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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XIX, Number 1, January 2012

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

Bárcenas, R. T., C. Yesson & J. A. Hawkins. 2011. Molecular systematics of the Cactaceae. Cladistics 27: 470–489.

Cladistic analysis of nucleotide sequences involving an astounding 37% of the 1438 recognized spp. of Cactaceae reveals (among other things) that 17 genera (of the 42 with more than one exemplar in the study) are non-monophyletic. The phylogenetic status of the studied genera is conveniently summarized in a pair of tables. Alarmingly, of the genera occurring in Costa Rica and represented in the study, only Rhipsalis emerges as monophyletic; all of the following are branded as “not monophyletic in any tree”: Disocactus, Hylocereus, Mammillaria, Opuntia, Peniocereus, Selenicereus, and Stenocereus. Even Pereskia, though not a primary focus of this study, appears polyphyletic, with P. lychnidiflora DC.—the only sp. believed indigenous in Costa Rica—standing apart from the rest of the genus and sister to the South American Maihuenia (classed in different subfamily from Pereskia!). Speculation as to the fate of the Costa Rican members of the other non-monophyletic genera is not possible, as few if any were included in the study. Nor were, apparently, any spp. of Acanthocereus, Epiphyllum, Melocactus, or Weberocereus. Because their data “suggest that a cladistic classification of the Cactaceae would significantly alter generic limits,” and in view of the historic instability of generic concepts in this horticulturally significant family, the authors withhold any additional tinkering pending “future studies using faster evolving genes.”

Borhidi, A. 2011. Transfer of the Mexican species of Psychotria subgen. Heteropsychotria to Palicourea based on morphological and molecular evidences. Acta Bot. Hung. 53: 241–250.

Citing previous molecular studies by other workers suggesting that Psychotria subg. Heteropsychotria Steyerm. (Rubiaceae) be subsumed within Palicourea [see this column under “Taylor et al.,” The Cutting Edge 18(1), Jan. 2011], the author takes the bull by the horns on this long-gestating process for the spp. occurring in Mexico. Validated here in the name of the author are 25 new combinations at sp. rank, two at subsp. rank, and two nomina nova. Inevitably, many of these (16 combinations at sp. rank and both nomina nova) pertain to taxa represented (at least arguably) in Costa Rica, including straightforward transfers of the former Psychotria acuminata Benth., P. berteriana DC., P. brachiata Sw., P. capitata Ruiz & Pav., P. deflexa DC., P. domingensis Jacq., P. elata (Sw.) Hammel, P. furcata DC., P. glomerulata (Donn. Sm.) Steyerm., P. hebeclada DC., P. hoffmannseggiana (Willd. ex Roem. & Schult.) Müll. Arg., P. pubescens Sw., P. simiarum Standl., and P. veracruzensis Lorence & Dwyer. Less straightforward are Palicourea axillaris (Sw.) Borhidi and P. tomentosa (Aubl.) Borhidi, pertaining to the former Psychotria aubletiana Steyerm. and P. poeppigiana Müll. Arg. (respectively), as well as the nomina nova Palicourea steyermarkiana Borhidi and P. swartziana Borhidi, replacing Psychotria steyermarkii Standl. and P. officinalis (Aubl.) Raeusch. ex Sandwith (respectively). Also noteworthy is Palicourea racemosa (Aubl.) Borhidi, based on Nonatelia racemosa Aubl. and blocking the transfer to Palicourea of Psychotria racemosa Rich. (which evidently applies to the same sp.). Finally, three combinations in Palicourea cited in this paper were already available for spp. occurring in Costa Rica: Palicourea domingensis (Jacq.) DC. (based on Psychotria domingensis Jacq.), Palicourea phanerandra Standl. & Steyerm. [the basionym of Psychotria phanerandra (Standl. & Steyerm.) Lorence], and Palicourea tetragona (Donn. Sm.) C. M. Taylor & Lorence (based on Cephaëlis tetragona Donn. Sm.).

Clark, J. L., L. E. Skog & F. R. Barrie. 2011. Novae Gesneriaceae neotropicarum XVII: new combinations and typifications. Novon 21: 413–423.

There are two new developments here of interest to us, one positive and the other negative. The good news is that Stenanthus serratus Klotzsch ex Oerst., the basionym of Columnea serrata (Klotzsch ex Oerst.) Hanst., is neotypified on O. Vargas 291, which happens to be the Manual voucher for the sp. The bad news is a double whammy for the sp. treated as Nautilocalyx dressleri Wiehler in the Manual: on the basis of both molecular and morphological data, it is transferred to Drymonia, but because the epithet dressleri is preoccupied in the latter genus, the nomen novum Drymonia ovatifolia J. L. Clark is created and becomes the operative name for the sp.

Costea, M., I. García Ruiz & S. Stefanović. 2011. Systematics of “horned” dodders: phylogenetic relationships, taxonomy, and two new species within the Cuscuta chapalana complex (Convolvulaceae). Botany 89: 715–730.

The study group consists of six spp., of which two occur in Costa Rica: Cuscuta boldinghii Urb. and C. costaricensis Yunck. Almost nothing is new here with respect to Manual co-PI Barry Hammel’s (2010) Manual treatment of Convolvulaceae. This revision provides a dichotomous (though non-indented) key to spp. and vars., synonymy and typology, lengthy descriptions, distribution summaries, and (in an appendix) specimen citations. The introductory pages touch upon morphology and phylogenetic relationships (including a molecular-based cladogram). Selected taxa (though neither of those mentioned above) are illustrated with SEM micrographs and composite line drawings. The clade is “distributed mostly in Mexico,” and both of the new spp. are Mexican.

De Groot, S. J. 2011. Collecting and processing cacti into herbarium specimens, using ethanol and other methods. Syst. Bot. 36: 981–989.

The advantages (and disadvantages) of various methods are discussed, the author preferring in general to soak specimens in ethanol prior to pressing. Essential reading for anyone who contemplates collecting terrestrial Cactaceae (epiphytic spp., which tend to be more tractable, are not addressed). “Do not fear the spines” is an oft-repeated message.

