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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XVII, Number 1, January 2010

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

Adams, R. P., J. A. Bartel & R. A. Price. 2009. A new genus, Hesperocyparis, for the cypresses of the Western Hemisphere (Cupressaceae). Phytologia 91: 160–185.

Who’da thunk that the description of a monotypic genus from Vietnam would have such unsettling and protracted nomenclatural effects on its New World relatives? Yet that is what the 2002 publication of Xanthocyparis Farjon & T. H. Nguyên has meant for the New World spp. that had been classed for decades in Cupressus. Ensuing phylogenetic studies revealed an Old World/New World dichotomy in Cupressus s. l., in which the New World elements were related more closely to Juniperus than to their Old World supposed congeners. A taxonomic resolution was sought that separated the New World Cupressus spp. from the Old World Cupressus s. str., while maintaining Juniperus as a distinct genus. This was initially accomplished [see The Cutting Edge 14(1): 7, Jan. 2007] by segregating the New World spp.—together with Xanthocyparis, which surprisingly, grouped with them—under the old but long-forgotten genus name Callitropsis Oerst. Shortly thereafter, conservation of Xanthocyparis was proposed (by the first author of the name) and quickly recommended for adoption [see The Cutting Edge 15(1): 5, Jan. 2008], despite that fact that all of the “necessary” new combinations in Callitropsis had already been validated. This action, if consummated, would mean that a genus including both Xanthocyparis vietnamensis Farjon & T. H. Nguyên and the erstwhile New World members of Cupressus would have to be called Xanthocyparis (though none of the indicated new combinations has yet been validated). But the present authors, bringing more molecular data to bear on the matter, propose yet another solution that should make all parties happy: both Callitropsis and Xanthocyparis will live on, albeit as monotypic genera (the former comprising the North American sp. long known as Cupressus nootkatensis D. Don). Of course, this means that the remaining New World spp. formerly assigned to Cupressus will wind up in a third genus, lacking a name. As luck would have it, the authors are all too happy to oblige with Hesperocyparis Bartel & R. A. Price gen. nov., and proceed to trot out all the “necessary” new combinations at sp. rank, these credited solely to Bartel. So rechristened is the former Cupressus lusitanica Mill., introduced in Costa Rica, as well as C. benthamii Endl., cited in synonymy in the Manual.

Alfarhan, A. H., M. Sivadasan & J. Thomas. 2009. (1912) Proposal to conserve the name Loxsoma (Loxsomataceae) with that spelling. Taxon 58: 1370–1371.

The family mentioned in the title comprises two genera, with Loxsoma (or whatever) restricted to New Zealand and only Loxsomopsis (the spelling of which has never been in contention) occurring in the New World (including Costa Rica). Thus our concern in connection with this article is mainly with the family name, which would automatically (as we understand it) be fixed with the spelling Loxsomataceae were this proposal to succeed. Indeed, that spelling has already been used in numerous influential publications, including Flora mesoamericana Vol. 1 (1995) and Mabberley’s plant-book (2008). However, the name of the type genus was originally spelled Loxoma, yielding Loxomataceae for the family name—a spelling that has also been adopted in several important works, e.g., Tryon & Tryon’s Ferns and allied plants (1982) and the reigning fern classification of Smith et al. [see The Cutting Edge 13(4): 9–10, Oct. 2006]. While Loxomataceae must be judged as correct, strictly speaking, we wouldn’t mind not having to think about whether it is the genus name (Loxsomopsis) or the family name that lacks the “s.” Whatever.

The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. 2009. An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 161: 105–121.

