Finet, and H. pygmaeum (Hook.) Benth. & Hook. f. ex Hemsl.

A major nomenclatural problem that we chanced to encounter (probably old news by now) concerns the genus Pollardia which, in terms of its taxonomic circumscription, overlaps considerably with the previously published Pseudencyclia Chiron & V. P. Castro [see The Cutting Edge 11(1): 3–4, Jan. 2004], nowhere mentioned by the present authors. Indeed, as luck would have it, Pollardia actually includes the generic type of Pseudencyclia (Epidendrum michuacanum Lex.) and so, by our reckoning, is an illegitimate name under ICBN Art. 52.1. Pseudencyclia therefore becomes the correct name for the taxon called Pollardia by Withner and Harding, for those inclined to adopt their classification (the necessary combinations in Pseudencyclia being already available for the three Costa Rican spp. involved).

Four new spp. are described in this book, all in Anacheilium, but none relevant to our narrow interests.

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