Delgado-Salinas, A., M. Thulin, R. Pasquet, N. Weeden & M. Lavin. 2011. Vigna (Leguminosae) sensu lato: the names and identities of the American segregate genera. Amer. J. Bot. 98: 1694–1715.

Vigna was characterized in its recent (2010) Manual treatment by co-PI Nelson Zamora (INB) as a pantropical genus of about 104 spp., 14 of which were formerly treated as native, natrualized, or cultivated on a commercial scale in Costa Rica. On the basis of their phylogenetic analyses of molecular data, these authors have decided to restrict the name Vigna to its Old World members and a handful of New World spp. Remaining in Vigna under this scenario are just six of the spp. treated in the Manual: Vigna lasiocarpa (Mart. ex Benth.) Verdc., V. longifolia (Benth.) Verdc., V. luteola (Jacq.) Benth., V. umbellata (Thunb.) Ohwi & H. Ohashi, V. unguiculata (L.) Walp., and V. vexillata (L.) A. Rich. (to which may be added the four economic spp. mentioned in the genus discussion). The New World spp. banished from Vigna by these authors are spun off into six segregate genera (one described as new), all of which are represented among the eight Costa Rican spp. not accounted for in the foregoing list, as follows: Vigna adenantha (G. Mey.) Maréchal, Mascherpa & Stainier is assigned to Leptospron (Benth.) A. Delgado [presumably along with V. truxillensis (Kunth) N. Zamora, nowhere mentioned]; V. candida (Vell.) Maréchal, Mascherpa & Stainier to Condylostylis Piper; V. caracalla (L.) Verdc. (a widely cultivated ornamental that is also native in Costa Rica) to the monospecific Cochliasanthus Trew; V. linearis (Kunth) Maréchal, Mascherpa & Stainier (with no explicit mention of its vars.) and V. spectabilis (Standl.) A. Delgado to Helicotropis A. Delgado (the new genus); V. peduncularis (Kunth) Fawc. & Rendle to Ancistrotropis A. Delgado (a nomen novum based on Phaseolus ser. Pedunculares Hassl.); and V. speciosa (Kunth) Verdc. to Sigmoidotropis (Piper) A. Delgado (comb. nov., based on Phaseolus sect. Sigmoidotropis Piper). Selected new combinations are validated (though only Vigna truxillensis was overlooked among the Costa Rican spp.), pending “eventual comprehensive list[s] of constituent species” for most of these segregate genera. Excepting a few combinations that were already available [most notably, Cochliasanthus caracalla (L.) Trew], authorship is mostly (exclusively, for the Costa Rican spp.) attributed to “A. Delgado.” At least three sp. names that were synonymized in the Manual appear to be accepted by these authors: Vigna latidenticulata (Harms) A. Delgado, a synonym of V. candida according to the Manual , becomes Condylotropis latidenticulata (Harms) A. Delgado (though whether or not it occurs in Costa Rica is unclear); V. venusta (Piper) Maréchal, Mascherpa & Stainier, based on a Costa Rican type and synonymized under V. peduncularis var. peduncularis in the Manual, reverts to Condylostylis venusta Piper (note that V. peduncularis is here assigned to a different genus, Ancistrotropis); and Phaseolus stenolobus Standl., a synonym of V. linearis var. latifolia (Benth.) Maréchal, Mascherpa & Stainier in the Manual, becomes Helicotropis stenoloba (Standl.) A. Delgado (which may or may not mean that these authors plan to elevate V. l. var. latifolia to sp. rank). Each of the segregate genera is provided with a “diagnosis,” and all the American genera of subtribe Phaseolinae are distinguished by means of a dichotomous, indented key (which relies heavily on the orientation of the keel and standard petals). All of the segregates (and most other genera of the subtribe) are depicted in color photos of living material, and Helicotropis and Sigmoidotropis by excellent composite line drawings.

Was there a reasonable alternative available to these authors that might have preserved Vigna with something approximating its traditional circumscription? It depends on what you mean by “traditional.” It is worth recalling that the generic classification of New World Phaseolinae that contemporary workers on Mesoamerican floristics have become accustomed to dates only from ca. 1980, when the interpretations of Mascherpa et al. (1978; Boissiera 28: 1–273) were implemented in the Flora of Panama Leguminosae treatment. In the Flora of Guatemala (1946), many of the spp. later treated under Vigna in the Flora of Panama, as well as those assigned to Macroptilium, were still included in Phaseolus—a situation that prevailed right up until the publication of Tom Croat’s (MO) Flora of Barro Colorado Island in 1978. From the last-mentioned source, your editors originally learned Vigna peduncularis as Phaseolus peduncularis Kunth in our early La Selva days. So to answer the question posed at the beginning of this paragraph: judging from the cladograms presented in this paper, a return to a Vigna that would include all of the spp. treated under that name in the Flora of Panama could only be accomplished by combining Vigna with Phaseolus (which is the older name, in any case). We doubt that this option would satisfy many customers. However, a return to Phaseolus more or less in the sense of Flora of Guatemala deserves serious consideration (vs. the zero consideration accorded in this paper) as an alternative to creating a lot of pesky little new genera. This could be achieved rather easily by returning Macroptilium and all of the new segregates to Phaseolus (rather than Vigna), along with the oligotypic New World genera Dolichopsis, Mysanthus, Oryxis, Oxyrhynchus, Ramirezella, and Strophostyles (with an average of three spp. each). Several of these genera have been previously included within Phaseolus (e.g., Ramirezella, in Flora of Guatemala), and many of their spp. have names already available in that genus. Only a handful of new combinations would be necessary. And relationships, as has been well established, are always more important than differences. Voilà!

Dressler, R. L. & F. Pupulin. 2011. Phragmipedium section Phragmipedium. Orchids (West Palm Beach) 80: 626–631.

