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Volume XIV, Number 3, July 2007
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Bernal, R., F. Mora & J. Murillo. 2006. Euphorbia sinclairiana, an older
name for the widespread Euphorbia elata/Euphorbia sinclairiana, un nombre
más antiguo para la ampliamente distribuida Euphorbia elata. Caldasia
The title says just about everything you need to know, in two languages. Euphorbia
sinclairiana Benth. (Euphorbiaceae) had been regarded as a poorly known endemic of Isla
Gorgona, off the Pacific coast of Colombia, related to the widespread E. elata Brandegee,
but differing in its highly branched inflorescences with foliaceous bracts. However, with
recourse to modern collections from Isla Gorgona, the present authors have concluded that the
“differences of E. sinclairiana do not hold up...and fit well within the variation
of E. elata throughout its range.” Of course, the more obscure name is by far
the older of the two, so we must replace E. elata with E. sinclairiana (while bracing
ourselves for the conservation proposal that is sure to follow). Features a revised
description of the sp., according to its new circumscription, plus representative specimen
citations from throughout its range.
Borhidi, A. 2002. Revalidación del género Solenandra Hook. f.
(Rubiaceae). Acta Bot. Hung. 44: 223–231.
Spurred by molecular search showing Exostema (Rubiaceae) to be (apparently) polyphyletic,
workers have uncovered a suite of morphological characters corroborating the separation of 12 spp.
under the generic name Solenandra Hook. f. These characters (22 in all) are tabulated
and briefly discussed, following which Solenandra is formally described (in Latin!) and its
spp. and infraspecific taxa enumerated (with synonymy). Some alleged generic differences
are as follows: Solenandra has smaller, pale yellow or brownish, diurnal, odorless
flowers (vs. pink or violet, nocturnal, and aromatic), staminal filaments incurved (vs. straight)
in bud, larger anthers and pollen, and smaller capsules, with fewer and smaller seeds. Of the
two spp. of Exostema s. l. occurring in Costa Rica, only E. caribaeum (Jacq.) Roem.
& Schult. remains in Exostema s. str.; E. mexicanum A. Gray becomes the basis of
a new combination in Solenandra attributed to the author, along with 10 other new combinations
at sp. rank, four at subsp. rank, and one at the rank of var. One sp. each of Exostema
s. str. and Solenandra is illustrated with a composite line drawing.
Belying (at least in part) the author’s generic distinctions, both Costa Rican
representatives of Exostema s. l. have white or cream, strongly aromatic flowers.
Don’t ask us why we have only just now discovered this publication!
Brummitt, R. K. 2007. Report of the Nomenclature Committee for Vascular Plants:
58. Taxon 56: 590–594.
The “Committee for Vascular Plants,” newly established at the Vienna Congress in
2005, subsumes the former Committee for Spermatophyta (continuing its numbering sequence) together
with the Committee for Pteridophyta. Among the inaugural recommendations of the new committee,
just two appear to concern us. A proposal to reject the generic name Dendropogon Raf.,
which could embrace Tillandsia usneoides (L.) L. (Bromeliaceae) were Tillandsia to be
split up, is not recommended, with the sage admonition that “botanists should decide the
taxonomy first and then work out the nomenclature.” However, the rejection of Cedrus
alternifolia Mill., the basionym of the recently validated Luehea alternifolia (Mill.)
Mabb. [Tiliaceae; see
The Cutting Edge 11(1): 7, Jan. 2004], is recommended, which means that we are
back to using L. speciosa Willd. for this sp. (many of us had dutifully made the switch).
The Committee opines that, “when the tree is large [“30 m”], showy and well known,
there seems to be no benefit in taking up an epithet of a name that has been completely overlooked
for approaching 250 years.” Perhaps so, but both the size and familiarity of this sp.
have been somewhat exaggerated, at least from our perspective: just 26 Costa Rican collections
are recorded in TROPICOS, with a height range of only 5–15 m (for fertile individuals).
Daly, D. C. 2007. A new section of Protium from the neotropics. Studies
in neotropical Burseraceae XIII. Brittonia 59: 1–24.
Protium sect. Pepeanthos Daly, strongly supported by both morphological and molecular
evidence, is erected to accommodate nine spp. ranging from Costa Rica to Perú, Guyana, and
Brazil. Although no morphological synapomorpies are yet known for this group, it may be
distinguished in general by its milky resin, petals that are non-papillate on the adaxial surface,
antisepalous stamens reflexed between the petals, antepetalous stamens inserted on the petal bases,
and rugose-verrucose fruits. In addition, the flowers (and in some cases, the inflorescences)
display an unusual degree of sexual dimorphism. The new section is formally described in both
Latin and English, and compared morphologically with other major groups in Protium by means of
a table. Two separate sp. keys are provided, one based on flowers, the other on fruits.
Each sp. entry features synonymy and typology, distribution summaries, and discussions.
Descriptions, information on common names and uses (where available), specimen citations, and
illustrations (superb composite line drawings) are provided only for the five new spp. One of
the new spp. is Protium pecuniosum Daly, nearly endemic to the Península de Osa (with
one collection from Cerro Nara) and the only sp. occurring outside of South America (the epithet,
meaning “wealthy” or “rich,” alludes to Costa Rica). Long known to us
under a succession of misapplied names [Protium apiculatum Swart, P. fimbriatum Swart,
P. ravenii D. M. Porter, Tetragastris panamensis (Engl.) Kuntze, Thyrsodium
schomburgkianum Benth. (Anacardiaceae!)], P. pecuniosum is well marked by its
Ebihara, A., J.-Y. Dubuisson, K. Iwatsuki, S. Hennequin & M. Ito. 2006. A
taxonomic revision of Hymenophyllaceae. Blumea 51: 221–280.
