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The Cutting Edge
Volume VII, Number 3, July 2000
News and Notes | Recent Treatments | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature
BALSAMINACEAE. J. Francisco Morales (INB).
Impatiens, vastly the largest genus in this small family and the only one occurring in the New World, has just one indigenous sp. in Costa Rica: the montane I. turrialbana Donn. Sm., extending to western Panama. Also treated here are the familiar and abundantly naturalized china, Impatiens walleriana Hook. f., and two other rarely or sparingly naturalized Old World spp., I. balsamina L. and I. sodenii Engl. & Warb. ex Engl.
GARRYACEAE. José González (INB).
As per William Burger's 1977 Flora costaricensis account of this monogeneric family (Fieldiana, Bot. 40: 18–20), but a single sp., Garrya laurifolia Hartw. ex Benth., reaches Costa Rica, where it occurs at higher elevations in the Cordillera de Talamanca.
HAMAMELIDACEAE. José González (INB).
Two oligotypic, Mesoamerican genera of Hamamelidaceae are each represented in Costa Rica by a single, arborescent sp. Matudaea trinervia Lundell occurs at scattered sites in the Cordilleras de Guanacaste and Talamanca, while Molinadendron hondurense (Standl.) P. K. Endress is known by a few collections from the Cerros de Escazú and the Pacific slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca. Neither sp. is endemic. Liquidambar styraciflua L., rarely cultivated in Costa Rica, is mentioned in the family discussion.
HYDROPHYLLACEAE. José González (INB).
Diverse and important in temperate regions of the Western Hemisphere, Hydrophyllaceae dwindle in Costa Rica to just three spp., in two genera. These are the paludal herbs Hydrolea elatior Schott and H. spinosa L., found (in Costa Rica) only in the Guanacaste and Caño Negro regions, and the widespread and variable weedy shrub Wigandia urens (Ruiz & Pav.) Kunth.
KRAMERIACEAE. José González (INB).
This monogeneric family is represented in Costa Rica by just two spp. of Krameria, K. ixine Loefl. and K. revoluta O. Berg. Status quo with respect to the 1991 Flora costaricensis treatment of William Burger and Beryl B. Simpson (Fieldiana, Bot., n. s. 28: 1–2), except that K. revoluta is now known from several localities outside of Parque Nacional Santa Rosa.
LAURACEAE. José González (INB) & Luis J. Poveda (JVR).
Accepted for Costa Rica are 128 spp. in 18 genera of this important family. Most diverse is Ocotea, with 49 spp., followed distantly by Nectandra (17 spp.), Persea (13 spp.), Beilschmiedia (10 spp.), Licaria (9 spp.), and Cinnamomum (including New World Phoebe) and Pleurothyrium (8 spp. each). Two genera (Gamanthera and Povedadaphne) are endemic to Costa Rica, as well as 47 spp., including 19 of Ocotea, five each of Licaria and Pleurothyrium, and four each of Nectandra and Persea. Provisional or unpublished names are used for six spp. No cultivated spp. are treated, except for the avocado (Persea americana Mill.), which also occurs indigenously. Except for Cassytha, comprising achlorophyllous, herbaceous, scandent parasites, all our genera consist exclusively of trees and shrubs. Inevitably, some strides have been made in the decade since the publication of William Burger and Henk van der Werff's Flora costaricensis account (Fieldiana, Bot., n. s. 23: 1–129. 1990), in which 107 spp. in 15 genera were formally treated. One new genus (Gamanthera), 14 new spp., and four new combinations relevant to Costa Rican Lauraceae were published during this period. Most of this activity owes to revisionary work by Sachiko Nishida (Beilschmiedia), Jens Rohwer (Nectandra), and van der Werff himself (Pleurothyrium, and miscellaneous contributions). Incoming collections have continued to add interesting new taxa, such as Aniba cinnamomiflora C. K. Allen and Cryptocarya sp., neither of which were included in Flora costaricensis; Litsea glaucescens Kunth, last collected in 1925, was rediscovered during the 90's, and several populations are now known. Correct or older names have been found for some spp., such as Nectandra purpurea (Ruiz & Pav.) Mez, replacing N. latifolia (Kunth) Mez, and Ocotea macropoda (Kunth) Mez, replacing "Ocotea babosa C. K. Allen s. l." Finally, our Manual blokes have opted for a few novel generic concepts, viz., sinking New World Phoebe into Cinnamomum (following van der Werff student Francisco Lorea's still unpublished dissertation) and segregating Rhodostemonodaphne from Nectandra.
PLANTAGINACEAE. J. Francisco Morales (INB).
No substantive changes here from William Burger's 1986 Flora costaricensis treatment of the family (Fieldiana, Bot., n. s. 18: 87–90). Just three spp., all widespread, weedy herbs, are still known from Costa Rica: Plantago australis Lam., P. lanceolata L., and P. major L. Only the first of these is apparently native. Plantago lanceolata, included by Burger solely on the basis of literature reports, is now vouchered by a herbarium collection.