We last heard from these guys six years ago [see The Cutting Edge 10(3): 5–6, Jul. 2003], when APG II was published in this same journal. Thankfully, the changes this time around are less extensive, suggesting that an equilibrium is gradually being achieved (as would be expected, assuming everyone is on the right track). Many of the new changes are at the ordinal level (e.g., newly recognized orders and novel ordinal placements of families), and thus are of little practical concern to us, given the alphabetical presentation of families in the Manual. We are much more interested in goings-on at the family level, including the following families that are newly (vis-à-vis APG II) segregated: Calophyllaceae (from Clusiaceae), Capparaceae and Cleomaceae (both from Brassicaceae), Linderniaceae (from Plantaginaceae), Montiaceae and Talinaceae (both from Portulacaceae, leaving the latter monogeneric), and Schoepfiaceae (from Olacaceae). By the same token, a few families are lost: Limnocharitaceae is newly combined with Alismataceae, Myrsinaceae and Theophrastaceae with Primulaceae, and Sparganiaceae with Typhaceae (which does not directly affect Costa Rican floristics). Several “taxa of uncertain position” in APG II have found a home, viz., Bdallophyton (in Cytinaceae, of the Malvales) and Metteniusa (in Metteniusaceae, in the “general area” of Icacinaceae—imagine that!). A major step forward (in our opinion) from APG II is the elimination of the so-called “bracketed” families—i.e., families that could be included optionally in other related families. In most of these cases, the broader circumscriptions were retained: Agapanthaceae and Alliaceae have been lumped into Amaryllidaceae (that name having been recently proposed for conservation against the older Alliaceae); Agavaceae, Hyacinthaceae, Laxmanniaceae, and Ruscaceae into Asparagaceae; Asphodelaceae and Hemerocallidaceae into Xanthorrhoeaceae; Cochlospermaceae into Bixaceae; Memecylaceae into Melastomataceae; Desfontainiaceae into Columelliaceae; Fumariaceae into Papaveraceae; Lobeliaceae into Campanulaceae; Nyssaceae into Cornaceae; Pellicieraceae into Tetrameristaceae; Quiinaceae into Ochnaceae; Ternstroemiaceae into Pentaphylacaceae; Turneraceae into Passifloraceae; and Valerianaceae into Caprifoliaceae (though, rather perversely it seems, Adoxaceae is kept separate, despite harboring genera like Sambucus and Viburnum, traditionally included in Caprifoliaceae). A companion paper in this same issue details a new infrafamilial classification of Amaryllidaceae, Asparagaceae, and Xanthorrhoeaceae, which we mention only in passing, as we do not generally traffic in subfamilies, etc. In a few cases, APG III has opted to maintain “bracketed” families: Cabombaceae and Nymphaeaceae are kept separate, as are Dichapetalaceae and Trigoniaceae (from Chrysobalanaceae), Erythroxylaceae and Rhizophoraceae, and Krameriaceae and Zygophyllaceae. Explicit rationale is provided for most of the foregoing decisions.

One drawback of APG III is that it is not self-contained. Many radical changes that were implemented in APG I and II are not alluded to here; for example, readers coming in from the cold will have few if any clues that Amaranthaceae now includes Chenopodiaceae, Apocynaceae includes Asclepiadaceae, Boraginaceae includes Hydrophyllaceae and Lennoaceae, Celastraceae includes Hippocrateaceae, Malvaceae includes Bombacaceae, Sterculiaceae, and Tiliaceae, Santalaceae includes Eremolepidaceae and Viscaceae, etc. The fact that genera are sparingly mentioned also obscures the non-traditional circumscriptions of families such as Cannabaceae, Icacinaceae, Lamiaceae, Loganiaceae, Orobanchaceae, Plantaginaceae, Salicaceae, Scrophulariaceae, Ulmaceae, and Verbenaceae. There is no indication that Hydrocotyle and allied genera are now included in Araliaceae (rather than Apiaceae), to cite just one of innumerable similar cases, and the disposition of problematic genera such as Forchhammeria and Peltanthera cannot be divined. Insight on many of these issues can be found in APG II (particularly the list of “selected familial synonyms”), as well as Peter Stevens’s phenomenal Angiosperm Phylogeny Website, which is duly referenced (though even the latter provides no satisfaction where Forchhammeria is concerned!). Of course, many details remain unresolved, as the APG is not averse to admitting; for example, they state that “details in the area of Cistaceae–Sarcolaenaceae–Dipterocarpaceae remain unclear, and these families may need to be combined” (with Cistaceae being the oldest name). Furthermore, Lamiales is still a mess, and some APG members “would prefer a vastly expanded circumscription of Scrophulariaceae, far beyond what it has ever included” (which makes us feel better about treating it in the traditional sense for the Manual!). As a general rule, APG III has taken a conservative approach with respect to these kinds of issues, e.g., in Euphorbiaceae (they do not yet accept Peraceae), Salicaceae (they do not accept Samydaceae), and Olacaceae (they do not yet accept segregates such as Coulaceae and Erythropalaceae). But solid, steady progress has been made, and we now have a very useful consensus classification of the angiosperms. And for those who may be interested (count us out), an accompanying paper in this same issue debuts a formal suprafamilial classification of all “land plants” (i.e., vascular plants plus bryophytes), which comprise a single class (Equisetopsida) with 16 subclasses (Magnoliidae being congruent with “angiosperms”).

Archila Morales, F. 2002. Nuevas combinaciones en el género Lycaste (Orchidaceae). Revista Guatemal. 5(2): [58–66].