Here we have yet another infrafamilial classification of Hymenophyllaceae, this one grounded
in molecular phylogenetics. Although the authors admit that “the presence of two
large monophyletic groups...can be interpreted to support the traditional bigeneric system,”
they still cannot resist accepting a total of nine genera. The good news is that
Hymenophyllum “almost corresponds to Hymenophyllum in the traditional and broad s
ense”; while it “includes some taxa formerly regarded as Trichomanes s. l.,”
those are exclusively Old World groups, as far as we can determine. Thus, for our purposes,
it is business as usual for Hymenophyllum. Not so for Trichomanes, here fragmented
into eight smaller genera. Five of these occur in Costa Rica: Abrodictyum (with
Trichomanes rigidum Sw.), Didymoglossum (T. curtii Rosenst., T. krausii
Hook. & Grev., T. membranaceum L., etc.), Polyphlebium (T. capillaceum L.,
T. diaphanum Kunth, T. pyxidiferum L., etc.), Trichomanes s. str. (T.
crispum L., T. botryoides Kaulf., T. elegans Rich., T. lucens Sw.,
T. pinnatum Hedw., T. tuerckheimii Christ, etc.), and Vandenboschia (e.g.,
T. collariatum Bosch). With the exception of Polyphlebium, all of these genera
are further divided into subgenera (10 in Hymenophyllum). All nine genera are separated
in a dichotomous (though non-indented) key, and similar, nested keys separate the subgenera.
For each genus and subgenus, we get full synonymy and typology plus a formal description, distribution
summary, chromosome base number, and “note.” Representative spp. (including many new
combinations, attributed to various of the authors) are listed under each genus (Polyphlebium)
or subgenus. A much appreciated appendix provides the generic and (where appropriate) subgeneric
affinity, under the new system, of every sp. in the family, according to its basionym.
Eriksson, R. 2007. New species of Sphaeradenia (Cyclanthaceae) from Costa Rica
and Ecuador. Novon 17: 156–159.
Sphaeradenia rostellata R. Erikss. is the name finally given to the sp. treated in the Manual
as “Sphaeradenia sp. A,” and long suspected to be new to science. Here it is
compared most closely to two endemic Costa Rican congeners, S. occidentalis R. Erikss. and S.
praetermissa R. Erikss. There is no new distributional information to add to the Manual
account, as no additional specimens are cited. Illustrated with a composite line drawing.
Fryxell, P. A. & F. A. Berazain. 2007. (1780) Proposal to reject the name Hibiscus
brasiliensis (Malvaceae). Taxon 56: 611–612.
The names Hibiscus brasiliensis L. (1763) and H. phoeniceus Jacq. (1776) have long
been associated with the same sp., widely distributed in the Neotropics. This entity has been
called either H. brasiliensis, with H. phoeniceus in synonymy, or (more commonly) H.
phoeniceus, with H. brasiliensis rejected as a “nomen dubium” or otherwise
excluded. Turns out there is reason aplenty for the confusion: whereas the Linnaean
protologue of H. brasiliensis questioningly cited a Plumier plate unequivocally identifiable as
the sp. in question, the accompanying description is strongly discordant; moreover, Linnaeus later
dropped the plate citation. The present authors have found no specimen in Linnaeus’s
herbaria that “corresponds to the description or that can be associated with the name,”
leaving the Plumier plate as the only original material available for lectotypification. But
rather than “perpetuate the confusion and misapplication that has been engendered” by
the prior use of the name H. brasiliensis, the intended application of which “has
never been satisfactorily ascertained,” the authors eschew lectotypification and seek to avoid
what they see as “a disadvantageous nomenclatural change” by means of this proposal.
For members of the Committee, this one may be a tough call; but we are biased here, since Hibiscus
phoeniceus is the name used for this sp. in the soon-to-be-published Manual Malvaceae treatment
Gómez-Laurito, J. 2005. Una nota sobre Burmeistera quercifolia
Gómez-Laur. & L. D. Gómez. Brenesia 63-64: 127.
The initial publication, more than 20 years ago (Brenesia 22: 352. 1984), of the binomial
mentioned in the title has been considered invalid, because no type specimen was properly
designated. Although a locality was indicated (“Bosque secundario 5 km NE de Palmira,
Zarcero, 2200 m, Alajuela”), details including collector name, collection number, and date of
collection were omitted. Compounding this problem, the author has been unable to locate any
specimen of the sp. in question bearing the aforementioned locality data. To validate the name
Burmeisteria quercifolia, a type specimen is here explicitly designated. In accordance
with Art. 45.1 of the Code, the date of valid publication for B. quercifolia is 2005, during
which year the subject of all this attention was a “Season’s Pick” for us [see
The Cutting Edge 12(4): 1,
N.B.: This installment of our newsletter contains a flurry of reviews from outdated issues
of Brenesia, explicable by the fact that these issues have only now appeared on our new
periodical shelves. We have no idea whether this circumstance owes to late distribution from
the source, or some subsequent delay; it may simply mean that these issues are actually published
much later than the date indicated on their covers (although we can find no internal evidence for
such a contention). Whatever the cause, these lengthy delays are rather disturbing for us,
since Brenesia is inevitably of paramount importance to our work. We will continue to
review all germane articles from Brenesia in these pages, however stale the news may be.
