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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

Main | Family List (MO) | Family List (INBio) | Cutting Edge
Draft Treatments | Guidelines | Checklist | Citing | Editors

The Cutting Edge

Volume XI, Number 3, July 2004

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

ACANTHACEAE. When Anisacanthus nicaraguensis Durkee was described in 1999 (Novon 9: 503–510), it became the first member of its genus recorded from Central America south of Honduras. Flora de Nicaragua (2001) tabbed it as a Nicaraguan endemic; however, such is no longer the case, thanks to Canadian naturalist Grace Wood, occasional Costa Rican resident (and wife of well-known entomologist D. Monty Wood), who has collected it twice (in 2002 and 2003) near the summit of Cerro Vista al Mar, the highest peak (983 m) on the Península de Nicoya. This proves that, in Costa Rica, even amateur botanists can still make exciting discoveries! But it took a field-hardened professional, Gerardo Herrera, to find Mendoncia cordata Leonard at 450 elevation in a remote area on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca, near the Panamanian border. Gerardo’s #5129 is the first Costa Rican record of this sp., previously known from adjacent Panama (Prov. Bocas del Toro) and Colombia. The foregoing determinations are courtesy of Manual Acanthaceae co-contributor Lucinda McDade (PH), who recently breezed through INBio (see under “News and Notes”).

GESNERIACEAE. A collection by Manual Marantaceae contributor Helen Kennedy (UBC), from 1380 m elevation on the Valle de General slope of Cerro de La Muerte, was originally determined as Drymonia aciculata Wiehler, and represented the only Costa Rican record of that otherwise Panamanian sp. That identification has now been revealed as erroneous, and D. aciculata is deleted from the Costa Rican flora. Instead, Helen’s number 4568 is the first Costa Rican record of Drymonia mortoniana Wiehler, based on a specimen from western Prov. Chiriquí, Panama, and wrongly considered a synonym of D. stenophylla (Donn. Sm.) H. E. Moore in the Flora of Panama. The latter two spp. are clearly distinct, according to Manual Gesneriaceae contributor Ricardo Kriebel (INB), to whom we owe this report.

LAMIACEAE. We finally managed to convey a snippet of a particularly nettlesome Scutellaria specimen (Hammel & Morales 22612) to Manual family contributor Amy Pool (MO). Her verdict: it represents Scutellaria dumetorum Schltdl., previously known form Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. The collection hails from the always exciting “Heartbreak Ridge” (see under “Season’s Pick”), made famous in these pages by the numerous discoveries of Francisco Morales (INB) and colleagues who have accompanied him to this limestone outcrop at ca. 1700 m elevation.

LORANTHACEAE. Among the Costa Rican mistletoe specimens determined by specialist Job Kuijt (LEA) on a recent visit to MO were several intriguing ones, the most noteworthy being a collection from the Península de Osa by former parataxonomist Juan Marín. According to Kuijt, Juan’s number 521 belongs to Oryctina, “a genus not previously known from north of Colombia,” and may even represent an undescribed sp. Oryctina has sometimes been included in Oryctanthus.

MALVACEAE. Much ado here, partly by coincidence and partly by virtue of Manual co-PI Barry Hammel’s current involvement in editing our treatment, by specialist Paul Fryxell (TX). Alexánder (‘Popeye’) Rodríguez (INB), Manual contributor of Tiliaceae (inter alia), recently brought to Hammel’s attention a suspicious specimen (Bello 4361) from the Monteverde region that had been filed for 12 years among the Tiliaceae indets. Instead, it turns out to be Abutilon andrieuxii Hemsl. (based on Hammel’s determination, assisted and confirmed via scanned images sent by e-mail to Fryxell), a handsome shrub ca. 1–2 m tall with yellow flowers, previously recorded from Mexico to Nicaragua. Almost immediately, Hammel found two plants, in ruderal situations near his house in San Isidro de Heredia, vegetatively matching this material and, apparently, nothing else (with luck, he will see it in flower later this year and report back). Hibiscus trilobus Aubl., known from widely scattered populations in northern Central America (Belize and Guatemala), Suriname, and the Greater Antilles, can now be reported from Costa Rica on the basis of a specimen collected by Ulises Chavarría in Parque Nacional Palo Verde. Ulises’s collection (#2107) represents the recently described H. t. subsp. hirsutus O. J. Blanch. & Fryxell (Novon 10: 190–192. 2000), extending southward from Belize and Guatemala. And then there’s Sida. Between Hammel and Rodríguez, INB material identified as S. acuta Burm. f. had been separated into two piles: one comprising white-flowered plants from dry forest, the other yellow-flowered plants of broader distribution. It turns out that the white-flowered entity (which has numerous other distinguishing features) corresponds to a former var. of S. acuta, recently accorded sp. rank as Sida cuspidata (A. Robyns) Krapov. (Bonplandia 12: 91. 2003). Further consultation of the Krapovickas paper revealed that the remaining (yellow-flowered) Costa Rican material of “Sida acuta” resolves into two additional spp. for the flora, S. hirsutissima Mill. and S. ulmifolia Mill.; however, in the bargain, we apparently lose the “real” S. acuta (sensu Krapovickas), which (pending herbarium checks at CR and MO) has not been found in Costa Rica. Finally, a resurrection: Sida setosa Mart. ex Colla, though collected on the Península de Osa in 1965 (Godfrey 66526, MO) and correctly identified by Fryxell in 1977, somehow fell through the cracks and was omitted from the Manual treatment. This realization came about during the process of identifying (via a description and scanned images e-mailed to Fryxell) a more recent collection (A. Rodríguez 4398), from near Guápiles, of this long-spined sp., similar to S. rhombifolia L.

PTERIDOPHYTA/ASPLENIACEAE. A diminutive Asplenium sp. collected by Manual co-PI Barry Hammel on the limestone ramparts of Cerro Anguciana, in the southern Fila Costeña, was tentatively identified by your editors as the Mexican A. soleirolioides A. R. Sm. [see The Cutting Edge 1(1): 10, Jan. 1994]. However, the author of that spp., Manual correspondent Alan R. Smith (UC), finally saw the specimen, and has rejected our determination in favor of Asplenium harrisii Jenman. This correction detracts not one iota from the significance of the discovery, as A. harrisii was previously known only from southern Mexico and Jamaica.

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