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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XIV, Number 3, July 2007

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

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 28: 217–220.

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 cordate-based fruits.

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 (by Fryxell).

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, Oct. 2005].

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 56: 607–608.

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 detailed drawings.

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 The Cutting 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: 289–301.

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. vittata L.

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. H. Janzen.

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 taxa.

We are indebted to Mario Sousa S. (MEXU) for providing a copy of this invaluable reference.

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 companion.


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