This neotropical group of terrestrial orchids, much sought after by hobbyists, comprises just three spp., two of which feature two subspp. None of these taxa is described as new in this popular synopsis, illustrated with (mainly) color photos and drawings. Not much is new for Costa Rica, our only representative being Phragmipedium humboldtii (Warsz.) J. T. Atwood & Dressler subsp. humboldtii (see this column under “Pupulin” in our last issue regarding the parenthetical authority designation). However, we are puzzled by the passing mention (p. 629) of a “garden hybrid,” Phragmipedium ×grande (Rchb. f.) Rolfe, “which occurs naturally in Panama and Costa Rica.” Huh? Nothing like that was mentioned in the first author’s Manual treatment of Phragmipedium nor, for that matter, in the second author’s “Catálogo revisado y anotado de las Orchidaceae de Costa Rica” [Lankesteriana 2(2)[‘4’]4: 1–88. 2002]. TROPICOS is likewise unenlightening. What might the parents of this hybrid be, considering that but a single taxon of Phragmipedium sect. Phragmipedium is recorded from Costa Rica? Offhand and unsubstantiated remarks like this are a continual nuisance in orchid hobbyist journals. This contribution features a dichotomous key to all the accepted taxa in sect. Phragmipedium, but lacks synonymy and typology, formal descriptions, and specimen citations.

Fishbein, M., D. Chuba, C. Ellison, R. J. Mason-Gamer & S. P. Lynch. 2011. Phylogenetic relationships of Asclepias (Apocynaceae) inferred from non-coding chloroplast DNA sequences. Syst. Bot. 36: 1008–1023.

The results of this study “are consistent with taxonomic restriction of Asclepias to American species,” which would mean that Old World segregates such as Gomphocarpus (with one sp. cultivated and escaped in Costa Rica) ought to be recognized at genus rank.

Gonzales R., J. & M. Kessler. 2011. A synopsis of the Neotropical species of Sticherus (Gleicheniaceae), with descriptions of nine new species. Phytotaxa 31: 1–54.

The pantropical genus Sticherus comprises a total of about 95 spp., of which 54 are accepted in this paper as occurring in the Neotropics (with spp. of temperate South America omitted). The total of 15 spp. attributed to Costa Rica in the Flora mesoamericana (1995) treatment of the genus by Robbin C. Moran (then of MO) is augmented by two spp. and two hybrids. The two additional spp. for Costa Rica are the endemic Sticherus fuscus J. Gonzales, described as new, and S. strictissimus (Christ) Copel., freed from synonymy under S. rubiginosus (Mett.) Nakai (which, even in its newly restricted sense, remains a member of the Costa Rican flora). Sticherus fuscus is based upon just two specimens from (in Manualese) “bosque de roble, 2400–2600 m; vert. Carib. y cerca de la División Continental, Cord. de Talamanca.” The holotype was initially identified as Sticherus brevipubis (Christ) A. R. Sm., one of the spp. with which S. fuscus is compared. The new hybrids for Costa Rica are Sticherus ×pseudobifidus (Jermy & T. G. Walker) J. Gonzales, comb. nov., and S. ×subremotus (Jermy & T. G. Walker) J. Gonzales, comb. nov., both of which involve S. interjectus (Jermy & T. G. Walker) J. Gonzales (comb. nov.)—which itself has not been found in Costa Rica!—as one parent [the other being S. ferrugineus (Desv.) J. Gonzales (comb. nov.) and S. remotus (Kaulf.) Chrysler, respectively]. Because no specimens (other than types and paratypes) are cited in this paper, we learn nothing about the distribution of these hybrid entities within Costa Rica. With respect to the original 15 Costa Rican Sticherus spp., there are four name changes to report, two involving misapplications and two involving synonymy. The two names that have allegedly been misapplied to Costa Rican material are Sticherus bifidus (Willd.) Ching and S. penniger (Mart.) Copel., which must now be replaced in our region by S. ferrugineus and S. lanuginosus (Moric. ex Fée) Nakai, respectively. This is particularly painful in the case of the sp. that we have known as S. bifidus, probably the most widespread and well-collected member of its genus in Costa Rica; that name will henceforth apply to an entity ranging from “Pan.–Bol. y Ven., Trin. & Tob., Guyana, Bras., Antillas Mayores (Cuba).” The two Flora mesoamericana names falling into synonymy are Sticherus brevipubis [under S. fulvus (Desv.) Ching] and S. palmatus (J. H. Schaffn. ex Underw.) Copel. [under S. furcatus (L.) Ching]. At least the first of these may have been a last-minute decision, as the names S. brevipubis and S. fulvus are both bandied in the discussion of S. fuscus as though applying to separate spp. Then again the authors may have become confused, as we have, by the surfeit of such similar epithets as ferrugineus, fulvus, furcatus, and fuscus.

This is a synoptic treatment, as advertised, that lacks formal descriptions (except for new taxa) and specimen citations (except as previously noted). It does feature a dichotomous key to spp. (sadly, non-indented), full synonymy and typology, distribution summaries, “notes” (when necessary), and a section on dubious names. The introductory portion touches upon taxonomic history, methodology, and morphology (the last part including many illustrations). Nine spp. are described as new, and all of these are illustrated with black-and-white images of herbarium material. This paper was extracted (by its second author) principally from the first author’s 2003 Göttingen Ph.D. dissertation, in which much more information is presumably available. Because of certain “difficulties and shortcomings” (duly enumerated), the authors allow that the present contribution “cannot pretend to be more than a step towards a better understanding” of Sticherus.

Hammel, B. E. 2011. Formal establishment of Clusia peninsula [sic]. Pp. 206–207 in, H. Hochwallner, S. Vogel, W. Huber, B. E. Hammel & A. Weber, Aspects of reproductive ecology of Clusia valerioi Standl. and Clusia peninsulae Hammel (sp. nov.), two Central American species of Clusiaceae with resin flowers. Pl. Biol. (Stuttgart) 14: 198–207.

Clusia peninsulae Hammel, a name that has long been used informally but never validly published, finally achieves that status in the no-frills appendix of an ecological paper, where it is compared with C. croatii D’Arcy and C. odorata Seem. Just one Costa Rican specimen is cited, from the Golfito region; however, the sp. is considerably more widespread in the country. It would have been nice to be informed somewhere in this paper that Clusia peninsulae is the same as C. sp. G of the Manual, under which entry a comprehensive summary of its distribution in Costa Rica may be found. (One of us is profoundly embarrassed by this oversight, which he constantly laments when found in publications by others!) The inflorescences, flowers, and ripe fruits of the new sp. are illustrated in a composite color photographic plate in the main body of the paper.

