www.mobot.org Research Home | Search | Contact | Site Map  

North America
South America
General Taxonomy
Photo Essays
Training in Latin

Wm. L. Brown Center
Graduate Studies
Research Experiences
  for Undergraduates

Imaging Lab
MBG Press
Climate Change
Catalog Fossil Plants
Image Index
Rare Books

Res Botanica
All Databases
The Unseen Garden
What's New?
People at MO
Visitor's Guide
Jobs & Fellowships
Research Links
Site Map


Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

Main | Family List (MO) | Family List (INBio) | Cutting Edge
Draft Treatments | Guidelines | Checklist | Citing | Editors

The Cutting Edge

Volume X, Number 4, October 2003

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

Amorim, A. M. 2003. Five new species of Heteropterys (Malpighiaceae) from Central and South America. Brittonia 54: 217-232.

Only one of these novelties need concern us, that being Heteropterys minutiflora Amorim, endemic in the humid Pacific lowlands of Costa Rica from Parque Nacional Carara to the Golfo Dulce region. The new sp. has been confused with Heteropterys obovata (Small) Cuatrec., "a polymorphic species found throughout Central America," but differs in its strongly striate stems and smaller flowers. The "real" H. obovata is apparently restricted, in Costa Rica, to the Guanacaste region. A key couplet is provided to facilitate the comparison. Illustrated with a fine composite line drawing.

Arce, H. G., L. A. Sánchez, J. Slaa, P. E. Sánchez-Vindas, A. Ortiz M., J. W. van Veen & M. J. Sommeijer. 2001. Árboles melíferos nativos de Mesoamérica. Herbario Juvenal Valerio Rodríguez, Heredia, Costa Rica. 207 pp.

This handsome and well organized volume, the product of a team of Costa Rican and Dutch workers, fills a unique niche in the literature of Mesoamerican economic botany. Information is here presented on 63 spp. of trees native to the region, selected on the basis of their importance to the maintenance of bee populations (e.g., as sources of nectar and/or pollen). The spp. are arranged in alphabetical order by genus name; each entry comprises two facing pages, featuring a color photo, a description, and paragraphs on phenology, reproductive biology, ecological importance, importance to bees (native and non-native alike), conservation status, distribution, and propagation. Introductory chapters (also with abundant color photos) discuss the biodiversity of bees, floral biology and pollinators, and conservation issues. A bibliography and index to common and scientific names round out the volume. The information in this book is not generally available from other sources, and makes for highly interesting reading. Thanks to co-author (and former CR director) Pablo Sánchez-Vindas (JVR) for sending this our way.

Arias, S., T. Terrazas & K. Cameron. 2003. Phylogenetic analysis of Pachycereus (Cactaceae, Pachycereeae) based on chloroplast and nuclear DNA sequences. Syst. Bot. 28: 547-557.

According to the results of this study, two spp. that have been most recently included in Stenocereus are excluded from that genus, and "strongly supported" as sister taxa to the Pachycereus group (which also includes Carnegiea). One of these spp. is the Costa Rican endemic Stenocereus aragonii (F. A. C. Weber) Buxb. [which we originally learned as Lemaireocereus aragonii (F. A. C. Weber) Britton & Rose], a huge, columnar cactus with silvery chevron markings, common in the Guanacaste region and well known as an ornamental throughout the country. Although the authors warn that "further evidence is needed to assess [the] exact phylogenetic and taxonomic status" of our sp., some morphological commonalities with Pachycereus are mentioned, and the possibility of eventual inclusion in the last-mentioned genus (perhaps together with Carnegiea) is implied. Should this eventuate, the combination Pachycereus aragonii (F. A. C. Weber) P. V. Heath is available.

Arriagada, J. E. 2003. Revision of the genus Clibadium (Asteraceae, Heliantheae). Brittonia 55: 245-301.

Finally we get the full, definitive published version of the author’s Ph.D. dissertation [see The Cutting Edge 3(4): 4, Oct. 1996], a revision of this ubiquitous neotropical genus of somewhat weedy shrubs and treelets. Of the 29 spp. total, the following eight occur in Costa Rica: Clibadium acuminatum Benth., C. anceps Greenm., C. eggersii Hieron., C. glomeratum Greenm., C. grandifolium S. F. Blake, C. leiocarpum Steetz, C. surinamense L., and C. sylvestre (Aubl.) Baill. A few of these are endemic to southern Central America, though none to Costa Rica alone. An interesting case is that of C. acuminatum, known also from Colombia and Venezuela, with the only Central American specimens (including the type) from Isla del Coco. Several Costa Rican collections previously determined by the author himself as Clibadium erosum (Sw.) DC. (now restricted to the West Indies) are here referred to various other spp. The names Clibadium pittieri Greenm. and C. polygynum S. F. Blake, often used for Costa Rican material, are both synonymized under C. eggersii. A new infrageneric classification comprises two subgenera (one described as new), with a total of six sections (three described as new). Includes a generic description and key to spp., synonymy and typology at all levels, sp. descriptions, mostly representative specimen citations, discussions, a section on doubtful and excluded names, and indices to exsiccatae and scientific names. The introductory section discusses taxonomic history, generic affinities, and morphology. Two of the more widespread spp. (C. eggersii and C. surinamense) are depicted in composite line drawings. No new spp. are described herein.