Greuter, W. 2007. (1776) Proposal to conserve the name Melampodium ruderale
against Eleutheranthera ovata (Compositae, Heliantheae). Taxon
Eleutheranthera has long been known as a monospecific genus, comprising the well known
E. ruderalis (Sw.) Sch. Bip., neotropical in origin but weedy and now pantropical. The
genus name was first validated in 1802 in an exceedingly obscure French journal (now available
online), in which the sp. name E. ovata Poit. was simultaneously validated. However,
these facts were not widely appreciated until 1996, when the Index Nominum Genericorum database
was corrected accordingly; to use Greuter’s words, “since then, without anyone noticing,
the time bomb has been ticking for E. ruderalis.” This proposal seeks to conserve
Melampodium ruderale Sw. (1806), the basionym of Eleutheranthera ruderalis, against
E. ovata, a name that has been “ignored to such an extent that a Google search for it
nly produces three hits, all for synonymic use.” Fair enough, but this is just a little
weed, well under 30 m tall, and not the least bit showy....
Hartog, C. den & J. Kuo. 2006. Taxonomy and biogeography of seagrasses. Pp.
1–23 in, A. W. D. Larkum, R. J. Orth & C. M. Duarte (eds.), Seagrasses:
biology, ecology and conservation. Springer, Dordrecht, Netherlands. 691 pp.
This is an authoritative and up-to-date synoptic taxonomic overview of the truly marine angiosperms,
which are distributed among six families (all monocots): Cymodoceaceae, Hydrocharitaceae,
Posidoniaceae, Ruppiaceae, Zannichelliaceae, and Zosteraceae. Of these, Cymodoceaceae,
Hydrocharitaceae, and Ruppiaceae (included in Potamogetonaceae in the Manual) are represented in
Costa Rica. Dichotomous (though non-indented) keys are provided at the family and genus levels,
and lengthy, technical descriptions for each family. Each genus is discussed informally, though
often at considerable length; at minimum, geographic distribution and number of spp. are indicated.
The 25 other chapters of this volume cover a wide range of topics, mainly ecological but
also including morphology and anatomy, sexual reproduction, physiology, and conservation.
Iltis, H. H. 2005. Studies in the Cleomaceae III: Cleome costaricensis,
a montane endemic. Brenesia 63-64: 1–10.
The new taxon described in this paper was first encountered by its author near the continental
divide between San José and Cartago, on the second day of his historic 1949 collecting
expedition (briefly recounted) with the late Richard W. Holm. Although
initially conceived as a subsp. of Cleome spinosa Jacq., no name was ever validly published,
and the wait has been rewarded with an upgrade to full sp. rank. The new sp., Cleome
costaricensis Iltis, is restricted to a surprisingly small area of central Costa Rica (Cordillera
Central and Valle Central) at ca. 1000–1500 m elevation, as well as the immediate vicinity of El
Hato de Volcán, at a similar elevation in westernmost Panama (Prov. Chiriquí). It
is compared most closely with C. spinosa, generally of lower elevations, from which it differs
inter alia in its generally fewer and smaller leaflets, with fewer lateral veins, and larger seeds.
A key (dichotomous, non-indented) separates all the spiny spp. of Cleome occurring in
the Mesoamerican region. The new sp. is depicted in two separate line drawings (one composite),
and its seeds are compared photographically with those of C. spinosa. The distributions
of C. costaricensis and C. spinosa are mapped in detail from southern Nicaragua to
western Panama, and those of several other close relatives on a global scale.
Kirschner, J. 2007. A new species of Luzula sect. Luzula (Juncaceae)
from Costa Rica. Novon 17: 202–205.
Luzula ignivoma Kirschner, said to be most closely related to the Chilean L.
tristachya Desv., is narrowly endemic in Costa Rica to the eastern portion of the Cordillera
Central (Volcanes Irazú and Turrialba), where it occurs at elevations of ca. 3000–3300 m.
This material was treated in the Manual under the name Luzula campestris (L.) DC. var.
multiflora (Ehrh.) Čelak., which was also attributed to the Cordillera de Talamanca.
The disposition of the Talamancan populations is not discussed in this paper. As an
aside, several of the author’s collections from the La Fortuna region extend the range of
Juncus marginatus Rostk. to western Panama (Prov. Chiriquí). The new sp. is
illustrated with an excellent line drawing depicting the habit, as well as several additional
Kluge, J. & M. Kessler. 2005. Inventory of pteridophytes along an elevational
transect in Braulio Carrillo National Park, La Selva Biological Station and Cerro de la Muerte,
Costa Rica. Brenesia 63-64: 11–34.
