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The Cutting Edge
Volume XI, Number 4, October 2004
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Alford, M. H. 2003. Claves para los géneros de Flacourtiaceae de
Perú y del Nuevo Mundo. Arnaldoa 10(2): 19–38.
The two keys mentioned in the title are presented separately, in Spanish, are
dichotomous but unindented, and pertain to Flacourtiaceae in the traditional, broad
sense (and including Lacistemataceae). However, the author provides a detailed
discussion of modern, molecular-based reclassifications of the group, together with a
tabular summarization of the dispositions of all genera concerned according to four
recent (post-1980) systems and a key to the five or six families distinguished in his
own tentative (and still unpublished) system. For the record, these are:
Berberidopsidaceae (monotypic, and absent from Costa Rica); Kiggelariaceae
(Carpotroche, Chiangiodendron, Lindackeria, and
Mayna); Lacistemataceae (Lacistema and Lozania);
Salicaceae s. str. (with Macrohasseltia and Salix in Costa Rica);
and Samydaceae (with Casearia, Laetia, Lunania,
Ryania, Tetrathylacium, and Zuelania in Costa Rica).
The author is as yet undecided on whether to recognize a family Flacourtiaceae s.
str. or lump it in Salicaceae; in Costa Rica, the following genera suffer this
condition of limbo: Abatia, Banara, Hasseltia,
Hasseltiopsis, Homalium, Pleuranthodendron, and
Prockia. The fate of the South African taxon Achariaceae s. str. in
Alford’s classification is unclear to us. Illustrated with two composite
color photographic plates portraying critical morphological features.
Almeda, F., A. Rodríguez G. & A. Garita M. 2004. Una nueva
especie de Monochaetum (Melastomataceae) del Parque Internacional La
Amistad, Costa Rica. Novon 14: 245–248.
Monochaetum vestitum Almeda, Alex. Rodr. & Garita is endemic to
Costa Rica, where it is known only from the type locality, at ca. 2300 m elevation
in Sabanas Dúrika, on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca. The
new sp., illustrated by a composite line drawing, is most similar to the sympatric
M. trichophyllum Almeda, of Costa Rica and Panama, from which it differs
most significantly in its oblong-arcuate, distinctly muriculate seeds (vs. cochleate
and smooth). Monochaetum vestitum was already included in the Manual draft
treatment of Melastomataceae [see The Cutting Edge 10(3):
3, Jul. 2003], pending the formal publication now effected.
Alves, M., W. W. Thomas & M. das G. L. Wanderley. 2004.
Lectotypifications in neotropical Hypolytrum Rich. (Cyperaceae).
Taxon 53: 551–552.
These are perfunctory lectotypifications that do not appear to affect current
usage. Hypolytrum amplum Poepp. & Kunth is the only name dealt with
that pertains to a taxon occurring in Costa Rica.
Barrie, F. R. 2004. (1629) Proposal to conserve the name Myrtus
fragrans (Myrtaceae) with a conserved type. Taxon 53: 569–570.
The name Myrtus fragrans Sw. was illegitimate when published by virtue of
the citation in synonymy of the earlier Eugenia montana Aubl. Despite this,
the combination Myrcianthes fragrans (Sw.) McVaugh was perpetrated in 1963
(even though McVaugh was aware of the illegitimacy of its basionym), and has since
become universally accepted. Cirilo Nelson (TEFH) recently proposed
the combination Myrcianthes montana (Aubl.) C. Nelson as a replacement name
for the illegitimate M. fragrans [see
The Cutting Edge 7(2): 11, Apr. 2000];
however, unbeknownst to Nelson (and to your editors, who followed Nelson in Vol. I of
the Manual), the name Eugenia montana correctly applies to quite another sp.,
“consistently recognized as distinct…for at least 150 years,”
presently known as Marlierea montana (Aubl.) Amshoff. Barrie feels that
“nomenclatural stability is best served…by conservation
of…Myrtus fragrans” (and the consequent salvation of
Myrcianthes fragrans), failing which a new combination in Myrcianthes
would be required, based on Eugenia punctata Vahl.