Berg, C. C. 2003. (1587-1590) Proposals to conserve the names Ficus citrifolia against F. caribaea, F. maxima with a conserved type, F. aurea against F. ciliolosa, and F. americana against F. perforata (Moraceae). Taxon 52: 368-370.

All of these proposals involve spp. occurring in Costa Rica. According to the author’s interpretation, Ficus caribaea Jacq. (1767), a name that "has never come into use," is based on material of the widespread sp. commonly known as F. citrifolia Mill. (1768); the former name is here neotypified accordingly, prompting an immediate proposal for conservation of the latter. Ficus aurea Nutt. (1846), another well established name for a widespread sp., is assailed on two fronts: the original material of Ficus maxima Mill. (1768), itself a familiar name for a different sp., instead represents F. aurea, and the same is true for original material of the long-neglected name Ficus ciliolosa Link (1822). To avert mayhem, the author proposes to conserve F. maxima with a new type, chosen to uphold prevailing usage, and to conserve F. aurea against F. ciliolosa (for the record, Ficus radula Willd. would become the correct name for the sp. presently known as F. maxima, should this proposal be rejected). The last case is not quite so cut-and-dry, by our reckoning: the names Ficus americana Aubl. and F. perforata L., applying to the same sp., were both published in 1775; however, there appears to be some uncertainty as regards their exact publication dates, "making it impossible to confidently apply the principle of priority in choosing the correct name." The author here proposes conservation of F. americana, which "has been used for a longer period of time," over "the long-neglected F. perforata, which came only recently into use." However, from our perspective (limited in both time and space), the reverse is true: we initially learned this sp. as Ficus perforata, the name used in William Burger’s Flora costaricensis Moraceae treatment (Fieldiana, Bot. 40: 94-215), and have only recently substituted F. americana, on the basis of Berg’s herbarium determinations.

Camelbeke, K., A. A. Reznicek & P. Goetghebeur. 2003. (1580) Proposal to conserve the name Scleria reticularis with a conserved type (Cyperaceae). Taxon 52: 355-356.

The apparent type specimen of Scleria reticularis Michx. (possibly the most widely used Scleria sp. name in the New World) does not correspond to the original description, nor to recent and historic usage of the name, but instead is identifiable as the sp. commonly called S. triglomerata Michx. Should this proposal be rejected, then authors (including Manual Cyperaceae contributor Jorge Gómez-Laurito) adopting an inclusive concept of the sp. presently known as S. reticularis will have to substitute the rarely used name Scleria muehlenbergii Steud.

Fan, C. & Q.-Y. (J.) Xiang. 2003. Phylogenetic analyses of Cornales based on 26S rRNA and combined 26S rDNA-matK-rbcL sequence data. Amer. J. Bot. 90: 1357-1372.

Although their cladograms would appear to condone a Cornaceae s. l. (i.e., including Nyssaceae, as well as other groups), the authors note that bootstrap support for that particular clade is very low. Thus, they advocate family rank for Nyssaceae, consisting of Camptotheca and Davidia, in addition to the nominate genus.

Freytag, G. F. & D. G. Debouck. 2002. Taxonomy, distribution, and ecology of the genus Phaseolus (Leguminosae-Papilionoideae) in North America, Mexico and Central America. Sida, Bot. Misc. 23: 1-300.

The New World genus Phaseolus, to which belong common, Lima, and scarlet runner beans, ranges from the southern and eastern United States to Argentina. Apparently, the genus is of enough economic importance to merit two taxonomic revisions in less than 20 years (the North and Central American spp. were last revised in 1985). The present work is concerned principally with wild populations, and does not cite collections known or believed to be from plants in cultivation. The authors accept 74 spp. from the region indicated in the title, more than twice as many as were attributed to the entire genus in The plant-book (1997). The spp. are classified in 15 sections, one of which is further divided in two subsections. Mexico is the regional center of diversity for Phaseolus; just nine spp. are recorded from Costa Rica, representing seven sections. One of these spp. is not considered indigenous in Costa Rica: Phaseolus coccineus L. (the scarlet runner bean), known by a single non-cultivated collection of P. c. subsp. coccineus var. coccineus from near Zarcero. However, among the spp. with apparently indigenous populations in Costa Rica are two of great economic importance: Phaseolus vulgaris L. (the common bean), from the Cerros de Escazú and near Zarcero, and P. lunatus L. (the Lima bean), widespread on the Pacific slope [ see the Cutting Edge 6(1): 9, Jan. 1999]. The remaining spp. native to Costa Rica are Phaseolus costaricensis Freytag & Debouck (Cordilleras Central and de Talamanca, Cerros de Escazú), P. leptostachyus Benth. (with var. leptostachyus from scattered sites on the Pacific slope), P. oligospermus Piper (Cordilleras Central and de Talamanca), P. talamancensis Debouck & Torres Gonz. (Cordillera de Talamanca), P. tuerckheimii Donn. Sm. (Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca), and P. xanthotrichus Piper (Cordilleras Central and de Talamanca, Cerros de La Carpintera and de Escazú). Most Costa Rican collections of the genus are from the slopes above the Valle Central (in the Cordillera Central, Cerros de Escazú, Cerros de La Carpintera, etc.) and the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca, and several spp. occur sympatrically at various sites. Only Phaseolus talamancensis is endemic to Costa Rica [see The Cutting Edge 8(3): 10, Jul. 2001], though P. costaricensis otherwise occurs only in western Panama [see The Cutting Edge 3(3): 5, Jul. 1996]. The biggest taxonomic surprise for us is the replacement of the familiar name Phaseolus polyanthus Greenm. with P. dumosus Macfad., based originally on a Jamaican collection (it is here neotypified on a Guatemalan collection); though not recorded as wild in Costa Rica, P. dumosus is well known locally as a culinary sp. under the name "cubá."