—— & M. H. Grayum. 2011. Lectotypification and reinstatement of Stachytarpheta friedrichsthalii (Verbenaceae), with notes on the lectotypification of S. indica. Novon 21: 437–439.

Central American material (from Honduras to Panama) recently segregated on morphological grounds from the widespread (and arguably sympatric) Stachytarpheta jamaicensis (L.) Vahl has been found to correspond in all critical details with both syntypes of S. friedrichsthalii Hayek, a name that has been consistently synonymized under S. jamaicensis. In fact, Stachytarpheta friedrichsthalii would appear to be more closely related to the spp. that have generally been known as S. angustifolia (Mill.) Vahl and S. calderonii Moldenke in Central American floras (only the second of which has been found in Costa Rica). The name Stachytarpheta angustifolia, however, is confirmed as a synonym of S. indica (L.) Vahl by virtue of the authors’ vindication of the original leptotypification of the basionym (Verbena indica L.) of the latter name. To summarize: the name Stachytarpheta friedrichsthalii Hayek is resurrected and accepted for a distinct sp. (which occurs in Costa Rica), while S. angustifolia is relegated to synonymy under S. indica. A dichotomous key is provided to distinguish all the spp. mentioned in this paragraph. It is suggested (though not proven) that S. friedrichsthalii may also occur in Africa, mixed with material of S. indica.

Henderson, A. 2011. A revision of Desmoncus (Arecaceae). Phytotaxa 35: 1–88.

The neotropical genus Desmoncus has presented unusual taxonomic challenges because of its generally scandent, often ferociously spiny habit and infrequent flowering (typically in the canopy), with the result that relatively few herbarium specimens have accumulated over the years, and many of these are sterile and/or fragmentary. The total number of spp. recognized by palm specialists has ranged from seven to 41. On the basis of his trademark morphometric methods as interpreted using the Phylogenetic Species Concept, the present author accepts 24 spp. in the genus, with nine subspp. Where Costa Rica is concerned, the same four taxa employed in the Manual Arecaceae treatment (2003) by co-PI Mike Grayum are recognized, with some modifications and nomenclatural changes. The status quo prevails for Desmoncus costaricensis (Kuntze) Burret and D. stans Grayum & de Nevers, but such is not the case for the sp. called Desmoncus schippii Burret and D. sp. A in the Manual. The two last-mentioned taxa both acquire new sp. names: Desmoncus moorei A. J. Hend. and D. osensis A. J. Hend., respectively. The name Desmoncus schippii is treated as an “Exluded Name,” due to the fact that “the type…is no longer extant”; although we have information to the contrary, it strikes us as reasonable that the name D. schippii, the type of which is from Belize, would not apply to D. moorei, restricted by its author to Nicaragua and Costa Rica. More logically, Desmoncus schippii figures to be a synonym of D. chinantlensis Liebm. ex Mart., the only sp. attributed to Belize in this revision and under which are synonymized most of the names cited as synonyms of D. schippii in the Manual (all, that is, except the Belizean D. leiorhachis Burret, another “Excluded Name”). The author appears to have made little if any effort to fathom the correct application of names lacking extant types on the basis of evidence (both morphological and geographical) in their protologues. An example relevant to Costa Rica is Desmoncus leptochaete Burret, excluded even though but a single likely congener, D. osensis, has been collected in the region of its type locality. Instead of coining a new sp. name, the author might have simply neotypified Burret’s name and used it for the sp. in question (indeed, there is nothing to prevent some future author from doing the same); at the very least, some explanation of why this was not done ought to have been provided.

Includes synonymy, typology, and technical descriptions at all ranks (the descriptions very brief for subspp.), dichotomous (though non-indented) keys to spp. and subspp., distribution summaries, discussions, distribution maps, a (very extensive) section on “Excluded Names,” and indices to exsiccatae and scientific names. The introductory portions concentrate on data analysis, distribution and habitat, and morphology (including four composite photographic plates). Photographs of type specimens (including those of Desmoncus moorei and D. osensis) are featured in an appendix comprising 21 plates. In addition to the two new spp. mentioned previously, five new spp. and two new subspp. are described from beyond the Costa Rican borders.

Kennedy, H. & B. Hammel. 2011. A new closed-flowered Calathea (Marantaceae) endemic to Costa Rica. Brenesia 75-76: 1–3.

Calathea jondule H. Kenn. & Hammel is known by just four collections, all from the Pacific slope in the north Fila Costeña and the front range of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca, at 250–1150 m elevation. In the first author’s (2003) Manual treatment of Marantaceae, the new sp. will key to the vicinity of Calathea vinosa H. Kenn. and C. warscewiczii (L. Mathieu) Planch. & Linden, and one of its paratypes was cited in the discussion of C. vinosa as exemplifying an aberrant population possibly meriting taxonomic recognition. Here, C. jondule is contrasted with those same two spp. One of the distinctive features of the new sp., its “deeply undulate leaf surface,” inspired the unusual epithet, pinched “from a whimsical childrens’ song, in French, with the much-repeated stanza ‘j’ondule’ meaning ‘I wiggle’ or ‘I undulate’.” Illustrated with a photographic plate of living material.

Knapp, S. 2011. (2030) Proposal to conserve the name Solanum torvum (Solanaceae) with a conserved type. Taxon 60: 1523–1524.

Solanum torvum Sw. has long been the accepted name for “the most widespread non-cultivated species of spiny solanums,” apparently native to the New World but introduced and naturalized pantropically. The motivation for this proposal is that Swartz, in the protologue of S. torvum, cited the earlier Solanum indicum L. (apparently) in synonymy, rendering his own name illegitimate. Should this proposal be rejected, the correct name for the sp. in question would become Solanum pseudosaponaceum Blume, “never used in the literature beyond its first publication.”

