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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 X, Number 4, October 2003

News and Notes | Recent Treatments | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature | Season's Pick

BROMELIACEAE. Even as the first-to-be-published Manual volume is heralded in these pages (see Hammel entry under "Germane Literature"), its obsolescence is underway (we knew this would happen…but not yet!). An unusual bromeliad collected by INBio parataxonomist Evelio Alfaro at 2300 m elevation on the flanks of Cerro Echandi, hard up against the Panamanian border, has now been identified as Tillandsia guatemalensis L. B. Sm. Although this spp. ranges throughout the Mesoamerican region, including both Nicaragua and Panama, it had never been recorded reliably from Costa Rica. Nonetheless, T. guatemalensis receives honorable mention in Francisco Morales’s Manual Bromeliaceae treatment, in the generic discussion for Tillandsia, on the basis of a long-lost Carl Hoffmann collection, from an unstated Costa Rican locality, cited in a 19th century monograph. Now, Chico and Evelio have prepared a manuscript that will probably become the first published range extension (in what will no doubt become a long line) to cite the Manual as a point of reference. Thanks to Chico for this sneak preview!

COCHLOSPERMACEAE [or Bixaceae, if you must]. Specimens of a strange, suffrutescent herb collected near Bagaces, Prov. Guanacaste, by entomologist Gordon W. Frankie (UC) and his assistant (and former INBio employee) Eduardo Lépiz had been puzzling INBio botanists for several weeks. This material has now been confidently determined as representing Amoreuxia palmatifida Moç. & Sessé ex DC., ranging from Arizona to Colombia, but not previously reported from Costa Rica (and "poco común" in Nicaragua, according to Flora de Nicaragua).

CONNARACEAE. Recent work on this family by Francisco Morales (INB) has revealed the presence in Costa Rica of Rourea adenophora S. F. Blake, previously known from countries both to the north (Honduras) and the south (Panama to Ecuador). It had been confused with the well known R. glabra Kunth, but has much larger leaflets and flowers, and occurs in more humid habitats in Costa Rica (i.e., very wet lowland forests on both slopes).

EUPHORBIACEAE [or Putranjivaceae]. The long, strange trip of Gerardo Herrera’s collection number 6306, from 650 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Guanacaste above Upala, is finally (we hope!) over. Originally assigned (in the field) to Hippocrateaceae, this fruiting specimen was later redetermined (in the herbarium) as Pouteria durlandii (Standl.) Baehni (Sapotaceae). Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora has the last (or at least, the latest) word: according to his recent MO herbarium crawl (see above), Gerardo’s collection actually represents Drypetes guatemalensis Lundell, a poorly known entity that had apparently never been found outside Guatemala (where it is recorded from the Atlantic lowlands).

FABACEAE/FABOIDEAE. A mystery liana widespread in the humid Pacific lowlands of Costa Rica proves to be something other than first suspected, but a country record nonetheless. This material was originally identified (and may have been distributed) as the otherwise South American Dalbergia riparia (Mart.) Benth., but was been redetermined by Nelson Zamora, during his recent visit to MO (see above), as Machaerium leiophyllum (DC.) Benth. The last-mentioned sp. was also previously known only from South America (but Nelson found a Panamanian specimen at MO). Another correction of an earlier, tentative determination concerns the sp. reported as new to Costa Rica in these pages [see The Cutting Edge 4(2): 2, Apr. 1997] under the name Swartzia sumorum A. R. Molina. This is now regarded by Nelson as representing an undescribed sp. of Swartzia (for which flowers are still needed). And finally, a confirmation: comparison with material at MO upholds the determination of Styphnolobium sporadicum M. Sousa & Rudd, reported provisionally in this column in our last issue.

MALVACEAE. We can’t decide if this is good news or bad: Alexánder Rodríguez (INB) reports that he has collected what is apparently the first Costa Rican specimen of the genus Bastardia. This he found on Punta Descartes, along the northernmost Pacific coast, during our Santa Elena activities in January [see The Cutting Edge 10(2): 1-2, Apr. 2003]. Popeye is reasonably certain that his plant represents Bastardia viscosa (L.) Kunth, another of those widespread spp. that seemingly "skipped" Costa Rica (it is known from both Nicaragua and Panama).

PHYTOLACCACEAE. From the manglar at the mouth of the Río Curú, near the south end of the Península de Nicoya, comes the first Costa Rican collection of the rank vine Agdestis clematidea Moç. & Sessé ex DC., previously recorded from the southern United States to Nicaragua. The specimen in question (A. C. Sanders et al. 17621, MO) dates from 1995. Our thanks to MO pundit Ron Liesner for bringing this item to our attention.

POACEAE. A distinctive grass collected by Manual co-PI Mike Grayum on the Islas Murciélago, off the Península de Santa Elena, has been tentatively identified as a member of the genus Heteropogon, not previously known from Costa Rica. The determination was nailed by MO specialist Gerrit Davidse, working only from a verbal description. Our subsequent perusal of herbarium material implicates Heteropogon contortus (L.) P. Beauv. ex Roem. & Schult., a widespread, weedy sp. that is probably native to the Old World.

SAPOTACEAE. Pouteria belizensis (Standl.) Cronquist, a sp. previously known from southern Mexico to Nicaragua, can be added to the Costa Rican flora on the basis of a Doug Stevens collection from the Barra del Colorado region in the northeastern corner of the country. This is another result of Nelson Zamora’s most recent MO stint (see above).


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