The taxonomic novelties validated in this work comprise 10 sections, two subsections, 22 spp., 19 vars., and two formas; new combinations are made for three sections, one sp., three subspp., and four vars. None of these, below the level of subsection, pertains to Costa Rica. The taxa are in some cases rather finely subdivided, with vars. subordinated to subspp. in one sp., and formas subordinated to vars. in another. Includes keys at all levels, full synonymy and typology, lengthy, formal descriptions, specimen citations, extensive commentary, distribution maps, composite line drawings of many taxa, six color plates, a list of additional collections examined, and an index. The comparatively brief introductory section discusses the history of classification, taxonomic criteria, various aspects of morphology, breeding systems, and recent molecular research.

García-Mendoza, A. & F. Chiang. 2003. The confusion of Agave vivipara L. and A. angustifolia Haw., two distinct taxa. Brittonia 55: 82-87.

This careful and detailed analysis definitively resolves the disposition of the obscure Linnaean name Agave vivipara, putting an end to its short-lived reign as pretender to the throne of A. angustifolia Haw. (Agavaceae), a widespread sp. that is well known throughout the Mesoamerican region. The former name is revealed to correspond to a distinct sp., restricted to Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, and other islands off the coast of Venezuela. Agave angustifolia is re-neotypified, as the original neotype was found to be in conflict with the protologue; the new neotype is illustrated with a photograph.

The conclusions of this study confirm, in a general way, our independent rejection of Agave vivipara as the correct name for A. angustifolia [see The Cutting Edge 6(4): 8, Oct. 1999]; however, we had wrongly interpreted A. vivipara as an older name for the Mexican A. cantala Roxb. Whatever the case, the important thing (in our view) is that the Manual Agavaceae treatment uses the correct name for the most common Costa Rican Agave sp.

Grant, J. R. & R. E. Weaver, Jr. 2003. De Macrocarpaeae Grisebach (ex Gentianaceis) speciebus novis IV: eleven new species of Macrocarpaea (Gentianaceae: Helieae) from Central and South America, and the first report of the presence of stipules in the family. Harvard Pap. Bot. 8: 83-109.

All of these novelties are South American, with the exception of Macrocarpaea auriculata Weaver & J. R. Grant, endemic to Costa Rica (and without stipules). The aforementioned sp. has been confused with Macrocarpaea macrophylla (Kunth) Gilg and M. valerioi Standl., and these last two have been confused with one another. While allowing that "the differences are subtle," the authors note that the morphological distinctions are supported by molecular data in distinguishing three "well-defined" entities that are "not even sister species." A key is provided to separate the three indicated spp., of which only M. auriculata and M. valerioi occur in Costa Rica (M. macrophylla being now restricted to Panama and Colombia). Like its congeners, Macrocarpaea auriculata is a montane sp.; it has been found at 1500-2150 m elevation in the Cordilleras de Tilarán (especially Monteverde) and Central. Five spp. of Macrocarpaea are now attributable to Costa Rica, the others being M. acuminata Weaver, M. browallioides (Ewan) A. Robyns & S. Nilsson, and M. subcaudata Ewan. An excellent, composite line-drawing portrays M. auriculata.

Hammel, B. E., M. H. Grayum, C. Herrera & N. Zamora (eds.). 2003. Manual de plantas de Costa Rica. Vol. II. Gimnospermas y monocotiledóneas (Agavaceae-Musaceae). Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 92: 1-694.

Volume II of this series, the first to be published, treats a total of 1136 native, naturalized, or commercially cultivated spp., in the groups specified in the title. These are apportioned among 190 genera and 40 families. Gymnosperms account for just 13 of the spp., representing six genera and five families. The largest monocot families covered here, harboring nearly half the spp. in the volume, are Araceae (248 spp.), Bromeliaceae (195 spp.), and Arecaceae (109 spp.). Within each of the two major groups, families are presented in strict alphabetical sequence. Includes keys to the major groups of vascular and flowering plants, to the families of gymnosperms and monocots, and to genera and spp. (when more than one), as well as formal descriptions, distribution information, and discussions at all levels. Infraspecific taxa are addressed within the sp. discussions. Basionyms and important synonyms are listed, but bibliographic information is provided only for basionyms, replaced names, and accepted names. The largely bilingual introductory pages feature a table of contents, presentation (by INBio director Rodrigo Gámez and new Museo Nacional director Francisco Corrales), prologue (by MO director Peter H. Raven), preface, list of contributing authors, schematic plan of the Manual, and list of abbreviations and symbols. Indices to common and scientific names terminate the volume. At least one sp. of virtually every genus is illustrated with a line drawing, and a representative black-and-white photo appears in each family heading. Eight pages of color plates liven things up, and four different colored maps grace the end-papers. A few new combinations are validated herein, as well as one nomen novum. In Spanish (except as indicated).