In this obscure publication, which has only now reached our library, are validated three combinations that we had believed were first made by Oakeley in 2007 [see The Cutting Edge 15(1): 10, Jan. 2008]. These are: Lycaste panamanensis (Fowlie) Archila, L. puntarenasensis (Fowlie) Archila, and L. xanthocheila (Fowlie) Archila. The two last-mentioned taxa were treated in the Manual as subspp. of Lycaste macrophylla (Poepp. & Endl.) Lindl., also the former disposition of L. panamanensis (which has lately been attributed to Costa Rica as well).

--. 2003. Nuevas especies y nuevas combinaciones Lycaste Lindl. (Orchidaceae). Revista Guatemal. 6(1): 79–88.

The new combinations Lycaste desboisiana (Cogn.) Archila and L. measuresiana (B. S. Williams) Archila reflect two additional elevations of erstwhile subspp. of L. macrophylla (Poeppl & Endl.) Lindl., only the second of which was later duplicated by Oakeley (see preceding entry). Both taxa have been attributed to Costa Rica. Of the five taxa here described as new, only one apparently pertains to Costa Rica: Lycaste panamensis Archila, proposed as a replacement name for the heterotypic L. panamanensis (Fowlie) Archila (see previous entry), the spelling of which does not sit well with the author. We would contend that the author’s strategy has produced nothing more than an illegitimate homonym.

Boggan, J. K., L. E. Skog & E. H. Roalson. 2008. A review of the neotropical genera Amalophyllon, Niphaea, and Phinaea (Gesneriaceae-Gloxinieae). Selbyana 29: 157–176.

We didn’t overlook this important paper, quite the opposite, in fact; but in our frantic scramble to incorporate its conclusions into the now “in press” Manual Gesneriaceae treatment, we forgot about writing a proper review. So now, here it is. Of the three genus names mentioned in the title, only Phinaea had previously been applied to Costa Rican material. However, it so happens that Amalophyllon, a name we had never seen that was originally ascribed to Scrophulariaceae, is our main concern. Molecular and morphological analyses involving these same authors had already established that Phinaea was polyphyletic, and promised the imminent description of a new genus [see The Cutting Edge 13(2): 9–10, Apr. 2006]. But apparently no new genus name is needed, as Amalophyllon turns out to be applicable to the taxon in question, and now embraces most of the spp. formerly included in Phinaea. The latter genus is accordingly reduced to just three spp., none of which occurs in Costa Rica (nor does Niphaea). Thirteen spp. of Amalophyllon are circumscribed and distinguished by means of a dichotomous and indented key. One of these sp. (from central Panama) is provisionally designated as “sp. A.” Eight new combinations are validated, all with the same authorship as the paper, and two new Amalophyllon spp. are described (by Boggan & L. E. Skog), neither from Costa Rica; the original A. rupestre Brandegee accounts for the remaining sp. Just one Amalophyllon sp. is definitely attributed to Costa Rica, that being A. laceratum (C. V. Morton) Boggan, L. E. Skog & Roalson; however, we believe that at least one other may be present. The authors are careful to point out that theirs is not a “complete revision,” as “most of these taxa are known only from single specimens or otherwise inadequate material.” That said, they do provide a tabular comparison of the three titular genera and a dichotomous, indented key to all the spp. in the group, as well as synonymy and typology at all ranks and a technical description of Amalophyllon (but not the other genera). Each sp. entry includes (when pertinent) a distribution summary, brief discussion, and representative specimen citations. Descriptions and illustrations (superb composite line drawings) are provided only for the three new sp. (including one of Niphaea). Sections on excluded spp. and “incertae sedis” terminate the paper. Two names (neither germane to Costa Rica) are lectotypified.

Clark, J. L. 2009. Systematics of Glossoloma (Gesneriaceae). Syst. Bot. Monogr. 88: 1–128.

