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The Cutting Edge
Volume XXVIII, Number 3, July 2021
News and Notes | Leaps and Bounds
| Germane Literature | Season's Pick | Annotate your copy | Global Range Extensions
APOCYNACEAE. Manual contributor Mario Blanco (USJ) somehow happened to detect a minor error pertaining to this family, although it has nothing to do with the family treatment itself, and in no way reflects poorly on the authors of same. The error is in the volume index, where the genus name Fernaldia was either omitted or, at some point, accidentally deleted (the latter seems more likely). In any case, the name is MIA, in the spot where it should be, which is 100% the fault of your editors. Pencil it in, if you so desire, on p. 891 of Manual Vol. 4(1), two notches below the genus name Ferdinanda, between the epithets eminens and brachypharynx (only the former belongs to Ferndinanda, while the latter belongs to Fernaldia, together with pandurata and speciosissima). We could have proof-read this index 1000 times without ever noticing something like this!
DROSERACEAE. Manual correspondent Rafael Acuña (CR) has informed us of an unsettling development involving the sp. treated as “Drosera sp. A” in the Manual Droseraceae account (2010) by the late Jorge Gómez-Laurito. The sole record for this entity, Gómez 25914 (from ca. 750 m elevation in the Valle de Coto Brus), had originally been determined as Drosera capillaris Poir., but was later found to differ from that sp. in certain critical features. Hoping to resolve the identity of this mystery plant, Rafael contacted Andreas Fleischmann, Curator of Dicotyledons at M and a specialist on Drosera. Based on illustrations supplied by Rafael, as well as seeds sent previously by well-known herpetologist (and carnivorous-plant enthusiast) Brian Kubicki (who had obtained plants from the original collector), Fleischmann provided a confident determination: Drosera tokaiensis (Komiya & C. Shibata) T. Nakam. & K. Ueda (also sometimes known as D. spatulata Labill. subsp. tokaiensis Komiya & C. Shibata), a Japanese sp. (perhaps of hybrid origin) that “is widely cultivated worldwide…, but thus far has not been reported naturalized from Central America” (quoting here from Fleischmann’s e-mail to Rafael date 22 June 2021). Fleischmann goes on to state that he “can exclude with certainty that it is a native Latin American species.” These revelations pose a dilemma for Costa Rican floristics. Assuming Fleischmann’s identification to be correct, we can imagine three possible scenarios, the most charitable being that a widely commercialized Asian sp. somehow managed to escape and become naturalized in a remote vernal pool in southwestern Costa Rica. Indeed, the existence of such a population can scarcely be doubted, because it was described in moderate detail (as consisting of “unas 30 plantas,” and with associated genera enumerated) in the original report [see The Cutting Edge 7(2): 7, Apr. 2000]. That same report also mentioned “Una cepa viva, en cultivo, en el Jardín Botánico R. & C. Wilson, Las Cruces, Coto Brus, Nº. 96.006,” which leads us to our second possible scenario: some sort of mixup at Las Cruces, where plants from the wild Costa Rican population were in cultivation, perhaps alongside specimens of exotic Drosera spp., including (at least) D. tokaiensis. This hypothesis requires that Gómez 25914 was prepared from cultivated plants, not in the field, and that the collector simply erred in his selection of material (or perhaps some labels had gotten switched). We shudder to contemplate the third possible scenario: that the entire record was deliberately fabricated, and there never was a wild population of any Drosera sp. in the Valle de Coto Brus. Unfortunately, no one has succeeded in relocating the population in question (which cuts both ways), and both of the principals (Gómez-Laurito and Luis Diego Gómez) have passed on, so we may never be any the wiser on that score. And of course, there is a fourth scenario: that Fleischmann’s identification is incorrect. We will leave it to our readers to decide how their Manual copies should be annotated!
Postscript: in recent correspondence, Brian Kubicki has informed us that the Las Cruces Drosera (plants he obtained from Luis Diego Gómez many years ago) continues to "grow like a weed" in his greenhouse. Indeed, it was Brian who supplied the lead photo, depicting this same material, for the Manual Droseraceae treatment; therefore, according to Andreas Fleischmann's determination, a Japanese sp. was illustrated in a Costa Rican flora! Twice, most likely, because the drawing of "Drosera sp. A" in the Manual—the same one that was published in the original report (cited above)—must also depict D. tokaiensis.
MORACEAE. Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora has nailed the first Costa Rican collection (Zamora 10849) of Morus celtidifolia Kunth with masculine inflorescences. This turned up in a small population (one of the few Costa Rican ones of this sp.) along the Río Poza Salada in Parque Nacional Santa Rosa. Nelson also collected a specimen with somewhat immature feminine inflorescences (Zamora 10850), and upon comparing that with JSTOR images of the Ecuadorian type (also pistillate), concluded that Costa Rican material is a better match for the type than Mexican material. However, the leaves of the Costa Rican plants are cordate or subcordate at the base, vs. truncate to rounded or obtuse in both Mexican specimens and the type. Noting that M. celtidifolia has (according to TROPICOS) 17 supposed synonyms, Nelson suggests the possibility that two or more spp. may be involved.