Apart from the editors, contributors of family treatments for this volume are: Garrett Crow (NHA; Alismataceae, Hydrocharitaceae, Limnocharitaceae, Mayacaceae); Robert B. Faden (US; Commelinaceae, pro parte); Peter Goldblatt (MO; Iridaceae); Jorge Gómez-Laurito (USJ; Cyperaceae); Jason R. Grant (NEU; Commelinaceae, pro parte); Nancy Hensold (F; Eriocaulaceae, pro parte); Helen Kennedy (UBC; Marantaceae); W. John Kress (US; Heliconiaceae); Paul J. M. Maas and Hiltje Maas-van de Kamer (U; Burmanniaceae, Cannaceae, Costaceae, Haemodoraceae); Alan W. Meerow (U.S.D.A., Miami; Amaryllidaceae); Mary Merello (MO; all gymnosperm families); and J. Francisco Morales (INB; Alstroemeriaceae, Bromeliaceae). Silvia Troyo (INB) is responsible for the vast majority of the drawings.

Hufford, L., M. M. McMahon, A. M. Sherwood, G. Reeves & M. W. Chase. 2003. The major clades of Loasaceae: phylogenetic analysis using the plastid matK and trnL-trnF regions. Amer. J. Bot. 90: 1215-1228.

The results of this study confirm that Loasa s. l. is paraphyletic, while at the same time providing support for most of the new segregate genera recently proposed by Maximilian Weigend and associates [see The Cutting Edge 7(2): 6, Apr. 2000] on the sole basis of morphological studies. With respect to those new genera occurring in Costa Rica, support for the monophyly of Nasa (with two spp. in Costa Rica) was "very strong," whereas the monotypic Chichicaste (comprising the former Loasa grandis Standl.) was unavailable for study.

Jang, C. G. & M. Pfosser. 2002. Phylogenetics of Ruscaceae sensu lato based on plastid rbcL and trnL-F DNA sequences. Stapfia 80: 333-348.

The families (sensu Dahlgren) Convallariaceae, Dracaenaceae, Nolinaceae and Ruscaceae are all deemed non-monophyletic, according to this study; indeed, the first of these is characterized as "highly polyphyletic." Nevertheless, all four taxa taken together do form a "clearly defined" and "highly supported" clade, which, in the authors’ view, should be recognized as a family under the oldest available name, viz., Ruscaceae. This evidence supports previous arguments for an identical Ruscaceae s. l. [see, e.g., The Cutting Edge 8(1): 9, Jan. 2001].

Källersjö, M. & B. Ståhl. 2003. Phylogeny of Theophrastaceae (Ericales s. lat.). Int. J. Pl. Sci. 164: 579-591.

Separate and combined cladistic analyses of morphological characters and sequences from two chloroplast genes (ndhF and trnL-F) concur that Jacquinia is not monophyletic: the white-flowered spp. (restricted to the Caribbean) belong to a different lineage from the (mostly) orange-flowered spp. (which are widespread). Furthermore, both Deherainia (which occurs in Costa Rica) and Votschia (which does not) are nested within Jacquinia, as currently circumscibed, where they group with the orange-flowered clade. Both of the principal classificatory options entail unsavory nomenclature consequences: either to sink both Deherainia and Votschia into Jacquinia, or to divide the latter into two smaller genera. The authors favor the last-mentioned option and, as luck would have it, the name Jacquinia belongs to the white-flowered (strictly Caribbean) clade. The operative generic name for the orange-flowered species-including Jacquinia nervosa C. Presl, the only Costa Rican representative of the group, and a well known sp. in the Guanacaste region-is Bonellia Bertero ex Colla, published in 1824 "but never used since." Indeed, it would appear that no sp. names have ever been validated under Bonellia (but the authors promise to remedy this situation "in a separate article"). Happily, Clavija appears to be monophyletic, as does the family as a whole (which now includes the herbaceous and cladistically basal Samolus, formerly considered a solid member of Primulaceae, and potentially present in Costa Rica).

Lellinger, D. B. 2003. Nomenclatural and taxonomic notes on the pteridophytes of Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia, III. Amer. Fern J. 93: 146-151.

The author resurrects this series after nearly two decades, presumably in anticipation of a second installment of his unfinished work on the ferns of Costa Rica, Panama, and the Chocó (Pteridologia 2A: 1-364. 1989). Here he publishes two new spp., seven new combinations, and three new lectotypifications. Both of the new spp. occur in Costa Rica, one exclusively and the other nearly so. The jaw-breaking Hypolepis rubiginosopilosula Lellinger occurs at 1150-1650 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Central and both slopes of the Cordillera de Talamanca (with one collection from westernmost Panama). This sp. has been previously known by the name Hypolepis rigescens (Kunze) T. Moore, which the author restricts (on the basis of a photo) to coastal Brazil. Polypodium chirripoense Lellinger, distinguished from P. ursipes Moritz ex C. Chr., is endemic to Costa Rica, where it grows on both slopes of the Cordillera de Talamanca at 2900-3400 m elevation.