This was stated to be in the works by the author, in his revision of the related genus Alloplectus [see The Cutting Edge 13(2): 3–4, Apr. 2006], and here it is, at 11:59 (and 59.9 seconds!) on December 31, vis-à-vis the publication of our next Manual volume. We’ll just squeeze it in! Luckily, rather few changes will be necessary, as the Manual Gesneriaceae treatment, by Ricardo Kriebel (NY), had already been revised to accommodate Glossoloma (as distinct from Alloplectus, in which most of its spp. had previously been included). This revision accepts a total of 27 spp. for the exclusively neotropical Glossoloma, of which seven are attributed to Costa Rica. None of the Costa Rican representatives is endemic, and five have long been known (by names in Alloplectus) to occur in the country. The two new additions are: Glossoloma cucullatum (C. V. Morton) J. L. Clark, which ranges mainly from southern Mexico to northern Nicaragua, but was collected once, long ago, in Costa Rica (at La Palma, by Pittier); and G. pedunculatum J. L. Clark sp. nov. (one of five sp. described as new), of Costa Rica (Atlantic slope of the Cordilleras de Tilarán, Central, and de Talamanca) and western Panama. The former sp. is a revelation for us, but the latter was already accounted for in the Manual draft as “Glossoloma sp. A.” Boasts all the standard features of a well-executed taxonomic revision, including dichotomous and indented keys, comprehensive specimen citations, range maps, and indices to exsiccatae and scientific names. Most spp. are illustrated, either with a composite line-drawing or a plate of black-and-white photos of living material; a color plate comprises the frontispiece. The introductory section deals with taxonomic history, generic delimitation and phylogeny (including a tabular comparison with four related genera), and morphology (with SEM micrographs of pollen). Infrageneric relationships have not yet been established, which explains why the spp. are presented in alphabetical order (we like that better anyway!).

Crespo, S. R. M. & W. Marcondes-Ferreira. 2009. Revisão taxonômica do gênero Curtia (Gentianaceae). Rodriguésia 60: 423–444.

As with the Clark revision of Glossoloma (see this column), this one came in just under the wire for our upcoming Vol. 5. Eight spp. are here ascribed to the exclusively neotropical Curtia, centered in Brazil, with none described as new. Just one of these is attributed to Costa Rica, that being C. tenella (Mart.) Cham. [which has often, in recent years, suffered a demotion to C. tenuifolia subsp. tenella (Mart.) Grothe & Maas]. The only other sp. extending into Mesoamerica is Curtia tenuifolia (Aubl.) Knobl., which has been collected in Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama, and thus might reasonably be expected to pop up in Costa Rica. Features synonymy and typology and technical descriptions at all levels, a dichotomous, indented key to spp., specimen citations, discussions, and distribution maps (though no indices). All the spp. are illustrated with composite line drawings, except for one, which was described too late to be fully considered for this revision.

Fryxell, P. A. 2009. A new South American subsection of Sida sect. Nelavaga (Malvaceae) with two new species. Lundellia 12: 15–27.

The only name we recognize here, in connection with Costa Rica, is Sida urens L. Curiously, the author cites no Costa Rican specimens of this widespread sp., not even the voucher provided in his Manual treatment of Malvaceae. We wonder what this means.

Grayum, M. H. 2009. Two new trifoliolate-leaved species of Cucurbitaceae (Cucurbiteae) from Central and South America. Novon 19: 465–474.

The two new spp. are Cayaponia hammelii Grayum and Cionosicys guabubu Grayum & J. A. González, both of which have been confused (together with numerous other spp.) with the ambiguously characterized Cayaponia granatensis Cogn. (the Colombian type of which has merely trilobate leaves). Cayaponia hammelii, with membranous leaves and relatively large, pendent staminate flowers, is widespread from Costa Rica to Ecuador, but seldom collected; the extremely large-flowered and -fruited Cionosicys guabubu (its epithet derived from an indigenous Nicaraguan name) appears restricted to southern Central American (Nicaragua through Panama). Both inhabit tropical wet forest at ca. 50–1200 m elevation. The generic distinctions between Cayaponia and Cionosicys are discussed in detail, and a dichotomous key is provided to distinguish the four described spp. of the latter genus. Both new spp. are depicted in black-and-white photos of herbarium specimens.

Lehtonen, S. 2009. Systematics of the Alismataceae—a morphological evaluation. Aquatic Bot. 91: 279–290.

The author touts this cladistic analysis of morphological data as having allowed “much wider taxon sampling than in recent molecular studies.” The results also differ: Limnocharitaceae, monophyletic according to molecular analyses, here emerges as paraphyletic with respect to Alismataceae. It will be interesting to see whether this notion is confirmed by future molecular studies with increased sampling. Whatever the case, the two families have now been combined by the powers-that-be (see under Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, this column).

Michael, P. W. 2009. Echinochloa colona versus “Echinochloa colonum” (Poaceae). Taxon 58: 1366–1368.