Here we get the raw data from this project, which spawned at least two additional publications
[see e.g. The Cutting Edge
14(1): 6, Jan. 2007]. The most important (floristic) data are presented in the form
of an annotated checklist enumerating all 484 pteridophyte spp. (belonging to 27 families and
77 genera) recorded by the authors from the interrupted transect described in title of the
paper. The most sp.-rich families were Lomariopsidaceae (81 spp., or 16.7% of the total),
Grammitidaceae (59 spp., 12.2%), Hymenophyllaceae (47 spp., 9.7%), and Polypodiaceae
(42 spp., 8.7%), while Elaphoglossum (74 spp., 15.3%), Asplenium (35 spp., 7.2%),
Thelypteris (26 spp., 5.4%), and Trichomanes (24 spp., 5.0%) topped the leader-board
for genera. Species diversity was highest between 900 m and 2000 m, with a peak at ca.
1600 m. Comparisons with results from other countries reveal similar patterns. The
checklist annotations indicate, for each sp., minimum and maximum elevational occurrence, number
of plots (out of 156 total) from which recorded, mean number of individuals per plot, and substrate
preferences. Abiotic conditions along the transect are described in some detail in the
introductory pages. Unfortunately, the extensive sp. checklist is unvouchered, though
collections are said to have been deposited at CR, GOET, and USJ.
Lobo C., S. & A. Ruiz-Boyer. 2005. Colección tipo del Herbario Nacional
de Costa Rica (CR). V. Dicotyledonae. Brenesia 63-64: 35–80.
This is stated to be “la quinta y última parte” of this series, initiated
in 1995. Previous installments have covered the monocots [in three parts; see
Edge 11(3): 9, Jul. 2004] and cryptogams (both vascular and non-vascular). The present
contribution accounts for 1748 types representing 1187 names in 103 dicot families. These
are broken down as follows: 119 holotypes, 773 isotypes, 356 paratypes, 190 syntypes, 61
isosyntypes, 3 lectotypes, 31 isolectotypes, 2 isoneotypes, and 174 phototypes. Not
surprisingly, the family with the most types at CR is Piperaceae, with 386 (22.1% of the total).
Although 91.5% of the types at CR were collected in Costa Rica, 13 other countries are
also represented. Publication data are provided for all names, which are listed in strict
alphabetical order by family.
Morales, J. F. 2007. Una nueva especie de Connarus (Connaraceae) para
Costa Rica. Rodriguesia 58: 45–48.
Connarus vulcanicus J. F. Morales, the fifth Costa Rican representative of its genus,
is endemic to the Cordillera de Guanacaste, whence it is known by just nine collections, from
550–1200 m on both slopes. The new sp. (which has been confused in herbaria with
Rourea schippii Standl.!) is compared with the Mexican Connarus schultesii Standl.,
from which it differs in its much smaller leaflets, shorter petals, petal and fruit pubescence,
and preference for wetter forests at somewhat higher elevations. All five Costa Rican spp.
of Connarus are distinguished in a dichotomous, indented key. The new sp. is depicted
in photographic images of herbarium material.
Mori, S. A., C.-H. Tsou, C.-C. Wu, B. Cronholm & A. A. Anderberg. 2007.
Evolution of Lecythidaceae with an emphasis on the circumscription of neotropical genera:
information from combined ndhF and trnL-F sequence data. Amer. J. Bot. 94:
With respect only to those genera occurring in Costa Rica, Couratari, Couroupita,
Grias, and Gustavia are supported as monophyletic by these analyses, while
Eschweilera and Lecythis are not. Species of the last-mentioned genus are
scattered among five different clades, those of Eschweilera among four clades. Some
morphological corroborations for these newly revealed clades are adduced (most notably,
sarcotestate seeds vs. seeds with a lateral aril as the basis for a previously unappreciated
dichotomy in Eschweilera), but fully realized taxonomic resolutions are apparently far
down the road.
Morrone, O., M. A. Scataglini & F. O. Zuloaga. 2007. Cyphonanthus,
a new genus segregated from Panicum (Poaceae: Panicoideae: Paniceae) based on morphological,
anatomical and molecular data. Taxon 56: 521–532.
Following the restriction of the once monolithic Panicum to its autonymic subgenus (ca.
100 spp.) and the segregation of genera such as Dichanthelium, Megathyrsus, and
Steinchisma, many erstwhile members of Panicum s. l. remained unclassified in
“incertae sedis” status [see
The Cutting Edge 10(3):
4, Jul. 2003]. One such sp. is Panicum discrepans Döll, widespread in
the Neotropics but known from Costa Rica by just one collection, from near Buenos Aires in
the southern Valle de General. This study confirms that P. discrepans (x = 10) is
cladistically distant as well as phenetically distinct from Panicum s. str. (x = 9),
thus it is sequestered in the monospecific Cyphonanthus Zuloaga & Morrone, here described
as new. The combination Cyphonanthus discrepans (Döll) Zuloaga & Morrone is
validated, and complete synonymy and typology are provided for both the genus and sp., together
with descriptions (Latin and English, in the case of the genus). The distribution of
C. discrepans is mapped, and the sp. is illustrated with an excellent composite line
drawing. Morphological differences between C. discrepans and Panicum s. str.
are enumerated, and a tabularized comparison with seven related taxa is presented.
Pool, A. 2007. New species of Stachys (Lamiaceae) from Mesoamerica.
Novon 17: 60–66.
Four spp. are described here, of which three occur in Costa Rica. These arrive just in
the nick of time for Vol. 6 of the Manual! Stachys darcyana A. Pool, known
principally from the slopes of Volcán Barú in western Panama, is also vouchered
by a single Costa Rican collection, from Cerro Cuericí in the Cordillera de Talamanca.
