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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XXI, Number 1, January 2014

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

DIOSCOREACEAE. Astute field work on the Península de Osa by Reinaldo Aguilar has resulted in the definitive addition of a sp. to the Costa Rican flora, while at the same time tying up a loose end from the past. The new addition is Dioscorea amazonum Mart. ex Griseb., a mainly South American sp. that has also been collected in eastern Panama. Our “loose end” involves Hammel et al. 18083, a sterile collection, also from the Península de Osa, that was mentioned in Barry Hammel’s Manual Dioscoreaceae treatment (2003) as a “forma con hojas ± trilobadas” of the common Dioscorea convolvulacea Schltdl. & Cham. Barry is now certain that his sterile collection is conspecific with Reinaldo’s latest (which happens to be fertile), and that both correspond to D. amazonum. In the Manual key to Dioscorea spp., D. amazonum would have to come out twice: once in the first lead of couplet 2 (replacing D. convolvulacea, of which Barry’s was the only specimen with lobed leaves), and again (for those interpreting the leaves as unlobed) in the vicinity of couplet 22. We do not yet have complete distributional and phenological data for Reinaldo’s collection, but for excellent images thereof go to his photostream on Flickr. See also under “Annotate Your Copy.”

MELASTOMATACEAE. Clidemia myrmecina Gleason, previously known only from Panama and Colombia, can now be reported from Costa Rica on the basis of J. R. Clark et al. 345 (CAS). This information comes to us second-hand, via Manual collaborator Bruce Holst (SEL), and we have access to no other data for the collection; however, we assume it is from the northern Fila Costeña, in the vicinity of Fila Tinamastes, where the Selby crew has been working in recent years [see “Germane Literature,” under “Clark,” in The Cutting Edge 16(4), Oct. 2009]. The determination, by Manual Melastomataceae coordinator Frank Almeda (CAS), is beyond reproach. As might be gleaned from its epithet, C. myrmecina is characterized by formicaria.

ORCHIDACEAE. While processing a recently returned loan of Costa Rican Elleanthus specimens, we came upon two determined as E. scopula Schltr., a name quite unfamiliar to us. Further investigation revealed this to be an Andean sp., previously known only from Colombia to Bolivia. The specimens in question (Davidse et al. 28580; Grayum & Quesada 7447) document the following in-country distribution and phenology: “Bosque de roble, 2300–2850+ m; vert. Carib. y cerca de la División Continental, Cord. Central (Volcán Barva), E Cord. de Talamanca (Valle de Silencio). Fl. abr., set.” The Valle de Silencio station is extremely near the Panamanian border. We cannot explain the omission of this sp. from the Manual Orchidaceae treatment (2003), especially since both determinations are by Robert L. Dressler (1993), the author of our treatment. It may be that he had a change of heart at some point along the way. Elleanthus scopula was actually mentioned in the Manual, as having been previously reported from Costa Rica based on a misidentification (involving neither of the specimens cited above). Also merely mentioned in the Manual, as having been reported from Costa Rica based on a specimen not seen by Dressler, was Elleanthus robustus (Rchb. f.) Rchb. f., otherwise known from western Panama to Peru and Venezuela. Our recent returned loan also yielded a Costa Rican specimen (G. Herrera 3432) determined as E. robustus, albeit by a non-specialist, former INB curator Francisco Morales. Nevertheless, we believe there is a good chance that Chico’s identification is correct, based on the label description of “brácteas lila intenso, flor lila tenue”—the main features distinguishing E. robustus from the similar E. hymenophorus (Rchb. f.) Rchb. f., which has green bracts and yellow to red-orange flowers. Based on this one specimen (which was not the basis for the earlier report), the Costa Rican distribution and phenology of E. robustus could be summarized as follows: “Bosque pluvial, ca. 1600 m; vert. Pac. E Cord. de Talamanca. Fl. ago.”



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