As one might deduce from the quote marks in its title, this paper makes a case for the perpetuation of Echinochloa colona (L.) Link (the spelling used in the Manual), on the grounds that classical Latin dictionaries commonly available in Linnaeus’s time condoned adjectival use of its epithet (as opposed to such dictionaries published more recently). This is comforting, as we had been bothered by a previous paper contending that colonum must stand as a noun used in apposition [see The Cutting Edge 13(2): 15, Apr. 2006].

Monro, A. K. 2009. A new species of Pilea (Urticaceae) from the Talamanca Mountains, Costa Rica. Phytotaxa 2: 24–28.

The epithet of Pilea matama A. K. Monro repeats the name of the ridge (fila), on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca, to which this endemic new sp. is virtually restricted (at elevations of ca. 1200–1500 m). This is an epiphytic sp. that is most similar to the more widespread and familiar P. imparifolia Wedd. and the recently described P. trichomanophylla A. K. Monro, with both of which it is compared in separate tables. The last-mentioned sp. remains a Panamanian endemic, as indicated in its protologue, despite the fact that it was subsequently reported from Costa Rica in these pages [see The Cutting Edge 9(4): 3, Oct. 2002]; the specimen on which that report was based (G. Herrera & Chacón 2658) is here cited as a paratype of P. matama. Illustrated with photographs of living material and a composite line drawing.

Montero-Castro, J. C. & M. Sousa-Peña. 2008. Brachistus knappiae (Solanaceae), a new species from Chiriquí, Panama. Brittonia 60: 167–170.

Brachistus knappiae Mont.-Castro & Sousa-Peña is nominally endemic to Prov. Chiriquí, Panama, but two of the cited collections (including the type) are from Cerro Pando, which sits on the border with Costa Rica; thus, this sp. will have to be included in full in the Manual. The new sp., depicted in an excellent composite line drawing, is most similar to the much more widespread B. stramoniifolius (Kunth) Miers, from which it differs in various floral details.

Morales, J. F. 2009. Orquídeas de Costa Rica/Orchids of Costa Rica. Vol. 3. Edit. INBio, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica. 168 pp.
--. 2009. Orquídeas de Costa Rica/Orchids of Costa Rica. Vol. 4. Edit. INBio, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica. 170 pp.
--. 2009. Orquídeas de Costa Rica/Orchids of Costa Rica. Vol. 5. Edit. INBio, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica. 176 pp.

The series of bilingual picture guides to Costa Rican orchids launched by INBio botanist Francisco Morales in 2005 is extended to five volumes, with no end in sight. See our review of the first two volumes [The Cutting Edge 15(2): 8, Apr. 2008] for a summary of the basic features. Unlike the earlier volumes, these three are thematic in nature, each limited to a single genus, in the traditional “lato” sense of the Manual. These comprise the three largest orchid genera in Costa Rica: Epidendrum (Vol. 3), Maxillaria sensu lato (Vol. 4), and Pleurothallis (Vol. 5). In each case, supraspecific taxonomic changes proposed since the 2003 publication of the Manual Orchidaceae treatment are summarized (though not necessarily adopted), and spp. newly described from or discovered in Costa Rica are enumerated. These latter additions, together with the absorption of Oerstedella [see The Cutting Edge 12(3): 5, Jul. 2005], have swollen the sp. total for Epidendrum (already the largest orchid genus in the country) to an estimated 185–190 (vs. 158 treated under that name in the Manual). Of these, 70 spp. are featured in Chico’s Vol. 3, with an additional 17 having been included in the first two volumes. The sp. total for Maxillaria sensu lato has scarcely changed, but the genus has lately been fragmented into numerous smaller genera [see The Cutting Edge 15(2): 3–4, Apr. 2008], all of which are accepted in Chico’s Vol. 4. The latter depicts 69 spp. in total, supplementing the eight spp. included in earlier volumes. For his Vol. 5, Chico wisely elected to stay the course with Pleurothallis in the traditional sense, in view of the conflicting recent classifications of Pridgeon and Chase [see The Cutting Edge 9(1): 9–10, Jan. 2002] and Luer [see The Cutting Edge 11(3): 10–11, Jul. 2004], and the general lack of confidence in either. His photos (uniformly excellent, by the way, throughout all three volumes) illustrate a total of 70 Pleurothallis spp. (with five having been dispatched in previous volumes), of the 161 now estimated for Costa Rica (vs. 152 according to the Manual). The feature on plants that resemble orchids is continued in these volumes, with Maianthemum (Convallariaceae) featured in Vol. 3 and Xiphidium (Haemodoraceae) in Vol. 4. These concise, authoritative, and beautifully illustrated little guides should on the shelf of anyone with an interest in identifying Costa Rican orchids. Even though they are not (yet?) comprehensive, every picture is invaluable.

