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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
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).