It is compared to the South American S. hebens Epling and S. sprucei Briq.,
among other spp. Stachys riparia A. Pool, endemic to Costa Rica at
1400–1850 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca, is most
similar to the parapatric S. pittieri Briq., the Venezuelan S. fendleri Briq.,
and S. uniflora A. Pool, the last new sp. to be discussed here. In addition to the
latter three spp., Stachys uniflora is compared with the Mexican S. rotundifolia
Moc. & Sessé ex Benth., the only Mesoamerican congener that also has solitary
flowers in the axils of foliage leaves. Nearly restricted to Costa Rica, S.
uniflora has also been collected once in western Panama. Each new sp. is illustrated
with a photographic image of a herbarium specimen.
Prado, J., C. Del Nero Rodrigues, A. Salatino & M. L. F. Salatino. 2007.
Phylogenetic relationships among Pteridaceae, including Brazilian species, inferred from rbcL
sequences. Taxon 56: 355–368.
The family Pteridaceae, according to its most recent circumscription [see
The Cutting Edge
13(4): 9–10, Oct. 2006], is strongly supported as monophyletic; however, several other
fern families (Dennstaedtiaceae, Lindsaeaceae, Saccolomataceae) may not be. Within
Pteridaceae, numerous genera appear to be para- or polyphyletic, including Adiantum,
Anogramma, Cheilanthes, Doryopteris, Eriosorus, Hemionitis,
Pellaea, and Pteris. Simple remedies may be available in some of these cases;
for example, Adiantum could be made monophyletic by the segregation of A. cuneatum
G. Forst. and A. raddianum C. Presl, and Pteris by the removal of P.
Rico-Arce, M. de L. 2007. A checklist and synopsis of American species of
Acacia (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae). Comis. Nac. Conocim. Uso Biodivers. (CONABIO),
México, D. F., Mexico. 207 pp.
This extremely useful compendium presents critical baseline data for all 159 Acacia spp.
native to the New World (plus more than 50 native infraspecific taxa), as well as 29 spp. introduced
from the Old World. The sp. entries are presented in strict alphabetical sequence, without
regard to geographic origin or infrageneric taxonomy. Complete synonymy and typology are
provided for each taxon, together with a distribution summary, brief description, evaluation of
conservation status (according to IUCN categories), indication of infrageneric disposition, and (as
available or necessary) a discussion of local names and uses and/or miscellaneous “notes.
” Following a brief tenure at sp. rank [see
The Cutting Edge 8(1):
5, Jan. 2001], the jaw-breaking Acacia guanacastensis (H. D. Clarke, Seigler & Ebinger)
Ebinger, Seigler & H. D. Clarke is restored as a var. of A. farnesiana (L.) Willd.
The only taxon explicitly attributed to Costa Rica with which we would take issue is Acacia
cookii Saff., which we believe to be based on early misidentifications of A. ruddiae D.
Selected taxa are illustrated with composite line drawings and/or color (mostly) photos, the
latter (32 in all) grouped near the end of the volume, just before a bibliography and index to
scientific names. The introduction briefly (with the help of several tables) addresses
various aspects of morphology, chromosome numbers, nodulation, geography, conservation, and
infrageneric classification. There are no keys.
It scarcely needs to be said that the author treats Acacia in a very broad,
quasi-traditional sense, omitting only the segregate genus Acaciella, of which she
recently co-authored a revision [see
The Cutting Edge 14(2): 10, Apr. 2007]. This lumping of both Old and New World spp. in
a single, immense genus allows continued use of the familiar name Acacia for the majority
of New World spp. Even so, the author has apparently flouted the recent conservation of
Acacia Mill. with a conserved, Australian type [see
The Cutting Edge 12(1):
5–6, Jan. 2005], based on her use of the designation Acacia subgen. Acacia
for a New World taxon. It might be assumed that this nomenclatural decision was too recent
to be accommodated by the present contribution, were it not for the fact that even more recently
published synonyms in Senegalia [see
The Cutting Edge 14(1):
10, Jan. 2007] and Vachellia [see
The Cutting Edge 13(2):
12, Apr. 2006] are duly cited throughout this work. The segregate Mariosousa
[see The Cutting Edge
14(1): 10, Jan. 2007], evidently most recent of all, is nowhere mentioned. In all fairness,
these issues are quite incidental to both the content and organization of this volume, which
are not compromised one iota by the author’s naming or circumscription of infrageneric
We are indebted to Mario Sousa S. (MEXU) for providing a copy of this invaluable
Rodrigues, R. S. & A. M. G. A. Tozzi. 2007. Morphological analysis and
re-examination of the taxonomic circumscription of Acosmium (Leguminosae, Papilionoideae,
Sophoreae). Taxon 56: 439–452.
A cladistic analysis of 60 morphological characters, involving 34 spp. in 10 genera,
“offers the first explicit demonstration that Acosmium does not correspond to a
monophyletic group,” corroborating some results from previous molecular studies.
The ca. 17 spp. of this exclusively neotropical (and largely South American) genus “fall
into three distinct, not closely related clades,” indicating that “the current
generic delimitation of Acosmium...needs reconsideration.” Not surprisingly,
the authors advocate three separate genera: Acosmium s. str., reduced to just the
autonymic section (ca. 3 spp.); a monospecific, South American genus recently described as
Guianodendron Sch. Rodr. & A. M. G. Azevedo; and Leptolobium Vogel (1837),
the operative name at genus rank for the remainder of Acosmium s. l. The last-mentioned
group includes Acosmium panamense (Benth.) Yakovlev (formerly well known as Sweetia
panamensis Benth.), the only sp. of Acosmium s. l. occurring in the Mesoamerican region.