Barringer, K. 2004. A revision of Gibsoniothamnus L. O. Williams
(Schlegeliaceae). Brittonia 56: 213–237.
This rarely encountered genus of mostly epiphytic, cloud-forest shrubs comprises
11 spp., ranging from southern Mexico to the Chocó region of Colombia. Eight of
the spp. are restricted to Panama (according to this revision), or virtually so, while
only Gibsoniothamnus epiphyticus (Standl.) L. O. Williams and G.
parvifolius Barringer are here attributed to Costa Rica. This latter fact stands
in stark contrast to the Manual draft treatment of Schlegeliaceae recently submitted
by Francisco Morales [see
The Cutting Edge 10(2): 3, Apr. 2003], which accounts for fully six spp. in the
country. In addition to G. epiphyticus and G. parvifolius, Chico
cites specimens identified as Gibsoniothamnus allenii A. H. Gentry and
G. grandiflorus A. H. Gentry & Barringer (both Panamanian endemics,
fide Barringer), G. pterocalyx A. H. Gentry (a synonym of G.
epiphyticus, in Barringer’s latest view), and an undescribed sp. The
specimen vouchering Chico’s undescribed sp. is the only one of these also
cited by Barringer, who assigns it to G. epiphyticus. Includes full
genus and sp. descriptions, a key to spp., summaries of distribution and phenology,
comprehensive specimen citations (of the limited material seen), distribution maps,
and excellent composite line drawings. Discussions of morphology, distribution, and
relationships are found in the opening pages. No taxonomic novelties.
Bolmgren, K. & B. Oxelman. 2004. Generic limits in Rhamnus
s. l. (Rhamnaceae) inferred from nuclear and chloroplast DNA sequence phylogenies.
Taxon 53: 383–390.
Parsimony analysis of variation in both a chloroplast (trnL-F) and
nuclear (ITS) DNA region provides support for the recognition of Frangula
as a genus separate from Rhamnus, but not for several other occasional
generic segregates. Frangula is a group of about 12 spp., most diverse
in mountainous areas of the Neotropics, that differs from Rhamnus s. str.
in its pinnately veined leaves with straight veins and 5-merous, bisexual flowers
with erect, fleshy sepals, well-developed, short-clawed petals, and an included,
unbranched style. At least two spp. occurring in Costa Rica, Rhamnus
capreifolia Schltdl. and R. sphaerosperma Sw., are referable to
Frangula (within which the indicated combinations are already available).
N.B.: although generic recognition for Frangula is supported by this
study, it is not mandated, as the last-mentioned taxon is sister to
Rhamnus s. str.
Croat, T. B. & R. P. Wunderlin. 2004. New taxa of
Homalomena (sect. Curmeria) from the Neotropics. Aroideana 27:
Two new spp. and one new subsp. are validated in Homalomena sect.
Curmeria (Linden & André) Engl. (Araceae), which harbors all
the New World members of the genus. The only one of these novelties of interest to
us is a new subsp. of Homalomena erythropus (Schott) Engl., which name was
used rather speculatively in co-PI Mike Grayum’s Manual
treatment of Araceae. Homalomena erythropus subsp. allenii Croat,
ranging from Costa Rica to Pacific Colombia, is distinguished from the autonymic
subsp. (restricted to the Amazon basin) in minor aspects of leaf texture and
venation, as well as geographic distribution. Illustrated with excellent photographs
of living specimens in cultivation.
Dean, E. A. 200. A taxonomic revision of Lycianthes series
Meizonodontae (Solanaceae). Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 145: 385–424.
Lycianthes ser. Meizonodontae Bitter is distinctive in
comprising perennial herbs with tuberous roots, in a genus consisting mostly of
shrubs or lianas (sometimes epiphytic). This group of eight spp. ranges from Mexico
to Costa Rica, with only Lycianthes acapulcensis (Baill.) D’Arcy
represented in Tiquicia. The last-named spp., heretofore known to us under one of
its synonyms (L. grandifrons Bitter), is rare in Costa Rica, where it is
restricted to a few small areas at ca. 550–850 m elevation on the Pacific
slope of the Cordillera de Tilarán and the Valle Central. Features a key to
spp. (and a separate key to vars. for one sp.), full synonymy and typology,
extensive sp. descriptions (but no formal description of the series), lengthy
discussions of diagnostic features, comprehensive specimen citations, and numerous
photos of both living material and exsiccatae. The introductory sections consider
all aspects of morphology, pollinators, chromosome numbers, and sp. concept. One
new sp. and two new vars. are described, none relevant to us.