Larridon, I., M. Reynders, W. Huygh, K. Bauters, K. Van de Putte, A. M. Muasya, P. Boeckx, D. A. Simpson, A. Vrijdaghs & P. Goetghebeur. 2011. Affinities in C3 Cyperus lineages (Cyperaceae) revealed using molecular phylogenetic data and carbon isotope analysis. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 167: 19–46.

According to the cladograms in this paper, the genera Kyllinga, Lipocarpha, Oxycaryum, and Remirea, all recognized as distinct in the Manual, are deeply nested within Cyperus (as is Pycreus, which was not accepted in the Manual). The authors scarcely remark upon these results (which were acknowledged a priori), so we assume they are old news within the Cyperaceae community.

Lewis, T., P. Grant, M. García Quesada, C. Ryall & T. C. LaDuke. 2010. A botanical survey of Caño Palma Biological Station (Estación Biológica Caño Palma), Tortuguero, Costa Rica. Brenesia 73-74: 73–84.

The study site comprises just 40 ha of forest to the northwest of Cerro del Tortuguero. The published list, enumerating fewer than 100 spp. of “observed common plants,” is more noteworthy for its apparent omissions (just one sp. of Piperaceae?) than its comprehensiveness, seeming to belie the authors’ assertion that “the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica are renowned for their botanical diversity.” Or perhaps we are missing the point. The only record of interest to us Vitex kuylenii Standl. (Verbenaceae), “which has previously only been known from the lowland areas of southeastern Nicaragua” (guys, the type is from Guatemala!). We were at first skeptical, having previously debunked at least two other supposed Costa Rican records of V. kuylenii (which proved to represent sterile specimens of plain old V. cooperi Standl.). However, this time flowering material was collected (M. García & Tárula 10689, JVR) and the determination verified by Luis Poveda (pers. comm.), so it looks like we are dealing with a bonafide addition to the flora. The two spp. in question can be reliably distinguished by the details of the calyx (virtually truncate in V. cooperi, vs. distinctly 5-dentate in V. kuylenii). The bulk of this paper is given over to descriptions of the various vegetation types.

Link-Pérez, M. A., L. E. Watson & R. J. Hickey. 2011. Redefinition of Adiantopsis Fée (Pteridaceae): systematics, diversification, and biogeography. Taxon 60: 1255–1268.

Adiantopsis is redefined, on the basis of both molecular and morphological evidence, to comprise at least 36 spp. (“approaching 40”), including eight that are as yet unnamed. This contrasts with the total of just seven spp. attributed to the genus in Flora mesoramericana Vol. 1 (1995). The new recruits have come from other genera (two spp. are here transferred from Cheilanthes) as well as a finer discrimination of traditional sp. concepts in Adiantopsis (see, e.g., under “Link-Pérez,” this column, in our last issue). A detailed amended description of the genus is provided, together with an annotated (with distributional data) enumeration of all its spp. as currently accepted by the authors. As far as we can determine, nothing has changed for Costa Rica vis-à-vis the Flora mesoamericana treatment: Adiantopsis chlorophylla (Sw.) Fée and A. radiata (L.) Fée remain our only spp.

McKenna, M. J., M. P. Simmons, C. D. Bacon & J. A. Lombardi. 2011. Delimitation of the segregate genera of Maytenus s. l. (Celastraceae) based on morphological and molecular characters. Syst. Bot. 36: 922–932.

Pantropical Maytenus, in its broad sense comprising about 300 spp., has been reduced to about 200 spp. in recent years with the establishment of Gymnosporia as a distinct genus. However, as demonstrated in the present paper, both Gymnosporia and Maytenus remain polyphyletic. Certain taxonomic adjustments are made to both genera with a view to remedy this situation, but only some involving Gymnosporia directly impact Costa Rican floristics. As suspected by previous workers [see, e.g., The Cutting Edge 13(3): 7–8, Jul. 2006], three New World spp. that have been assigned to the otherwise Old World Gymnosporia are discordant there, being actually more closely related (in sisterly fashion) to the oligotypic New World genus Gyminda (with one sp., G. tonduzii Loes., in Costa Rica). Even though the authors “were unable to identify any morphological synapomorphies for the New World Gymnosporia,” they invoke “their morphological distinctiveness from Gyminda” as grounds for erecting a new genus, Haydenia M. P. Simmons, to accommodate them. The alleged morphological differences separating Haydenia from Gyminda do not seem to be mentioned anywhere in the paper, the former genus being contrasted instead with Maytenus in its Latin diagnosis. New combinations in Haydenia are validated for all three spp. involved, including the recently described Gymnosporia haberiana Hammel [see The Cutting Edge 4(3): 6, Jul. 1997], represented in Costa Rica, which becomes Haydenia haberiana (Hammel) M. P. Simmons. The new genus name honors W. John Hayden (URV), a mentor of its author.

McPherson, G. 2011. Notes on Tetrorchidium (Euphorbiaceae) in Panama. Novon 21: 468–471.

Although this paper is not directly germane to Costa Rica, but we cite it because of the author’s critical key to the Panamanian sp. of Tetrorchidium (including most of the Costa Rican ones), a very poorly understood genus.

Morales, J. F. 2011. Tres nuevas especies de Meliosma (Sabiaceae) para Costa Rica y Panamá. J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 5: 545–552.

The three new spp., Meliosma cresstolina J. F. Morales, M. laxiflora J. F. Morales, and M. oligantha J. F. Morales, are already included (till now with provisional names) in the author’s Manual treatment of Sabiaceae [see The Cutting Edge 9(3): 2, Jul. 2002], due to be published in our upcoming volume. Save the last (which also occurs in Panama), they are endemic to Costa Rica, so far as is known. Meliosma cresstolina, which has been confused with M. cordata A. H. Gentry, occurs at 1600–2200 m on the Pacific slope of the eastern Cordillera de Talamanca (the mellifluous epithet is an anagram of the type locality, “Tres Colinas”); M. laxiflora is restricted to 0–200 m on the Península de Osa, while M. oligantha has been found in Costa Rica in the Monteverde region (near the Continental Divide) and on the Pacific slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca (Tarrazú region). The last two spp. are compared with Meliosma glabrata (Liebm.) Urb. and M. grandiflora C. V. Morton ex A. H. Gentry, respectively. Each new sp. is depicted in a composite line drawing, and a color plate featuring Meliosma irazuensis Standl. is used to illustrate floral details.