As far as we can determine, A. panamense does not have a name in Leptolobium,
and the indicated combination is not validated here. Leptolobium, in the sense of
these authors, is “diagnosed” by two synapomorphies: floral buds with inflexed
stamens and flowers with “the adaxial petal slightly differentiated in shape and/or size
from the other petals.”
Rojas, A. F. & J. Trusty. 2004. Diversidad pteridofítica de la Isla
del Coco, Costa Rica. Brenesia 62: 1–14.
This is another companion piece to the recently published vascular flora of Isla del Coco
[see The Cutting Edge
13(4): 11–12, Oct. 2006], spearheaded by the second author of the
present paper. In the more general work, the Isla del Coco was characterized as uncommonly
rich in pteridophytes, which account for 30% of the total vascular flora, including 42% of the
native spp. and 50% of the endemic spp. The meat of the present paper is a vouchered
checklist presented at the end, enumerating all 80 infrageneric pteridophyte taxa known to
occur on the island and annotated to indicate the endemic taxa (18, or 22.5% of the total) and
new records (17, or 22%). Elsewhere, two infraspecific taxa are described as new:
Asplenium delicatulum C. Presl var. cocosensis A. Rojas & Trusty and Saccoloma
elegans Kaulf. var. spinosa A. Rojas & Trusty, both endemic. Also, four taxa
displaying morphological differences with respect to their mainland counterparts are briefly
discussed; some of these, “with more analysis, may merit taxonomic distinction...in the
future.” A tendency for some pteridophyte spp. to occur at lower elevations on Isla
del Coco than on the mainland (“debido a la cercanía de la región
montañosa con la costa”) is documented (including a table), as well as ostensible
misidentifications and variant usages of names in past accounts of the island’s flora (with
an enumeration of spp. provisionally excluded). The two new vars. are depicted in
photographic images of their holotypes.
Rolleri, C. H. & C. Prada. 2006. Revisión de los grupos de especies del
género Blechnum (Blechnaceae-Pteridophyta): el grupo B. penna-marina.
Acta. Bot. Malac. 31: 7–50.
On the heels of the authors’ annotated checklist of neotropical Blechnum spp.
[see The Cutting Edge
13(4): 9, Oct. 2006] comes this, the first installment (as far as we are
aware) of an apparently sequential revision of these spp. according to the seven informal groups
distinguished by Tryon and Tryon (1982; Ferns and allied plants with special reference to
tropical America, Springer-Verlag, New York; pp. 672–674). The group here
considered, centering on Blechnum penna-marina (Poir.) Kuhn, comprises 10 spp. (one of
which entrains three subspp.), best represented in the austral regions of the world but also
reaching Mesoamerica. Two spp. seem to occur in Costa Rica: Blechnum
lehmannii Hieron. (based on a single specimen cited from Volcán Poás) and
B. stoloniferum (Mett. ex E. Fourn.) C. Chr. (based on the type of Blechnum
microlomaria L. D. Gómez, ostensibly a synonym). These reports require some
explanation, as both B. lehmannii and B. microlomaria were indicated (the latter
questioningly) as synonyms of B. lherminieri (Bory) C. Chr. in Flora mesoamerica
Vol. 1 (1995). The novel disposition of Blechnum lehmannii, included along with
B. lherminieri in a different sp. group by Tryon and Tryon, is addressed by these
authors in a rather incoherent discussion that (in conjunction with the inadequate specimen
citations) leaves us wondering how these two sp. have suddenly wound up in separate groups,
and whether the real B. lherminieri should still be attributed to Costa Rica. The
notion of Blechnum microlomaria as a synonym of B. stoloniferum (and hence of the
latter sp. as occurring in Costa Rica) traces to a paper by Costa Rican pteridologist
Alexander Rojas [see
The Cutting Edge 9(2):
9, Apr. 2002]. Features a combined key to spp. and subspp. (dichotomous, but not
indented), full synonymy (but not typology), detailed sp. and subsp. descriptions, distribution
summaries, discussions, and very limited specimen citations. The introductory section
contains an abundance of descriptive morphological and anatomical detail, with illustrations of
rhizome and stipe scales, leaf epidermides and venation, stipe cross-sections, indusia, and spore
ornamention (SEM micrographs). In general, this contribution may be characterized as
strong on these sorts of details, but weak on taxonomic formalities. Three new combinations
are validated (one at sp. rank, two at subsp. rank), none of interest to us.
Sánchez-Vindas, P. E. 2004. Una nueva especie de Calyptranthes L.
(Myrtaceae) de las nebliselvas y bosques enanos de las cordilleras de Guanacaste y Tilarán,
Costa Rica. Brenesia 62: 31–34.
Calyptranthes monteverdensis P. E. Sánchez is based on numerous specimens,
mostly from the Cordillera de Tilarán (in the Monteverde region), but with one collection
from Volcán Cacao in the Cordillera de Guanacaste. All of these records are from the
Pacific slope, at 1200–1800 m elevation. The new sp. is said to be most closely
related to the Guatemalan C. petenensis Lundell, a lowland sp. with differently shaped leaves
and fewer flowers per inflorescence that are apparently pedicellate. Illustrated with a
photographic image of the holotype.