Dressler, R. L. 2004. Una clave preliminar para las Trichopilia
centroamericanas/A preliminary key to the species of Trichopilia in
Mesoamerica. Orquideología 23: 35–48.
These indented, dichotomous keys to Mesoamerican (or is it Central American?)
Trichopilia spp. (Orchidaceae) are annotated (in the Spanish version, but
not the English) to indicate distribution by country, and supplemented with a
semi-popular discussion of various problems in the group and two pages of exquisite
color photos of living plants (mostly by the author’s wife). The unvouchered
information embodied in the distribution annotations reveals no major discrepancies
with the author’s recent (2003) Manual account of Orchidaceae, although
Leucohyle subulata (Sw.) Schltr. is here included in Trichopilia.
Faria, A. P. G. de, T. Wendt & G. K. Brown. 2004. Cladistic
relationships of Aechmea (Bromeliaceae, Bromelioideae) and allied genera.
Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 91: 303–319.
Cladistic analyses of morphological data (people are still doing that?) suggest
that most of the subgenera of Aechmea are polyphyletic, thus refuting their
recent elevation to generic rank (see, e.g., Smith and Kress, Phytologia 66:
70–79. 1989) and upholding the inclusive concept of Aechmea employed
in Francisco Morales’s Manual treatment of Bromeliaceae.
Several “allied genera,” including Billbergia and
Ronnbergia (at least the non-Brazilian component), appear to be monophyletic.
The cladogram depicts Aechmea itself as non-monophyletic, with all of the
“allied genera” embedded; however, most of the branches have very low
(<50%) bootstrap support.
Flores-Vindas, E. & G. Obando-Vargas. 2003.
Árboles del trópico húmedo. Importancia socioeconómica.
Edit. Tecnol. de Costa Rica, Cartago. 920 pp.
Árboles del trópico húmedo en Costa Rica would have
been a more accurate title for this massive work, which deals only with Costa Rica and,
moreover, almost exclusively with the timber band of the socioeconomic spectrum. The
main body of the work consists of 125 heavily formatted, multiple-page entries for
individual tree spp. (or, in some cases, genera or groups of spp., e.g.,
“Clethra spp.,” “Dalbergia spp.,” etc.),
presented in strict alphabetical sequence according to Latin binomials. Each entry
includes a composite line drawing, family disposition, protologue citation, vernacular
and commercial (for wood) names, a distribution summary, a formal morphological
description, detailed information on wood properties, notes (where appropriate), and
a multicolored Holdridge Life-Zone map upon which are plotted known collection sites.
Interestingly, numerous fairly obscure spp. are featured, e.g., Chloroleucon
eurycyclum Barneby & J. W. Grimes (Fabaceae/Mimosoideae), Elaeoluma
glabrescens (Mart. & Eichler) Aubrév. (Sapotaceae), and
Sclerolobium costaricense N. Zamora & Poveda (Fabaceae/Caesalpinioideae).
A relatively brief introductory part explains (and in some cases summarizes) the
information provided in the sp. entries. Altitudinal and geographic distributions,
as well as uses, are presented in tabular form at the end of the volume, together
with a glossary, in loose association with a set of colored drawings depicting
selected characters. This is a rich and taxonomically accurate source of information
for anyone concerned with the conservation or management of timber spp. in Costa Rica
or adjacent countries.
Hall, J. C., H. H. Iltis & K. J. Sytsma. 2004. Molecular phylogenetics
of core Brassicales, placement of orphan genera Emblingia,
Forchhammeria, Tirania, and character evolution. Syst. Bot. 29:
The enigmatic Forchhammeria, with two spp. in Costa Rica, “should
no longer be classified in Capparaceae,” but is instead more closely related
to Resedaceae, confirming the results of a previous study by this same group [see
The Cutting Edge 10(1): 6, Jan. 2003]. Still, no formal taxonomic changes are
ventured. Familial status is upheld for Tovaria, which has occasionally
been referred to Capparaceae.
