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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

Main | Family List (MO) | Family List (INBio) | Cutting Edge
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The Cutting Edge

Volume V, Number 3, July 1998

News and Notes | Recent Treatments | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature

No significant departure from Roy Gereau's (1994) Flora mesoamericana (6: 48--51) account of this small family, represented in Costa Rica by 10 spp. of the genus Bomarea. All are restricted to elevations above 1000 m (and mostly above 1500 m), except for B. edulis (Tussac) Herb. and B. obovata Herb., of the Pacific and Atlantic lowlands, respectively. But a single sp., B. costaricensis Kraenzl., may be counted as endemic. An 11th sp., B. porschiana Cufod. (type from Volcán Turrialba), is considered insufficiently known; as in Flora mesomericana, it is neither keyed nor treated formally.

This, the first modern account of this family for Costa Rica, accepts two genera, with a total of three spp.: Berberis nigricans Kuntze, Mahonia paniculata Oerst., and M. volcania Standl. & Steyerm. All are indigenous (though none is endemic), and restricted to the elevations above 1500 m in the Cordillera Central and/or the Cordillera de Talamanca.

This major contribution treats 16 genera and exactly 200 spp. of an important component of the neotropical epiphyte flora; one sp. (Tillandsia guatemalensis L. B. Sm.) is included hypothetically, and another [the pineapple, Ananas comosus (L.) Merr.] is known only in cultivation. Obligate (147 spp.) and facultative (32 spp.) epiphytes account for 90% of Costa Rican bromeliad spp. Our largest genera are Vriesea (including Werauhia), with 66 spp.; Tillandsia (excluding Mezobromelia and Racinaea), with 40 spp; Guzmania, with 28 spp.; and Aechmea and Pitcairnia (including Pepinia), each with 18 spp. An astounding 47 Bromeliaceae spp. are endemic to Costa Rica (31 spp. in Vriesea alone), and many others are shared only with western Panama. Eight of the sp. names used here (all in Vriesea) have yet to be validly published, and 14 others were published too late to have been included in the 1994 Flora mesoamericana (6: 89--156) Bromeliaceae treatment. Fourteen spp. are here newly reported from Costa Rica, on the basis of recent collections. Aechmea pittieri Mez, Guzmania compacta Mez, and Tillandsia cauliflora Mez & Wercklé are recognized as distinct spp., contrary to Flora mesoamericana, while Catopsis werckleana Mez, C. wawreana Mez, and Guzmania costaricensis Mez & Wercklé, accepted in the latter work, are here treated as synonyms. Tillandsia compressa Bertero ex Schult. & Schult. f., attributed to Costa Rica by previous authors, is not mentioned here. Incidentally, Chico is also hard at work on a popular guide to Costa Rican Bromeliaceae, which will incorporate the excellent watercolor illustrations (over 100) recently executed by prized volunteer and professional illustrator Anita Cooper, now back home in Virginia.

A widespread but monogeneric family, represented in Costa Rica by four spp. of Clethra. Two of these, C. mexicana A. DC. (including C. lanata M. Martens & Galeotti) and C. suaveolens Turcz., are distributed throughout Mesoamerica, while C. gelida Standl. and C. pyrogena Sleumer are endemic. Clethra gelida and C. suaveolens are restricted to high elevations (above 2500 m), while the other two spp. occur lower down (C. mexicana to sea level).

This family, which might arguably include Brunelliaceae, is here circumscribed in the traditional manner. Only the genus Weinmannia is represented in Costa Rica, by 7--9 spp., of which the highly variable W. pinnata L. is by far the best known. All our spp. are montane, from above 1100 m in all the major cordilleras (though the genus is most diverse southward). Two spp. (our only potential endemics) are dubious: W. anisophylla Standl. & L. O. Williams is included in the key, but discussed only briefly as an insufficiently known entity, perhaps synonymous with W. wercklei Standl.; W. "sp. A," though keyed and treated formally, is not certainly distinct from W. pinnata. Even so, the sp. total is surprising, because Standley's (1937) Flora of Costa Rica accounted for only two (considering that W. burserifolia Standl. is now regarded as synonymous with W. pinnata).

LOASACEAE. J. F. Morales (INB).
Four genera and just seven spp. of Loasaceae are presently known from Costa Rica: Klaprothia (including Sclerothrix), with two spp., the urticating Loasa, with three spp., and Gronovia and Mentzelia, each with a single spp. Our spp. are ± weedy and widespread, with the exception of Loasa grandis Standl. and L. speciosa Donn. Sm., shared only with Panama.