None of the new lectotypifications appears to have consequences for Costa Rican floristics, but all save one of the new combinations do, as follows: Blechnum lehmannii Hieron., synonymized under B. lherminieri (Bory) C. Chr. in Flora mesoamericana (Vol. 1; 1995), is here partly disinterred as B. lherminieri (Bory) C. Chr. subsp. lehmannii (Hieron.) Lellinger (apparently, both this and the autonymic subsp. occur in Costa Rica); the South American Blechnum loxense (Kunth) Hook. ex Salomon var. stenophyllum (Klotzsch) Lellinger automatically establishes the autonymic var. for Central American material; Lastreopsis squamifera (C. Chr.) Lellinger [based on the Costa Rican-typified Dryopteris exculta (Mett.) C. Chr. var. squamifera C. Chr.] is distinguished from L. exculta (Mett.) Tindale (with no indication of the overall geographic distribution of either sp.); Lomariopsis salicifolia (Kunze) Lellinger (based on Lomaria salicifolia Kunze) is equated somewhat speculatively with L. fendleri D. C. Eaton, and is the older name; Pteridium caudatum (L.) Maxon subsp. arachnoideum (Kaulf.) Lellinger is the name to be used by this author for a taxon accepted at sp. rank in Flora mesoamericana; and the merger of Dictyoxiphium in Tectaria necessitates the combination Tectaria ×michleriana (D. C. Eaton) Lellinger for the natural hybrid T. incisa Cav. × T. panamensis (Hook.) Tryon (AKA Dictyoxiphium panamense Hook.), otherwise generally known as ×Pleuroderris michleriana (D. C. Eaton) Maxon.

León Arguedas, J. 2003. La exploración botánica de Costa Rica en el siglo XIX. Pp. 129-186 in, G. Peraldo Huertas (compilador), Ciencia y técnica en la Costa Rica del siglo XIX. Edit. Tecnol. de Costa Rica, Cartago, Costa Rica.

A convenient overview of the most interesting and least complicated period of Costa Rican botanical history. The stage is set with a brief summary of events prior to 1800, followed by a description of 19th century Costa Rica in terms of its principal population centers and routes of transit. The contributions of individual explorers and collectors are then considered individually, with the activities of the Instituto Físico-geográfico detailed in a separate section. The Isla del Coco, with a distinct history of exploration, is addressed at the end. In his epilogue, the author states that botanical exploration of Costa Rica in the 19th century was pursued first by individual scientists and collectors, then (after 1887) by the Instituto Físico-geográfico, but that, in both cases, the major players were foreigners; just two Costa Ricans, Anastasio Alfaro and Juan José Cooper, made significant botanical collections during this period. Costa Rica received more attention than neighboring countries and, by the turn of the century, was the best known Latin American country floristically. This was due mainly to the efforts of Henri Pittier. Features four tables, various maps, rare photos of Anders Oersted, Carl Hoffmann, and Adolfo Tonduz, and a glossary of Costa Rican botanical localities from the period (which are also mapped). The glossary was previously published elsewhere, but we have lost the citation, and it is not given here.

This fine new book is a must-have for anyone with an interest in the history of Costa Rican science. Several other chapters are of particular interest botanically, especially "Dos colosos de la biología costarricense del siglo XIX: Anastasio Alfaro y Henri Pittier," by J. Monge-Nájera and V. H. Méndez-Estrada (pp. 323-343).

Luther, H. E. 2003. Miscellaneous new taxa of Bromeliaceae (XVI). Brittonia 54: 279-285.

This is where the nomen novum Werauhia moralesii H. Luther, alluded to in our last issue, is validated. Honoring INBio specialist Francisco Morales, the new name replaces Chico’s illegitimate Vriesea simulans, while rendering superfluous (by a matter of weeks) his Werauhia clandestina [see The Cutting Edge 10(3): 8, Jul. 2003].

McCook, S. 2002. ‘Giving plants a civil status’: scientific representations of nature and nation in Costa Rica and Venezuela, 1885-1935. Americas 58: 513-536.

This contribution provides some additional insights on the evolution of botanical institutions in Costa Rica [see also The Cutting Edge 7(1): 8, Jan. 2000]. The same piece appears (apparently verbatim) as a chapter in McCook’s recent book, States of nature: science, agriculture and environment in the Spanish Caribbean, 1760-1940 (Univ. Texas Press, Austin, TX, U. S. A. 2002).

Miller, J. T., J. W. Grimes, D. J. Murphy, R. J. Bayer & P. Y. Ladiges. 2003. A phylogenetic analysis of the Acacieae and Ingeae (Mimosoideae: Fabaceae) based on trnK, matK, psbA-trnH, and trnL/trnF sequence data. Syst. Bot. 28: 558-566.

While aiming to present "a more balanced analysis... in terms of taxon sampling" than previous molecular investigations on the same taxa, this study "still lacks key Ingeae genera" (i.e., 22 of the 35 total!). Nonetheless, the conclusions of this paper figured prominently in the proposal by this Australian team to split Acacia into five smaller genera, as detailed previously in these pages [see The Cutting Edge 10(2): 9-10, Apr. 2003]. Formal nomenclatural changes are still withheld, pending the resolution of a proposal to conserve the name Acacia with a new (Australian) type (see under Orchard & Maslin, below).