Seigler, D. S. & J. E. Ebinger. 2007. (1777–1779) Proposals to conserve
the names Acacia macracantha against Mimosa lutea, A. constricta against
M. arcuata, and A. collinsii against A. glutea (Fabaceae).
Taxon 56: 608–610.
The authors have encountered several glitches in their nomenclatural resurrection of
Vachellia from the ashes of Acacia [see
The Cutting Edge
13(2): 12, Apr. 2006]. Of the three issues enumerated in the title, only the last
definitely concerns us. The authors propose conservation of Acacia collinsii Saff.
[basionym of their recently validated Vachellia collinsii (Saff.) Seigler & Ebinger],
well established in both the taxonomic and ecological literature, over the wholly obscure A.
glutea Ram. Goyena. We wonder if any Ramírez Goyena name has ever been accepted,
and why his Flora nicaragüense (1909–1911) is not simply added to Appendix VI
(“Opera utique oppressa”) of the Code.
Smith, G. L. & N. C. Coile. 2007. Piptocarpha (Compositae:
Vernonieae). Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 99: 1–94.
This monograph, based on the first author’s University of Georgia Ph.D. dissertation
(1983), accepts 46 spp. of Piptocarpha, a neotropical assemblage of scandent shrubs
and trees. Pipotocarpha is almost exclusively South American, with only P.
poeppigiana (DC.) Baker extending to Mesoamerica (another sp. reaches Trinidad, while
P. tetrantha Urb. is endemic to Puerto Rico). Thus, there is very little here
that is new for us. Features full syonymy and typology and formal descriptions at all
levels, plus a hierarchical presentation of the rather complicated infrageneric classification,
which must be negotiated to use the sp. keys, nested therein. The sp. entries follow in a
separate bloc, though they are ordered according to the classification (as conveniently
summarized in a preliminary “synopsis”). Each sp. (and subsp.) entry includes
a distribution summary, specimen citations (selective in the extreme), and (generally) a
discussion, plus information on local names and uses, as available. Distribution maps
are provided, as well as (at the end) a section on “Doubtful names and excluded taxa”
and indices to exsiccatae and local and scientific names. A few selected spp. (including
P. poeppigiana) are depicted in composite line drawings. The introductory section,
with the aid of numerous tables and black-and-white photos, addresses taxonomic history,
morphology, karyology, coevolution with rusts, chemotaxonomy (including extensive original
research on flavonoids), phylogeny, distribution, conservation, and uses.
Incidentally, these authors maintain Pollalesta (with a single sp. in Costa Rica) as
distinct from Piptocoma, contrary to the prevailing world-view [see
The Cutting Edge 3(2):
11, Apr. 1996]. Their reasons for this are presented in narrative fashion on p. 7,
followed by a brief “Key to Piptocarpha and its generic allies.”
Sota, E. de la. 2007. Una nueva combinación en Microgramma C. Presl
(Pteridophyta–Polypodiaceae). Novon 17: 27–28.
Microgramma dictyophylla (Kunze ex Mett.) de la Sota comb. nov., based on
Polypodium dictyophyllum Kunze ex Mett., exerts priority over and thus replaces
M. fuscopunctata (Hook.) Vareschi, the name most recently used for the sp. in question.
Of greater interest to us is the rather desultory citation of a Costa Rican specimen,
Döbbeler & Menjivar 927 (M), which, as far as we can determine, constitutes the
first Mesoamerican record for this sp. (otherwise distributed from Colombia to Bolivia, Venezuela,
and Brazil). The locality given is “Río Tuis,” on the Atlantic slope of
the northern Cordillera de Talamanca in Prov. Cartago.
Szlachetko, D. L. 2007. Notes sur l’alliance Stanhopea (Stanhopeinae,
Vandoideae). Richardiana 7: 45–49.
Stanhopea (Orchidaceae) in the sense of Reichenbach f. is here divided, on floral-morphological
grounds, into five smaller genera, two of which (neither occurring in Costa Rica) are described as
new. The monophyly of these splinter genera has allegedly been confirmed by molecular analyses,
though this would not justify their recognition, in our eyes, as long as Stanhopea s. l. is
also monophyletic. According to the splitting scenario, four of the seven spp. of
Stanhopea s. l. attributed to Costa Rica in the Manual would apparently remain in
Stanhopea s. str., while the following three would be transferred to Stanhopeastrum
Rchb. f.: Stanhopea cirrhata Lindl., S. ecornuta Lem., and S. pulla Rchb.
f. Needless to say, the indicated new combinations are here validated in the name of the author.
-- & H. B. Margońska. 2006. Redefinition of the genera Malaxis Sol.
ex Sw. and Microstylis (Nutt.) Eaton (Orchidaceae, Epidendroideae). Acta Soc.
Bot. Poloniae 75: 229–231.
Based on a few minor differences in floral structure (and with no mention of cladistic or other
phylogenetic evidence), the authors have been “induced to recognize” Malaxis and
Microstylis (combined under the former name in the Manual) as separate genera. Technical
descriptions of each entity are followed by a list of the 13 Microstylis spp. here accepted, of
which only M. simillima Rchb. f. is represented in Costa Rica [it was treated in the Manual
under the name Malaxis simillima (Rchb. f.) Kuntze]. Three new combinations are
validated, none relevant to us.