--. 2009. Una nueva especie y novedades nomenclaturales en el género Meliosma (Sabiaceae). J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 3: 535–540.

The new sp., Meliosma isthmensis J. F. Morales (depicted in a composite line drawing), is the same entity that has previously been called M. schlimii (Turcz.) Triana in Costa Rica and Panama—including by the author in his last word on the subject [see The Cutting Edge 10(3): 7–8, Jul. 2003]. However, it differs in several morphological details from the last-mentioned sp., which is also restricted to much higher elevations in Colombia and Ecuador. The nomenclatural novelty involves Meliosma hartshornii A. H. Gentry, here newly consigned to synonymy under M. irazuensis Standl., a name not previously addressed by the author. This sp. is also reported for the first time from Honduras.

--. 2009. Estudios en las Apocynaceae neotropicales XXXVII: monografía del género Rhabdadenia (Apocynoideae: Echiteae). J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 3: 541–564.

This, the first revision of the small neotropical genus Rhabdadenia since 1936, recognizes just three spp. The situation is status quo for Costa Rica, where only the widespread R. biflora (Jacq.) Müll. Arg. is represented. This is an excellent and fully realized piece of work, with synonymy and typology and detailed descriptions at all levels, a dichotomous and indented key to spp., and (for each sp.) a distribution summary, enumeration of common names (where known), discussion (very lengthy in one case), and representative specimen citations. The introductory portion addresses taxonomic history, morphological details (supplemented by a composite line drawing and two photographic plates, one in color), and intergeneric relationships. Each sp. is depicted in a composite line drawing, and two of them (including R. biflora) in a photographic plate of living material. No new taxa are described, but several names are lectotypified. At the end of the paper are found a section on excluded or doubtful names and indices to scientific names, exsciccatae, and common names.

——. 2009. Estudios en las Apocynaceae neotropicales XXXIX: revisión de las Apocynoideae y Rauvolfioideae de Honduras. Anales Jard. Bot. Madrid 66: 217–262.

This rigorous treatment of Apocynaceae sensu stricto for Honduras is similar to the author’s previous contribution dealing with Guatemala, and incorporates all of the taxonomic innovations reported in our review of the latter [see this column in The Cutting Edge 16(4), Oct. 2009]. Of the 55 spp. (in 30 genera) treated for Honduras, five represent first reports (with four genera also reported as new to the country).

-- & Q. Jiménez M. 2009. Una nueva especie de Xylophragma (Bignoniaceae) de Costa Rica/A new species of Xylophragma (Bignoniaceae) from Costa Rica. Caldasia 31: 247–250.

This one has been on the back burner for quite some time, so it’s good to finally have it in hand. Xylophragma unifoliolatum J. F. Morales & Q. Jiménez differs from the common (and sympatric) X. seemannianum (Kuntze) Sandwith, its only other Central American congener, most conspicuously by its unifoliolate (vs. 2 or 3-foliolate) leaves, which are also densely tomentose (vs. sparsely to moderately puberulent) below. Additionally, it has shorter corollas [25–30 mm, vs. 38–57(–65) mm]. The new sp. is endemic to Costa Rica, where it is known by just two collections from savannas in the region of Cerro El Hacha (on the northwestern Atlantic slope, in the Río Sapoá basin). Illustrated with a composite photo of herbarium material. In Spanish, with an English abstract.

Murillo-A., J. C. 2009. El género Tetrorchidium (Euphorbiaceae) en Colombia y Ecuador/The genus Tetrorchidium (Euphorbiaceae) from Colombia and Ecuador. Caldasia 31: 213–225.

Although this study is peripheral to our region, we are desperate for any information on this poorly known and seldom written-about genus. Nine spp. are treated for Colombia and Ecuador, with one of these (of no concern to us) being new to science. Only two developments appear to be of direct relevance to the “in press” Manual Euphorbiaceae treatment: the name Tetrorchidium gorgonae Croizat, accepted in our treatment, is here synonymized under T. andinum Müll. Arg.; and the name T. gorgonae subsp. robledoanum (Cuatrec.) G. L. Webster, sometimes applied to Costa Rican material, is restored to sp. rank (T. robledoanum Cuatrec.) for a taxon restricted to Panama and Colombia. It is also worth noting that Tetrorchidium macrophyllum Müll. Arg. is attributed to Costa Rica and T. rubrivenium Poepp. vaguely to “América Central,” though we can find no evidence for either assertion (and did find good evidence that the former owes to a data-entry error in TROPICOS, since corrected by your humble servants). Features a dichotomous (though non-indented key), technical descriptions of the genus and spp., and for each sp., synonymy and typology, a distribution summary, and naked specimen citations (for the study region only). The new sp. is depicted in a composite line drawing. In Spanish, with an English abstract.