Hammel, B. E., M. H. Grayum, C. Herrera & N. Zamora (eds.). 2004.
Manual de plantas de Costa Rica. Vol. I. Introducción. Monogr.
Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 97: 1–299.
You’d think these idiots could have managed one more lousy page! The first
volume in this series (ordinally, if not chronologically) is wholly introductory, as
the title implies, with no taxonomic treatments. The five main chapters (all written
by the editors and associates) cover the history of botany and floristics in Costa
Rica, the physical environment, vegetation, novelties, and the Manual format.
Black-and-white photos are scattered throughout the book, portraying landscapes,
plant spp., and (in the history chapter) important personalities. Some graphs and maps
are presented, along with an eight-page insert of color photos. An extensive
“literature cited” precedes an appendix indicating family affiliation for
every genus mentioned in the text, and authority names for every sp. The preface and
endpapers are the same as in previously published volumes [see
The Cutting Edge 10(4): 7–8, Oct. 2003], but the acknowledgments have been
somewhat expanded. The narrative portions of Vol. I are entirely bilingual,
Spanish/English, with the Spanish text on the left (or whatever the technical term is)
and the English on the right. One new combination is validated in a footnote (p. 121).
Now we can get on with the dicots!
Kim, Y.-D., S.-H. Kim & L. R. Landrum. 2004. Taxonomic and
phytogeographic implications from ITS phylogeny in Berberis (Berberidaceae).
J. Pl. Res. 117: 175–182.
The cladograms here presented appear to offer additional support for
Berberis s. l.—i.e., including the compound-leaved spp. often
segregated as Mahonia. The latter group is depicted as paraphyletic with
respect to Berberis s. str.
Königer, W. 2004. Oncidium; eine Monographie/A monograph.
Verlag Helga Königer, München. 256 pp.
Warning: this is not a standard taxonomic monograph, but rather one of those
para-taxonomic, coffee-table type contributions that are so frequent in Orchidaceae
and some other horticulturally admired taxa. There is no generic description or
substantive introductory material and no key to spp., nor are there any specimen
citations or taxonomic novelties. This is nothing more than a compendium of lavish
portrayals of every Oncidium sp. known to the author—60 in this
volume, the first in a projected series of five. Each sp. entry comprises no less
than four pages: a close-up color photo of a living flower, a composite line drawing
of the entire plant, a detailed description and distribution summary in German, and
an English version of same. An index to scientific names (including synonyms) is
usefully presented at the end of the volume.
Krapovickas, A. 2003. Sida sección Distichifolia
(Monteiro) Krapov. comb. nov., stat. nov. (Malvaceae-Malveae).
Bonplandia 12: 83–121.
Although this is actually a fully realized taxonomic revision of this group of
15 spp., the title portrays it as a strictly nomenclatural contribution formalizing
a change in status (from subsection to section). Perhaps that is why we overlooked
this in the April Edge, where we reviewed an adjacent paper in the same issue. From
our initial perusal, it is at once apparent that the author (based in Argentina) had
very little Central American material of these generally abundant, weedy plants at
his disposal. Although six spp. in sect. Distichifolia are broadly
characterized as being widespread in “América” or “Centro
América,” but a single Costa Rican specimen (of Sida hirsutissima
Mill.) is cited (though not mapped!) in the entire article. Nonetheless, our records
(evaluated by Manual co-PI Barry Hammel with reference to this paper)
confirm that at least four other spp. in this group occur in Costa Rica: Sida
cuspidata (A. Robyns) Krapov. comb. nov., S. glomerata Cav., S.
jamaicensis L., and S. ulmifolia Mill. Of the six likely candidates,
only Sida acuta Burm. f. has apparently not been collected in Costa Rica
Cutting Edge 11(3): 4, Jul. 2004], despite the fact that it has been
one of the most widely (ab)used names in the genus. Includes a brief description
of the section, a key to spp., synonymy at all levels, sp. descriptions and
distribution summaries, comprehensive specimen citations, distribution maps,
excellent composite line drawings of selected spp., drawings of mericarps of most
spp., sections on dubious and excluded names, and indices to scientific names and
exsiccatae. The introductory pages feature discussions of taxonomic history and
geographic distribution. In addition to the two new combinations already indicated,
two new spp. and one nomen novum (none relevant to Costa Rica) are validated.