Mytnik-Ejsmont, J. 2011. A monograph of the subtribe Polystachyinae Schltr. (Orchidaceae). Uniw. Gdański, Gdańsk, Poland. 400+ pp.

According to this treatment, the titular subtribe consists of 10 genera, all but two of which effectively postdate Mabberley’s plant-book (2008). By far the largest genus in the group, and the only one represented in the New World, is Polystachya, with a total of 196 spp., the vast majority of which are restricted to Africa. Conveniently, for our purposes, the 13 Polystachya spp. occurring in the New World are treated and keyed separately (in a section coauthored by P. Baranow). The Manual (Vol. 3) treatment of Polystachya by Robert L. Dressler (JBL) attributed only Polystachya foliosa (Hook.) Rchb. f., P. lineata Rchb. f., and P. masayensis Rchb. f. to Costa Rica, while mentioning that the widespread P. concreta (Jacq.) Garay & H. R. Sweet might also be expected. The present work adds an astounding four spp. to the Costa Rican total, each on the basis of one or two historical (and sometimes fragmentary) collections: Polystachya boliviensis Schltr. (disjunct from Peru and Bolivia), P. caespitosa Barb. Rodr. (disjunct from southeastern Brazil), P. cingulata Rchb. f. ex Kraenzl. (endemic), and P. clavata Rchb. f. (ranging northward to southern Mexico). None of these names appears in Manual Vol. 3 (despite the fact that the type of P. cingulata is Costa Rican). We have no idea what to make of this sudden floristic windfall, although the authors’ comments suggest a highly conservative mindset (if splitting may be characterized as conservative). It is worth noting that Polystachya cerea Lindl., a synonym of P. foliosa according to the Manual, is here accepted for a distinct sp. (of southern Mexico, Guatemala, and Jamaica). The anticipated presence of P. concreta in Costa Rica is not realized, the nearest stations being in western Colombia.

Features synonymy, typology, and technical descriptions at all ranks, dichotomous (though non-indented) keys to genera and spp. (regional, for Polystachya), distribution summaries, representative specimen citations, notes, distribution maps, sections on “Rejected names” and “Excluded taxa,” and an index to Latin names. The introductory chapters are concerned with taxonomic history, morphology, ecology and floral biology, distribution patterns, conservation, hybridization, and phylogeny (including molecular analyses). Each sp. is illustrated with a composite line drawing showing floral details, and selected spp. (including Polystachya foliosa) are depicted in 96 color plates of live plants. Several taxonomic novelties are validated, though none of these pertains to Costa Rica.

Pastore, J. F. B., R. M. Harley, F. Forest, A. Paton & C. van den Berg. 2011. Phylogeny of the subtribe Hyptidinae (Lamiaceae tribe Ocimeae) as inferred from nuclear and plastid DNA. Taxon 60: 1317–1329.

As must be the case for all large, morphologically diverse genera with more or less well marked “satellite” genera, the overwhelmingly neotropical Hyptis (with ca. 400 spp.) proves to be paraphyletic. To wit, eight generally accepted genera of varying size are nested within it, including Asterohyptis and Marsypianthes (to name the only ones represented in Costa Rica). From a strictly Costa Rican perspective, the resolution of this problem would be a no-brainer: simply transfer Asterohyptis mociniana (Benth.) Epling and Marsypianthes chamaedrys (Vahl) Kuntze to Hyptis, where both spp. already have names anyway. But the situation elsewhere is apparently more complicated both nomenclaturally (three of the genera involved have 20 or more spp.) and morphologically, causing these authors to suggest that “further segregation seems to be a more reasonable solution than the single-genus circumscription.” And exactly how many genera would traditional Hyptis have to be divided into so as to preserve the original eight satellites? Gird yourself: eleven, say these authors! The prognosis for Costa Rica, according to this scenario, is as follows: of the 19 Hyptis spp. accepted in Amy Pool’s (MO) Manual treatment of Lamiaceae (2007), at least eight would figure to remain in that genus, these being Hyptis atrorubens Poit., H. brevipes Poit., H. capitata Jacq. (the generic type), H. conferta Pohl ex Benth., H. lantanifolia Poit., H. pulegioides Pohl ex Benth., H. recurvata Poit., and H. sinuata Pohl ex Benth. At least six other spp. would have to be transferred to at least three different segregate genera: Hyptis mutabilis (Rich.) Briq., H. pectinata (L.) Poit., H. spicigera Lam., H. suaveolens (L.) Poit., H. urticoides Kunth, and H. verticillata Jacq. We are unable to speculate upon the fate of the five remaining Costa Rican spp., which were not included in the study. The authors wisely refrain from making formal taxonomic changes, citing the need for more extensive sampling.

Peters, W., M. P. Kinkade, A. M. Pohlit & L. Struwe. 2004. Tachia field guide. L. Struwe, New Brunswick, NJ, U.S.A.

We’d have cited this odd little publication (an unpaginated fold-out) in the Manual Gentianaceae treatment (2010) had we been aware of it. In what amounts to two full pages of text, it presents a schematized, dichotomous, illustrated, and annotated (with distributional data) key to all 13 accepted spp. of Tachia, a brief (though technical) genus descripton, a list of common names, a glossary, a bibliography, a distribution map, and five photos of living material. A nifty little shirt-pocket guide to an obscure genus that, according to our experience, scarcely merits such a treatment (you might carry this around for the rest of your life and never have occasion to use it!).

Rojas Alvarado, A. F. 2011. New species and new records of ferns (Pteridophyta: Polypodiales) from Cocos Island, Costa Rica. Brenesia 75-76: 7–15.