Nakazato, T. & G. J. Gastony. 2003. Molecular phylogenetics of Anogramma species and related genera (Pteridaceae: Taenitidoideae). Syst. Bot. 28: 490-502.

Analyses of rbcL sequences suggest that Anogramma-an oligotypic fern genus with two or three spp. (depending on taxonomy) represented in montane regions of Costa Rica-is polyphyletic. Two species, including Anogramma chaerophylla (Desv.) Link (occurring in Costa Rica), belong to a lineage apart from the rest, and must be removed. Although these spp. appear more closely related to certain Pityrogramma spp. than to Anogramma s. str., the authors caution that "their precise relationship to Pityrogramma should be examined in the context of additional species of that genus... to determine whether [they] should be considered congeneric with Pityrogramma or treated as a coordinate independent genus." Should the former view prevail, the combination Pityrogramma chaerophylla (Desv.) Domin is available. On a more minor note, Anogramma guatemalensis (Domin) C. Chr. proves to be "firmly" embedded within A. leptophylla (L.) Link, confirming the views of several previous authors (and limiting Costa Rica to two spp. of Anogramma).

Orchard, A. E. & B. R. Maslin. 2003. (1584) Proposal to conserve the name Acacia (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae) with a conserved type. Taxon 52: 362-363.

As most of our readers will be aware (see, e.g., under Miller et al., above), Acacia, one of the largest and best known genera of flowering plants, is on the chopping block. Indeed, these authors emphasize that "consensus among specialists…is now such that the formal division [into five smaller genera] will take place in the near future." Name changes, inevitable under any scenario, would be especially extensive by strict adherence to the type principle, under which "Acacia would be correctly applied to only 161 of the 1352 currently accepted species (less than 12%)." The authors seek to avert this calamity by conserving Acacia with a new type, according to which the name would apply to 960 spp. (ca. 71%)-specifically, those comprising the overwhelmingly Australian subg. Phyllodineae (DC.) Ser. The authors’ case-setting aside regional bias, and assuming one accepts the basic premise of conservation (which we do not)-is extremely persuasive. In addition to including the majority of spp. in Acacia s. l., subg. Phyllodineae harbors most of the economically important spp., "grown in over 70 countries." Rejection of this proposal would require 870 new combinations in Racosperma, presently the correct name at genus rank for subg. Phyllodineae. And even if the proposal fails, 231 spp. (including 125 of the ca. 185 New World spp. in Acacia s. l.) will receive new binomials in either Senegalia, Acaciella, or a genus name yet to be published [see The Cutting Edge 10(2): 9-10, Apr. 2003]. A more minor consideration favoring this proposal is that usage of the name Racosperma-of neuter gender despite ending in "a"-would require neuter epithets (e.g., ending in "-um"), which "naïve users would be tempted to ‘correct’."

Opposition to this proposal will no doubt come mainly from botanists working in areas other than Australia, especially Africa and the New World (or from radical anti-conservationists, such as ourselves). In the latter regions, the familiar name Acacia would cease to be used for native spp., all of which are referrable either to one of the splinter genera mentioned above (excluding Racosperma) or to Vachellia, the correct name for Acacia s. str. (according to the present type) should this proposal succeed. For Costa Rica, the situation breaks down as follows: of ca. 12 native spp., half [the thorn acacias and the A. farnesiana (L.) Willd. group] belong to Acacia s. str., and thus could either remain in Acacia or be transferred to Vachellia, depending on the Committee vote; the remainder will be shunted off to other genera, under the new classification, regardless of the ruling on this proposal. Our primary concern is that the situation be resolved, one way or the other, before the Manual Fabaceae treatment goes to press!

Persson, C. 2003. Agouticarpa, a new neotropical genus of tribe Gardenieae (Rubiaceae). Brittonia 55: 176-201.

Morphological and molecular studies suggest that the currently recognized spp. of Genipa comprise two distinct groups that are better treated as separate genera. One group (represented in Costa Rica by G. americana L.) clusters with the Old World genera of tribe Gardenieae, the other (represented in Costa Rica by G. williamsii Standl.) with Alibertia and allies. The latter group, comprising six spp., is here distinguished under the name Agouticarpa C. Perss., alluding to fruit predation by the rodent Agouti paca (called "tepezcuintle" in Costa Rica). Agouticarpa differs from Genipa s. str. in having rapidly caducous stipules, a poorly developed calyx, included style and stamens, somewhat different pollen, 4-locular (vs. 2-locular) ovaries, and in being strictly dioecious (though G. americana is, in our experience, also dioecious). Three spp. of Agouticarpa are described as new, and two new combinations are validated, including Agouticarpa williamsii (Standl.) C. Perss. for the only sp. occurring in Costa Rica (on the Atlantic slope of the eastern Cordillera de Talamanca). Includes a key to spp., synonymy, typology and generous descriptions at all levels, comprehensive specimen citations, distribution maps, superb composite line drawings of five spp. (and a photo of the type of the sixth), and SEM micrographs of pollen. The introductory part summarizes morphological variation and addresses relationships and distribution.

Pupulin, F. 2003. Two new species of Stellilabium (Orchidaceae: Telipogoninae) from Costa Rica. Harvard Pap. Bot. 8: 29-34.