Prado, J. & R. C. Moran. 2008. Revision of the neotropical species of Triplophyllum (Tectariaceae). Brittonia 60: 103–130.

Nine spp. are accepted in the Neotropics for Triplophyllum, which comprises an additional 11 or so spp. in Africa and Madagascar. Three new spp. are described, and two new combinations validated. The genus is largely South American, in the New World, with just three spp. extending into Mesoamerica. Only one of these has been collected (very rarely) in Costa Rica: Triplophyllum hirsutum (Holttum) J. Prado & R. C. Moran, comb. nov. (based on T. funestum var. hirsutum Holttum, the name heretofore used for our material). The widespread T. funestum (Kunze) Holttum should also be sought in Costa Rica, as it has been collected in both Nicaragua (Bluefields region) and Panama. Includes full synonymy and typology, technical descriptions at all levels, a dichotomous, indented key to spp., distribution summaries, comprehensive specimen citations, discussions of variable length, distribution maps, and an index to exsiccatae. Illustrated mainly with reduced photocopies of herbarium specimens (which is singularly effective for most ferns), with one composite line drawing and one plate of SEM spore micrographs.

Rohwer, J. G., J. Li, B. Rudolph, S. A. Schmidt, H. van der Werff & H.-W. Li. 2009. Is Persea (Lauraceae) monophyletic? Evidence from nuclear ribosomal ITS sequences. Taxon 58: 1153–1167.

The answer, inevitably, is no. Although the authors do not consider their work definitive (and withhold new combinations, etc., as a consequence), at first blush Persea in the traditional sense would appear resolvable into at least two and as many as four separate genera. At the outset, it must be stipulated that just four of the 15 spp. treated for Costa Rica in the Manual were included in this study, viz., Persea americana Mill., P. caerulea (Ruiz & Pav.) Mez, P. schiedeana Nees, and P. veraguasensis Seem. Two of these, P. americana (the type sp.) and P. schiedeana, are associated in the autonymic subgen. and thus not threatened by nomenclatural unrest. The same cannot be said for most of the other spp. in Costa Rica. Persea caerulea and P. veraguasensis are members of Persea subgen. Eriodaphne Nees, comprising a wholly separate clade for which the genus name Mutisiopersea Kosterm. is available. Indeed, the authors go so far as to state that subgen. Eriodaphne “ultimately will have to be treated as a separate genus Mutisipersea,” but do not implement the change (which would require “dozens” of new combinations) pending further investigations. Other Costa Rican spp. belonging to subgen. Eriodaphne (and for which combinations in Mutisiopersea are already available) are Persea brenesii Standl., P. cuneata Meisn., and P. donnell-smithii Mez. Two additional clades, each inferentially harboring Costa Rican spp., are rather loosely associated with the clade harboring the autonymic subgen., and could conceivably remain within a Persea sensu lato, if it were expanded to include several moderately large Asian genera; alternatively, they could wind up as separate genera (probably lacking valid names). The Costa Rican spp. involved in this scenario are Persea albiramea van der Werff and P. laevifolia van der Werff, on the one hand, and P. rigens C. K. Allen and P. silvatica van der Werff, on the other. These two groups are putatively represented in the study by Persea sphaerocarpa (H. J. P. Winkl.) Kosterm. and P. nudigemma van der Werff, respectively. Unaccounted for among the Costa Rican spp. are Persea albida Kosterm., P. obtusifolia L. E. Kopp, P. povedae W. C. Burger, and P. pseudofasciculata L. E. Kopp, the fate of which we are unable to divine from the evidence conveniently at hand.

Schwartsburd, P. B. & J. Prado. 2009. (1911) Proposal to conserve the name Hypolepis nigrescens Hook. (Dennstaedtiaceae) against Hypolepis nigrescens (Schrad.) Nees (Cyperaceae). Taxon 58: 1369.

The name Hypolepis nigrescens Hook. (1852), well established for a widespread fern occurring at mid-elevation habitats in Costa Rica, is preoccupied by H. nigrescens (Schrad.) Nees (1832), which “has always been an obscure name, and will remain forever treated in synonymy.” Should this proposal fail to win approval, the correct name for our fern would apparently be a combination (currently unavailable) based on Dennstaedtia rubicaulis Christ.