Four fern spp. are described as new, all endemic to Isla del Coco as far as is known: Blechnum longistipitatum A. Rojas (Blechnaceae), compared with B. falciforme (Liebm.) C. Chr.; Lellingeria vargasiana A. Rojas (Polypodiaceae), compared with L. brenesii A. Rojas; Polybotrya bipinnata A. Rojas (Dryopteridaceae), compared with P. polybotryoides (Baker) Christ; and Thelypteris nana A. Rojas (Thelypteridaceae), compared with T. leprieurii (Hook.) R. M. Tryon. The following spp., all already known from the Costa Rican mainland, are reported for the first time from Isla del Coco: Adiantum pulverulentum L. (Pteridaceae), Elaphoglossum longicrure Christ (Dryopteridaceae), Hymenophyllum abruptum Hook. (Hymenophyllaceae), Lindsaea quadrangularis Raddi (Lindsaeaceae), and Thelypteris dentata (Forssk.) E. P. St. John and T. opulenta (Kaulf.) Fosberg (Thelypteridaceae). The last two spp. are both “invasive and exotic species from Old World origin.” The four new spp. are illustrated with crude composite line drawings.

—— & J. M. Chaves-Fallas. 2011. Una especie nueva de Spathiphyllum (Araceae) para Costa Rica. Brenesia 75-76: 4–6.

The new sp., Spathiphyllum abelianum A. Rojas & J. M. Chaves, is apparently restricted to Isla del Coco, where it is known from just three large populations at 350–400 m elevation on the western plateau. One other Spathiphyllum sp. occurs on the island, that being S. laeve Engl., which—though its type was collected on Isla del Coco—is also widespread on the mainland south to Colombia. However, S. abelianum (the epithet of which honors the first author’s late father) is fundamentally different, being more closely related to S. fulvovirens Schott. Illustrated with a rather basic composite line drawing.

Salazar, G. A., L. I. Cabrera & C. Figueroa. 2011. Molecular phylogenetics, floral convergence and systematics of Dichromanthus and Stenorrhynchos (Orchidaceae: Spiranthinae). Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 167: 1–18.

The authors report that “monophyly of Stenorrhynchos s.s. received moderate to strong support” in their analyses, a statement that is difficult for us to evaluate without consulting the cited sources, since Stenorrhynchos has endured so many different circumscriptions over the years. One conclusion we are able to draw from their cladograms is that the Manual circumscription of Stenorrhynchos so as to include Sacoila is cladistically untenable, unless Eltroplectris, Mesadenella, and Pteroglossa (all recognized as distinct in the Manual) are added to the mix; thus, the sp. called Stenorrhynchos lanceolatum (Aubl.) Rich. ex Spreng. in the Manual should instead have been treated as Sacoila lanceolata (Aubl.) Garay. The focus of this paper is not on generic relationships, a topic that is deferred to a paper by the first author that is yet to be published. The authors’ conclusion “that the broad concept of Stenorrhynchos held by Szlachetko et al….represents an artificial assemblage…” does not bode well, considering that Szlachetko himself is a notorious splitter. All of this indecision on how to carve Spiranthes in the old broad sense into microgenera makes a compelling argument for abandoning the effort altogether.

Salcedo-Castaño, J., R. Araya-Villalobos, N. Castañeda-Álvarez, O. Toro-Chica & D. G. Debouck. 2011. Note about the taxonomy of Phaseolus hygrophilus Debouck (Leguminosae-Papilionoideae). J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 5: 469.

This note is a follow-up to a recent paper by this same crew (see this column in our last issue) which sought to validate the new sp. name mentioned in the title. However, it seems that validation was not achieved, as the authors cited two separate gatherings under the heading “Type,” rather than a single gathering as required by the Code (see Art. 8.2, as well as Art. 37.1). The offending phrase (overlooked by us) was “11 Dec 2003 (and again on 19 Jan 2006),” with the parenthetical reference to the January gathering now deleted in the revised type citation presented in this note. An isotype that had been attributed to INB is likewise deleted (though INB still houses the holotype). According to ICBN Art. 45.1, “When the various conditions for valid publication are not simultaneously fulfilled, the date is that on which the last is fulfilled” (i.e., the date of this note).

Schilling, E. E. & J. L. Panero. 2011. A revised classification of subtribe Helianthinae (Asteraceae: Heliantheae) II. Derived lineages. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 167: 311–331.

The big news here is that Viguiera, a genus of about 150 spp. according to Mabberley’s plant-book (2008), is paraphyletic. The authors concur with a previous suggestion that it be reduced to a monospecific taxon comprising only the type sp., V. dentata (Cav.) Spreng. (which evidently does not occur in Costa Rica). The remaining spp. are referred to variety of other genera, including four that are here described as new. One of the latter, Dendroviguiera E. E. Schill. & Panero, is the tentative new repository for the Costa Rican (and Panamanian) Viguiera sylvatica Klatt, with the combination Dendroviguiera sylvatica (Klatt) E. E. Schill. & Panero validated despite the authors’ admission that “the analysis of its relationships requires further study.” A second sp. recorded from Costa Rica, Viguiera tenuis A. Gray, is apparently to be treated under the name Hymenostephium tenue (A. Gray) E. E. Schill & Panero (validated in a previous paper). However, we glean nothing regarding the disposition of Viguiera cordata (Hook. & Arn.) D’Arcy, one of the commonest sp. of the group in Costa Rica, nor the status of the following four names based on Costa Rican types: Viguiera acuminata Benth., V. drymonia Klatt, V. macrophylla Benth., and V. strigosa Klatt. Hopefully, a formal taxonomic paper somewhere down the line will tie up all of these loose ends (or else we have missed something).

Schuster, T. M., K. L. Wilson & K. A. Kron. 2011. Phylogenetic relationships of Muehlenbeckia, Fallopia, and Reynoutria (Polygonaceae) investigated with chloroplast and nuclear sequence data. Int. J. Pl. Sci. 172: 1053–1066.

Neither Fallopia (with one sp. cultivated in Costa Rica) nor Muehlenbeckia (with two spp. native there) is monophyletic. However, the resolutions proposed in this paper (the segregation of Reynoutria Houtt. from Fallopia and the creation of a new genus, Duma T. M. Schust., to accommodate three Australian spp. formerly included in Muehlenbeckia) have no direct repercussions for Costa Rican floristics, beyond mandating a reduction in sp. totals for the affected genera.

