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The Cutting Edge
Volume XXIII, Number 3, July 2016
News and Notes | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature |
Season's Pick | Annotate your copy
SEASON'S PICK: This quarter we are serving Cuervea kappleriana (Miq.) A. C. Sm. (Celastraceae), on the half shell (with a few grains of salt)!.
We were intrigued to observe that unlike those of all of the other schizocarpous Celastraceae lianas of Costa Rica, the mericarps of Cuervea kappleriana are indehiscent, or at least not regularly dehiscent by a medi-radial suture, as are all the others. From our field and herbarium observations, we surmise that these mericarps split open only by weathering, perhaps aided by pressure from the germinating seeds, or as here, by the hand of a curious botanist! Another observation easily noted in these photos (and previously indicated somewhere in the literature, we don't remember where) is that the wings (vestigial in this case) of these seeds are quite obviously funicular in origen.
This is one of the few spp. of this group of CR lianas that we can confidently and accurately identify to sp. with sterile material. Another that might fit the bill is the scabrous-leaved Prionostemma asperum (Lam.) Miers., unique also for the tardily reddish sap that forms on cut, older stems. The latter character, however, is not often noted by collectors, nor of course ever visible on herbarium specimens. With most of the other opposite-leaved Celastraceae lianas, determinations, even to genus, with sterile material are mostly wishful thinking. The present, quite often seaside-sp. is recognizable by virtue of its rather large, usally ovate elliptic, leathery, smooth, and usually entire leaves, which dry a distinctive gray green color. More images (than you ever wanted!) of this sp. in Costa Rica can be seen at Hammel's Flickr photostream and that of Reinaldo Aguilar.