Silba, J. 2009. The taxonomy of the genus Hesperocyparis Bartel et Price in Mexico and Honduras (Cupressaceae). J. Int. Conifer Preserv. Soc. 16(2): 65–67.

Herein is validated a new combination in Hesperocyparis for Cupressus lindleyi Klotzsch ex Endl., cited in synonymy in the Manual treatment of Cupressaceae, as well as a dubious subsp. thereof. These combinations were evidently not deemed “necessary” by the authors of Hesperocyparis (see under Adams et al., this column).

Sinou, C., F. Forest, G. P. Lewis & A. Bruneau. 2009. The genus Bauhinia s.l. (Leguminosae): a phylogeny based on the plastid trnL–trnF region. Botany 87: 947–960.

Bauhinia is paraphyletic with respect to the monospecific, Madagascan Brenierea. We will presume that this portends no trouble for the larger genus. This journal would appear to be a continuation of the Canadian Journal of Botany, although we cannot find any explicit statement to that effect. Rather amazingly, the name Botany seems to have no precedent for a journal, and thus requires no parenthetical qualification.

Sousa S., M. 2009. La sect. Obtusifolii del género Lonchocarpus (Leguminosae, Papilionoideae, Millettieae) para Mesoamérica. Novon 19: 520–533.

Lonchocarpus sect. Obtusifolii (Benth.) M. Sousa, characterized by a lengthy suite of characters, comprises about 27 spp., of which a dozen occur in the Mesoamerican region and are treated in this revision. Four spp. are attributed to Costa Rica: the endemic Lonchocarpus costaricensis (Donn. Sm.) Pittier, as well as L. lasiotropis F. J. Herm., L. phlebophyllus Standl. & Steyerm., and L. rugosus Benth. This is in substantial accord with co-PI Nelson Zamora’s “in press” Manual treatment of Fabaceae, except that Nelson has consigned L. lasiotropis to synonymy under the otherwise South American L. hedyosmus Miq. Also, a new infraspecific classification of L. rugosus (unveiled in a previous paper that we have not seen) recognizes four subspp., with only the widespread L. r. subsp. gillyi (Lundell) M. Sousa represented in Costa Rica. Five new spp. are validated, none pertinent to us. Features a couplet separating sect. Obtusifolii from the closely related Lonchocarpus sect. Densiflori Benth. and dichotomous, indented keys to distinguish all 12 Mesoamerican spp. of the former section, as well as the four subspp. of L. rugosus. Full synonymy and typology are provided at all levels, plus representative specimen citations for each sp. and subspp. Technical descriptions and other detailed information accompany the new sp., which are also depicted in excellent composite line drawings.

Turner, I. M. & J. F. Veldkamp. 2009. A history of Cananga (Annonaceae). Gard. Bull. Singapore 61: 189–204.

As its title indicates, this is a mainly historical account of the Indo-Pacific genus Cananga, represented in Costa Rica by the cultivated C. odorata (Lam.) Hook. f. & Thomson (Ilang-ilang). Two spp. are recognized, with a new combination proposed for the other one, and the basionym of C. odorata is lectotypified; however, there are no keys, formal descriptions, or specimen citations (apart from types). An infraspecific classification of C. odorata is tentatively proffered, featuring two vars. (Costa Rican trees would presumably be referred to the autonymic var.).

Wurdack, K. J. & L. J. Dorr. 2009. The South American genera of Hemerocallidaceae (Eccremis and Pasithea): two introductions to the New World. Taxon 58: 1122–1132.

The two genera mentioned in the title, both deemed monospecific, are established on the basis of molecular analyses as integral members of a monophyletic Hemerocallidaceae, yet not otherwise closely related to one another. Thus, two separate introductions (in geologic time) of this otherwise Old World family to the Western Hemisphere are postulated. But what most intrigues us is the authors’ consideration of “the elusive” Eccremis scabra Kuntze, which has been attributed to Costa Rica on the basis of one of its two syntypes (the other being from Bolivia). This name was discussed in the Manual (Vol. 2, p. 625), without resolution, as neither syntype had been seen. However, these authors were able to locate the Bolivian syntype, and to identify it as Xiphidium caeruleum Aubl. (Haemodoraceae). Thus E. scabra should be regarded as a synonym of X. caeruleum, pending perfunctory lectotypification of the former name on the Bolivian syntype, which is not accomplished in this paper (oddly, since the Costa Rican syntype is designated as lost at B).


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