Stellilabium anacristinae Pupulin and S. tsipiriense Pupulin are both Costa Rican endemics known from a single site, the former from 830 m elevation between Puerto Quepos and San Marcos de Tarrazú, the latter from 1090 m elevation near Moravia de Chirripó. Stellilabium anacristinae is critically distinguished from a complex including S. boylei J. T. Atwood, S. distantiflorum Ames & C. Schweinf., S. erratum Dressler, and S. smaragdinum Pupulin & M. A. Blanco, while S. tsipiriense is compared principally with S. minutiflorum (Kraenzl.) Garay. The Costa Rican total for this mysterious genus now stands at 14 spp., 10 of which have been described since 1989. A key is provided to all the Costa Rican spp. of Stellilabium. Unfortunately, the two newest, together with the recently published S. smaragdinum [see The Cutting Edge 10(1): 9, Jan. 2003], will be omitted from our forthcoming Manual treatment. Both new spp. are illustrated with superbly detailed, composite line drawings by the author.

--. 2003. A second look at the genus Sigmatostalix (Orchidaceae: Oncidiinae) in Costa Rica. Harvard Pap. Bot. 8: 35-59.

The "first look" implicit in the title was that of the late Dora Emilia Mora de Retana, in the penultimate installment of Flora costaricensis [see The Cutting Edge 6(3): 4, Jul. 1999]. Her treatment of Sigmatostalix, followed in most details for the Manual, recognized five spp. in Costa Rica [later augmented to six with the description of S. pseudounguiculata Pupulin & Dressler; see The Cutting Edge 7(3): 8, Jul. 2000]. In this reconsideration of the genus for his upcoming Flora mesoamericana account, Franco Pupulin nearly doubles the Costa Rican sp. total. Of the 11 Sigmatostalix spp. he attributes to the country, three are new to science (bringing our running total of new orchid spp. described from Costa Rica since 1993 to 201, including the two discussed in the foregoing entry). Two of the new spp. are endemic, and known only from a single site or region: Sigmatostalix cardioglossa Pupulin has been collected once at 1050 m elevation near San Isidro de El General, while S. savegrensis Pupulin is known from three collections at 1300-1700 m in the Río Savegre basin. Both are segregated from the Sigmatostalix picta Rchb. f. complex, together with S. guatemalensis Schltr. and S. poikilostalix Kraenzl.; the two last-mentioned names are treated in the Manual as synonyms of S. picta, regarded by Pupulin as "a very distinctive taxon endemic of South American Andes." The third new sp. described here is Sigmatostalix integrilabris Pupulin, which corresponds to all extant Costa Rican and Panamanian specimens heretofore referred to S. hymenantha Schltr. The latter name is provisionally restricted to its type, comprising drawings based on the original (now lost) collection from "Costa Rica, Curillo, 300 m" (the place-name being obviously a mistranscription of "Carrillo," a classical collecting site on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera Central). Finally, Sigmatostalix picturatissima Kraenzl., otherwise known only from Panama to Ecuador, is newly attributed to Costa Rica on the basis of what must be regarded as highly speculative evidence: a single specimen, without collection data, flowering in cultivation at "the Orchid Exhibition of Alajuela" in 2001.

Features a key to all 11 spp., plus synonymy and typology, full descriptions, comprehensive specimen citations, and discussions for each. Except in the case of S. hymenantha (for which the original drawings are reproduced), each spp. is illustrated with one of the author’s characteristically excellent composite line drawings.

Rojas-Alvarado, A. F. 2002. New species, new combinations and new distributions in neotropical species of Elaphoglossum (Lomariopsidaceae). Revista Biol. Trop. 50: 969-1006.

Ten new spp. are described in Elaphoglossum, three new combinations are validated, and 86 spp. are newly reported from various countries. Two of the new spp. occur in Costa Rica: Elaphoglossum adrianae A. Rojas, widespread in all the main cordilleras at (850-)1000-1900 m elevation (and extending to westernmost Panama), has apparently been confused with E. curtii Rosenst.; the endemic E. caridadiae A. Rojas (which must be corrected from "caridadae"), known only from the Tapantí region at 1300-1700 m, is compared with E. cuspidatum (Willd.) T. Moore and E. furfuraceum (Mett.) H. Christ. None of the new combinations pertains to Costa Rica.

Four previously described Elaphoglossum spp. may be added to the Costa Rican flora on the basis of records cited herein: E. atrosquamatum Mickel (formerly from Colombia, Peru, and Venezuela), on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera Central (Volcán Turrialba) and both slopes of the Cordillera de Talamanca, at 2400-3300 m elevation; E. burchellii (Baker) C. Chr. (formerly from Colombia and Brazil), on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca at 1500-1600 m; E. corderoanum (Sodiro) H. Christ (formerly from Ecuador), on both slopes of the Cordilleras Central and de Talamanca, at 2000-3050 m; and E. inaequalifolium (Jenman) C. Chr. (formerly from Mexico, Venezuela, and Jamaica), on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca at 2400-3000 m. At the same time, Costa Rica loses four putative endemics: Elaphoglossum fuliginosum Mickel (now in Venezuela); E. herrerae A. Rojas (now in most other Mesoamerican countries); E. moralesii A. Rojas (now in Panama); and E. orosiense A. Rojas (now in Colombia). Costa Rican specimens previously determined as Elaphoglossum gratum (Fée) T. Moore are here reinterpreted as juvenile material of E. furfuraceum.