Solano, R., G. A. Salazar & R. Jiménez. 2011. New combinations in Orchidaceae of Mexico. Acta Bot. Mex. 97: 49–56.

Twenty-seven new combinations are validated in a miscellany of genera, including several affecting spp. that reach Costa Rica or were at least mentioned in the Manual. These are: Acianthera testifolia (Sw.) Solano [treated as Pleurothallis testifolia (Sw.) Lindl. in the Manual]; Funkiella minutiflora (A. Rich. & Galeotti) Salazar & Soto Arenas and F. nutantiflora (Schltr.) Salazar & Soto Arenas [the latter treated in the Manual as Galeottiella nutantiflora (Schltr.) Szlach., the former mentioned thereunder by the name G. minutiflora (A. Rich. & Galeotti) Szlach.]; and Funkiella valerioi (Ames & C. Schweinf.) Salazar & Soto Arenas [treated in the Manual as Schiedeella valerioi (Ames & C. Schweinf.) Szlach. & Sheviak]. The following synonymy (new at least to us) is also of interest: Schiedeella fuacisanguinea (Dod) Burns-Bal., a name used in the Schiedeella genus discussion in the Manual, appears here as a synonym of Funkiella parasitica (A. Rich. & Galeotti) Salazar & Soto Arenas (based on Spiranthes parasitica A. Rich. & Galeotti). This paper offers few insights concerning the cladistic evidence that inspired these particular new combinations or the altered generic circumscriptions (e.g., of Funkiella and Schiedeella) that they reflect.

Sprunt, S. V., H. Schneider, L. E. Watson, S. J. Russell, A. Navarro-Gomez & R. J. Hickey. 2011. Exploring the molecular phylogeny and biogeography of Pleopeltis polypodioides (Polypodiaceae, Polypodiales) inferred from plastid DNA sequences. Syst. Bot. 36: 862–869.

Pleopeltis polypodioides (L.) E. G. Andrews & Windham comprises six New World vars. and one South African subsp., entities that have been differentiated mainly on the basis of venation and the vestiture of the adaxial laminar surface. This study may (or may not) support the monophyly of the sp. as a whole. It reduces the seven lineages to four clades, each with a distinctive geographic range. The authors claim that “their results have added to a growing body of evidence that suggests Pl. polypodioides may consist of more than one species”; however, this would appear to hinge upon ranking rather than phylogeny. For the record, Costa Rica hosts three different vars. representing two of the four clades.

Taylor, C. M., D. A. Neill & R. E. Gereau. 2011. Rubiacearum americanarum magna hama pars XXIX: overview of the Neotropical genus Schizocalyx (Condamineeae) and description of two new species. Novon 21: 496–507.

Schizocalyx, according to its contemporary circumscription, comprises nine spp. ranging from southwestern Costa Rica to Bolivia and southeastern Brazil. Just one sp. occurs in Costa Rica, that being S. veraguensis (Dwyer) Kainul. & B. Bremer, recently transferred from Bathysa [see this column under “Kainulainen et al.” in The Cutting Edge 18(1), Jan. 2011]. This is a synoptic revision with synonymy, typology, and distribution summaries at all levels, a description of the genus, a dichotomous and indented key to spp., and generally rather brief discussions (for all but two spp., S. veraguensis being one of the exceptions). Conservation assessments, specimen citations, and illustrations (composite line drawings) are provided only for the new spp. (from Ecuador and Peru). The introductory portion discusses taxonomic history, morphology, distribution, and relationships.

Tepe, E. J. & L. Bohs. 2011. A revision of Solanum section Herpystichum. Syst. Bot. 36: 1068–1087.

Solanum sect. Herpystichum Bitter (Solanaceae), a member of the “Potato clade,” comprises 10 spp. of “ground-trailing and climbing vines that root adventitiously at the nodes.” The group is strictly neotropical, ranging from southern Mexico to northern Peru, although most of its spp. have narrow distributions and “tend to be rare.” Just three are recorded from Costa Rica: Solanum evolvulifolium Greenm. (ranging southward to southern Peru), S. pentaphyllum Bitter (also found in Colombia and Venezuela), and S. phaseoloides Pol. (distributed from Chiapas to western Panama). The second of these was reported only recently from the country [see “Leaps and Bounds,” under “Solanaceae,” in The Cutting Edge 16(4), Oct. 2009]. Features full synonymy and typology at all ranks from sect. on down, generous descriptions of the sect. and all spp., a dichotomous and indented key to spp., distribution and phenology summaries, notes, specimen citations (comprehensive or representative), range maps, a section on “Doubtful and excluded names,” and an index to exsiccatae. The introductory portion addresses taxonomic history, morphology and natural history, distribution, and phylogenetic relationships (including a cladogram). All 10 spp. are illustrated, either in a color plate of living material (e.g., Solanum evolvulifolium and S. phaseoloides) or with a line drawing (S. pentaphyllum). There are no taxonomic novelties (though three new spp. were described in a 2009 paper by the first author).

Van Ee, B., K. N. Gandhi & P. E. Berry. 2011. Nomenclature and taxonomy of Croton glabellus L. (Euphorbiaceae), a widespread Caribbean species. Taxon 60: 1489–1494.

The only item here even remotely relevant to Costa Rican floristics would seem to be the “second-step” lectotypification of Phyllanthus tremulus Griseb., the basionym of Astrocasia tremula (Griseb.) G. L. Webster.

Vargas, O. M. 2011. A nomenclator of Diplostephium (Asteraceae: Astereae): a list of species with their synonyms and distribution by country. Lundellia 14: 32–51.

The title says it all; well, most of it, anyway. Typological data are also included, and both supra- and infraspecific categories are enumerated (the former at the beginning, the latter nested below the appropriate spp.). The accepted sp. names (111 total) for this largely Andean genus are ordered alphabetically. Just two spp. are attributed to Costa Rica: the endemic Diplostephium costaricense S. F. Blake and the more widespread D. floribundum (Benth.) Wedd. (also in Colombia and Ecuador). Based on the information available to us, we would have to qualify the evidence for the presence of D. floribundum in Costa Rica as extremely tenuous.


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