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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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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

ASTERACEAE. What started out as a minor, in-country range extension has ended up as a new sp. record for Costa Rica! Manual contributor Mario Blanco (USJ) wrote to point out that the Manual distribution statement for Cotula mexicana (DC.) Cabrera in Costa Rica [“3100–3800 m, ambas verts. Cord. de Talamanca (Cerro Chirripó)”] did not account for his own 2001 collection of said sp. (M. Blanco 1860, MO) from just 1400 m in the Valle Central (Cartago). At first we were defensive, informing Mario that, because it was submitted very late in the production schedule of the last Manual volume to have been published, the very large Asteraceae treatment could not be edited to the same standards as other families; in particular, we could not afford the luxury of checking the distribution and phenology statements against the various databases (TROPICOS and ATTA, etc.) that we usually consult for that purpose. Then it dawned on us that, in view of the significant habitat and elevational disjunction, Mario’s population could very well represent a different sp.—most likely the widespread Cotula australis (Sieber ex Spreng.) Hook. f., which has been collected in similar habitats and at similar elevations elsewhere in the Mesoamerican region (C. mexicana, by contrast, has not been found below 2150 m anywhere in its range, and generally, if not always, in primary habitats). Subsequent interchanges confirmed our suspicions: Mario’s collections (he has several from the same population, all in much better condition than the depauperate MO duplicate) do indeed represent C. australis. So we are off the hook for omitting Mario’s locality from the distribution of Cotula mexicana, but right back on it for overlooking the occurrence of a second Cotula sp. in Costa Rica! In Manualese, the critical Costa Rican parameters for Cotula australis may be expressed as follows: “Bosque húmedo, céspedes y aceras, ca. 1400 m; vert. Carib. Valle Central (Cartago). Fl. abr., jun., nov.”

For information on the overall distribution of Cotula australis, and how to distinguish it from C. mexicana, we refer our readers to the recent Flora mesoamericana Asteraceae volume [see “Davidse,” under “Germane Literature,” in The Cutting Edge 25(3), Jul. 2018].

CONVOLVULACEAE. Nowadays, the Península de Nicoya is characterized by isolated patches of remnant forest, often atop hills or promontories, many of which have rarely been botanized if at all. We have often pondered the potential of these sites to yield new records for Costa Rica, or at least in-country disjunctions, sometimes from more hygric (relative to the Nicoya lowlands) habitats further south. In a recent visit to the Zona Protectora Monte Alto, south of Hojancha (in the central portion of the peninsula), at ca. 500–600 m elevation, Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora documented three such in-country disjunctions, reported here and in the following two entries. The first is Itzaea sericea (Standl.) Standl. & Steyerm. (Zamora 10801), otherwise known in Costa Rica mainly from Parque Nacional Carara and the Turrubares region.

DIOSCOREACEAE. Zamora 10793, from the Zona Protectora Monte Alto (see previous entry), is apparently the first record of Dioscorea urophylla Hemsl. from the Peninsula de Nicoya proper (though it has been collected quite nearby, in the vicinity of Bagaces).

RUBIACEAE. An unexpected disjunction on the Península de Nicoya is Pittoniotis trichantha Griseb., recently discovered (Zamora 10805) in the Zona Protectora Monte Alto. This is a sp. of generally wetter habitats, ranging southward in Costa Rica to the vicinity of Palmar Norte.


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