All the new spp. are illustrated with photographic images of the type specimen. For the country records, the previously known geographic range and "material of new distribution" are clearly indicated in all cases.

Sánchez-Vindas, P. E. 2001. Flórula arborescente del Parque Nacional Cahuita. 2. ed. EUNED, San José, Costa Rica. 340 pp.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years now since the first edition of this valuable work was published. Despite the absence of the word arborescente from the title of the first edition (and from the cover of this one!), this is and has always been a tree guide. The main section of the new edition features 144 spp., one less than the original edition (mysteriously lost is the sp. identified as Matayba livida Radlk.). The sp. entries are alphabetized by family name (using "-aceae" endings exclusively this time around); each entry comprises two facing pages, one bearing a black-and-white photo (usually from life), the other descriptions of growth form, leaves, flowers, and fruits, as well as common names and information on distribution and (usually) uses. There has been some slight textual revision for the new edition, but the photos in the main section are all the same (although some have been oriented or cropped differently, and a few have been omitted). The major changes here involve nomenclatural and taxonomic updating, including the correction of a few outright misidentifications-e.g., of Campnosperma panamense Standl. (Anacardiaceae), called Bucida buceras L. (Combretaceae) in the first edition. There seems to be no explicit cross-referencing to link different names used in the two editions (though this can always be calculated from the photos). Most of the supporting features of the original edition remain in place and largely intact, including a set of dichotomous keys, an illustrated glossary (much condensed, but with the illustrations now integrated), and an index to common and scientific names. Eight color plates (with 13 photos total) appear in the back of the volume, but these are mostly different from the 12 color photos in the front of the first edition. One shortcoming of this work is that it contains no detailed map of the park, nor any information of a general nature on vegetation or habitats, or on the distribution of individual tree spp. within the park (although it must be admitted that Cahuita is a smallish and relatively homogeneous reserve). That said, this book is absolutely a "must have" for any visitor to Parque Nacional Cahuita with the desire or need to identify its trees; along these lines, we heartily endorse the new, more conventional, ergonomic and field-friendly design of the second edition.

Takizawa, H. 2003. Three new albino forms of Tillandsia from Honduras and Costa Rica. J. Bromeliad Soc. 53: 51-56.

The bad news is that two of these aberrations occur in Costa Rica; the good news is that it’s too late to even think about them for the Manual! Tillandsia bulbosa Hook. fa. alba Takiz. (Bromeliaceae) and T. flexuosa Sw. fa. alba Takiz. are both described on the basis of a single collection, the former from near Turrialba, the latter from the Península de Osa. In each case, the new form "has an unmistakable bright yellow inflorescence and pure white flower." Illustrated with color photos from life.

Wallace, R. S. & S. L. Dickie. 2002. Systematic implications of chloroplast DNA sequence variation in subfam. Opuntioideae (Cactaceae). Pp. 9-22 in, D. Hunt & N. Taylor (eds.), Studies in the Opuntioideae (Cactaceae). D. Hunt, Sherborne, England, U.K.

The results of cladistic analyses of DNA variation of the rpl16 intron, together with an evaluation of seed anatomy and other morphological and biogeographical evidence, convince the authors that Opuntia should be restricted to "those taxa with flattened stems and reticulate pollen exines." A five-tribe subfamilial classification is proposed, with one tribe described as new. Noteworthy is that Cylindropuntia (not occurring in Costa Rica) is removed not only from Opuntia s. l., but to a different tribe from Opuntia s. str. According to a cross-referenced list of accepted spp. conveniently appended to this volume (pp. 250-254), Opuntia s. str. includes (among many other spp.) the familiar O. ficus-indica (L.) Mill., cultivated in Costa Rica and throughout the New World. The only spp. of Opuntia s. l. indigenous to Costa Rica O. guatemalensis Britton & Rose and O. lutea (Rose) D. R. Hunt, belong to the segregate genus Nopalea, together with the cultivated O. cochenillifera (L.) Mill. Opuntia brasiliensis (Willd.) Haw., another exotic spp. commonly planted in Costa Rica, is referrable to Brasiliopuntia. It should be noted that the authors’ new classification was already employed (in its broad strokes) in a recent book by Edward F. Anderson [see The Cutting Edge 8(4): 2-3, Oct. 2001], on the basis of information then unpublished.

Zuloaga, F. O., O. Morrone, G. Davidse, T. S. Filgueiras, P. M. Peterson, R. J. Soreng & E. J. Judziewicz. Chief eds.: R. J. Soreng & S. J. Pennington. 2003. Catalogue of New World grasses (Poaceae): III. Subfamilies Panicoideae, Aristidoideae, Arundinoideae, and Danthonioideae. Contr. U. S. Natl. Herb. 46: 1-662.

This work compiles typological and bibliographic information, together with synonymy, for 1613 "tentatively accepted" spp. in 119 accepted genera, according to the parameters specified in the title. Geographic distribution within the New World is also indicated. Native, naturalized and cultivated taxa are all included. Eighteen names are lectotypified, and one new combination is validated; none of these appears to affect the usage of names in Costa Rica.


© 1995-2014 Missouri Botanical Garden, All Rights Reserved
P.O. Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299
(314) 577-5100

Technical Support