MYRICACEAE. J. F. Morales (INB).
This is a reiteration of William Burger's (1977) Flora costaricensis treatment (Fieldiana, Bot. 40: 21--27) of the family. The same three spp. of Myrica are dealt with here, under the same names. All are characterized as strictly montane, from above 1200 m elevation, with only M. phanerodonta Standl. endemic. No mention is made of recent collections from much lower elevations (to near sea level in the Barra del Colorado region).

Three genera are treated, including the Asian Averrhoa, represented in Costa Rica by two cultivated spp. The others are Biophytum, with two rare spp. of primary forests, and Oxalis, with nine mostly weedy spp. No spp. are endemic. The only important differences from William Burger's (1991) Flora costaricensis account of the family (Fieldiana, Bot. n. s. 28: 2--16) are the inclusion of Biophytum dendroides (Kunth) DC. and Oxalis microcarpa Benth. on the basis of actual collections, and the exclusion of Oxalis articulata Savigny, O. dombeyi A. St.-Hil., and O. tetraphylla Cav., Costa Rican collections of which have failed to materialize. All five were included speculatively by Burger.

Seven genera of this family of mostly weedy plants are represented in Costa Rica, all by a single sp., except for Phytolacca (3 spp.) and Trichostigma (2 spp.). No spp. are endemic. Identical in taxonomy and nomenclature to William Burger's (1983) Flora costaricensis treatment (Fieldiana, Bot. n. s. 18: 199--212), the only noteworthy departure from which is the addition of Seguiera aculeata Jacq., discovered recently in the Pacific lowlands [see The Cutting Edge 1(1): 9--10, Jan. 1994].

The only genera of this predominantly temperate family occurring in Costa Rica are the vining Cobaea, with 4--5 spp., and the subshrubby Loeselia, with two spp. A single sp., Cobaea aschersoniana Brand, is apparently endemic. The only significant change from Standley's (1938) Flora of Costa Rica is the somewhat questionable inclusion of Cobaea lutea D. Don, for which no voucher is cited.

ROSACEAE. J. F. Morales (INB).
Ten genera and 34 spp. are treated formally, including two genera (Eriobotrya, Pyracantha) each known from Costa Rica by a single cultivated sp. Two other genera recorded only in cultivation (Fragaria, Rosa) are briefly discussed, but not keyed, and two cultivated Prunus spp. are dealt with similarly. The only genera with more than one Costa Rican sp. are Rubus, with 13 spp. (including three non-indigenous); Alchemilla (including Lachemilla), with 8 spp. (A. pinnata Ruiz & Pav. as hypothetical); Prunus, with 5 spp.; and Acaena, with 2 spp. All of our Rosaceae are montane, from above 800 m elevation (and often much higher), except for Prunus subcorymbosa Ruiz ex Koehne, of the Península de Osa. Just four spp. appear to be endemic: Alchemilla pascuorum Standl., A. standleyi L. M. Perry, Rubus malacocarpus Standl. & L. O. Williams, and R. pittieri Rydb. Apart from the exclusion of Chrysobalanaceae, the most salient changes from Standley's (1937) Flora of Costa Rica account are the additions of the genera Amelanchier and Potentilla to the native flora, based on recent collections of A. denticulata (Kunth) K. Koch [see The Cutting Edge 4(3): 3, Jul. 1997] and P. heterosepala Fritsch, respectively.

Smilax, the sole New World genus of this small monocot family, has 11 spp. in Costa Rica. The only newcomer is S. aristolochiifolia Mill. [see The Cutting Edge 5(2): 2, Apr. 1998], not attributed to Costa Rica in Michael J. Huft's (1994) Flora mesoamericana (6: 20--25) treatment. However, this addition to the flora fails to compensate for the loss of four other species, here newly synonymized: Smilax chiriquensis C. V. Morton (under S. vanilliodora F. W. Apt); S. engleriana F. W. Apt (under S. domingensis Willd.); and S. hirsutior (Killip & C. V. Morton) C. V. Morton and S. velutina Killip & C. V. Morton (both under S. mollis Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.). Among the casualties are three erstwhile Costa Rican endemics (including S. vanilliodora, now extended into Chiriquí), leaving just S. angustiflora A. DC. and S. candelariae A. DC., both here characterized as dubious taxonomically.

Tropaeolum is the only genus of this small, mainly South American family to extend into Mesoamerica. The Costa Rican spp. number four, including the familiar T. majus L., occurring solely in cultivation. Our three indigenous spp. are montane (above 700 m elevation), and none is endemic. There are no notable changes from William Burger's (1991) Flora Costaricensis treatment (Fieldiana, Bot. n. s. 28: 21--23).



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