Zuchowski, W. 2007. Tropical plants of Costa Rica: a guide to native and
exotic flora. Zona Tropical, San José, Costa Rica. 529 pp.
The imminent publication of this volume was announced in the “News and Notes” column
of our last issue, wherein we speculated that it would prove to be second edition of the
author’s A guide to tropical plants of Costa Rica (2005). In fact, even to call
it a second edition is a bit of a stretch; more accurately, this is a slightly revised first
edition, and that is high praise indeed, because this was a fairly wonderful book to begin with;
why fix it if it ain’t broke? Apart from the minor title change, this most recent
incarnation is in every way virtually indistinguishable from its predecessor: the content
is essentially untouched (except for the addition of a color topographic country map to the
inner front cover), the pagination is identical, all of the illustrations appear to be the same,
even the price is unchanged ($35.00 list, though we’ve already seen it on sale for
substantially less). Thus, for a detailed description, we can do no better than refer back
to our review of the original title [see
The Cutting Edge 13(1):
13–14, Jan. 2006], omitting, perhaps, the final two sentences. Nevertheless, this
is not merely a reprinting, as subtle changes, mostly of a nomenclature or taxonomic nature,
can be detected throughout. The author’s earlier book, in addition to being
beautifully illustrated and functionally designed, was noteworthy for its handling of scientific
names, impeccably spelled and authoritatively applied throughout. This new publication
confirms that the author has every intention of maintaining these standards, exceptional for a
popular field guide, by responding to ongoing sysematic innovations. We note the following
name changes (in the order of their appearance in the book), though surely there are many others:
at the genus level, Notopleura (Rubiaceae) is now recognized as distinct from Psychotria,
Hansteinia (Acanthaceae) is merged in Stenostephanus, Acronia (Orchidaceae)
is segregated from Pleurothallis, and Polypodium polypodioides (L.) Watt
(Pteridophyta/Polypodiaceae) is included in Pleopeltis. At sp. rank, Cecropia
polyphlebia Donn. Sm. becomes C. angustifolia Trécul (though it remains in
Cecropiaceae); Costus speciosus (J. Koenig) Sm. (Costaceae) changes to Cheilocostus
speciosus (J. Koenig) C. D. Specht; Carapa guianensis Aubl. (Meliaceae) is now C.
nicaraguensis C. DC.; Mucuna urens (L.) Medik. (Fabaceae/Faboideae) reverts to
“M. sp.”; Blechnum buchtienii Rosenst. (Pteridophyta/Blechnaceae)
is now B. auratum (Fée) R. M. Tryon & Stolze; Attalea butyracea
(Mutis ex L. f.) Wess. Boer (Arecaceae) becomes (following Manual usage) A. rostrata
Oerst.; Oncidium ampliatum Lindl. (Orchidaceae), presumably having been misidentified, is
changed to O. isthmi Schltr. (spelled “isthmii,” the only error of this
type we encountered); Phragmipedium popowii Braem, Ohlund & Quéné
(Orchidaceae) is now P. warscewiczii (Rchb. f.) Christenson subsp. warscewiczii;
Stenorrhynchos speciosum (Jacq.) Rich. ex Spreng. (Orchidaceae) becomes S.
albidomaculatum Christenson; and “Azolla sp.” (Pteridophyta/Salviniaceae)
is resolved as A. cristata Kaulf. In most cases, names used in the earlier volume
(or widely used in other standard works) are referenced. No adjustments have been made at
family rank in the new book, perhaps for practical reasons, however some recent innovations (for
example, in pteridophytes) are alluded to. Notwithstanding the foregoing name changes, the
author has clearly exercised some judgment in deciding which new classifications to adopt; for
example, although Megathyrsus maximus (Jacq.) B. K. Simon & S. W. L. Jacobs (Poaceae) is
mentioned as an alternative name, the sp. in question is treated as Urochloa maxima (Jacq.)
R. D. Webster. Likewise, while Oerstedella and Stellilabium (Orchidaceae) remain
as accepted genera, we read that “recent molecular studies show Oerstedella to be part
of Epidendrum,” while Stellilabium is “now part of Telipogon”
these changes may have come too late to be incorporated in full). All of this careful attention
to technical detail instills scientific credibility and will endear this handy guide to professional
biologists, while readers of every background will be won over by the artful presentation, wealth
of color photos, and well-researched, educational, yet easily digestible text. The author’s
intimate personal familiarity with the Costa Rican flora colors and informs every discussion; where
else is it recorded that the inflorescences of Langsdorffia hypogaea Mart. (Balanophoraceae)
emit “a spicy to cabbagelike odor”?
As the author admits in her introduction, it is manifestly impossible to treat the riotously
diverse Costa Rican flora comprehensively in a single small volume. That said, this book
provides the best available overview, maximizing its clout by focusing on those spp., both native
and exotic, most likely to be encountered or to attract interest in areas heavily frequented by
ecotourists. Many ecotourists and naturalists will find this to be the only Costa Rican plant
book they need. Others may wish to delve deeper, a task that will be greatly facilitated by
the extensive bibliography here provided. Yet, even those who graduate to more technical works
like Flora costaricensis or the Manual will cherish this guide as an indispensable field