Kuijt, J. 2003. Monograph of Phoradendron (Viscaceae). Syst. Bot.
Monogr. 66: 1–643.
With apologies to Stevie Wonder, “Fulfillingness’s
First Finale” might be an appropriate subtitle for this monumental work, which
continues the extended flowering of a lifetime of research on parasitic angiosperms
by venerated specialist Job Kuijt (UVIC). The exclusively neotropical
Phoradendron is the largest and most important mistletoe genus in our
hemisphere, with a total of 234 spp., 78 of which are here described as new. The Costa
Rican share totals 26 spp., exactly twice as many as were explicitly attributed to the
country in the 1983 Flora costaricensis treatment of Loranthaceae s. l. by
William Burger (F) and Kuijt (Fieldiana, Bot. n. s., 13: 29–79).
The recent Manual draft treatment of Viscaceae by Francisco Morales
(INB) upped the Costa Rican ante to 19 Phoradendron spp., while incorporating
many of the nomenclatural changes and new records here brought to light [see
The Cutting Edge 8(2): 3–4, Apr. 2001]. The seven spp. added to Chico’s
already daunting work-load are: the endemic Phoradendron acutifolium Kuijt sp.
nov., from two disparate sites on the Caribbean slope; P. heredianum Kuijt sp.
nov., based on a single collection from near Tirimbina, in the Sarapiquí
lowlands; the widespread P. hexastichum (DC.) Griseb., with one Costa Rican
specimen cited, from near Cariblanco in the Sarapiquí region; P.
naviculare Kuijt nom. nov. (based on Dendrophthora guatemalensis
Standl.), restricted to northern Mesoamerica, except for one collection from a remote
site on the Caribbean slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca; the widespread P.
obtusissimum (Miq.) Eichler and P. racemosum (Aubl.) Krug & Urb.,
each with one Costa Rican specimen cited, from Copey de Dota (on the Pacific slope
of the Cordillera de Talamanca) and near Los Chiles, respectively; and P.
seibertii (Trel.) Rizzini [cited as a synonym of P. quadrangulare
(Kunth) Griseb. in Flora costaricensis], an erstwhile Panamanian endemic
now known from several locations on both slopes of (guess again!) the Cordillera de
Guanacaste. One of the synonyms of Phoradendron obtusissimum is P.
acinacifolium Eichler, a name that was accepted in Flora costaricensis
for a montane taxon later distinguished (in Chico’s draft and by Kuijt) as
P. robaloense Woodson ex Rizzini; however, it now appears that
the genuine article also occurs in Costa Rica. In addition to P. acutifolium
and P. heredianum, three new sp. names used provisionally by Chico are here
validated: Phoradendron burgeri Kuijt, P. planiphyllum Kuijt, and
P. ravenii Kuijt. Two other names accepted by Chico must be replaced:
Phoradendron dichotomum (Bertero ex Spreng.) Krug & Urb.
(also used in Flora costaricensis) turns out to be superfluous and must be
replaced by P. berteroanum (DC.) Griseb., while P. vernicosum
Greenm. falls into synonymy under P. wattii Krug & Urb. Finally, at
least two of the vouchers cited by Chico are identified differently in Kuijt’s
Features full synonymy and typology and adequate descriptions at all levels, five
sp. keys (segregated according to major geographical regions), specimen citations
(frequently representative, with the listings for very wide-ranging spp. shunted to
an appendix), discussions of variable length, distribution maps and line drawings for
all spp., a (lengthy!) section on doubtful and excluded names, a summary of
infrageneric classifications, compilations of hyperparasitism records, vernacular
names, and uses, and indices to exsiccatae and scientific names. The well-illustrated
introductory section includes discussions of taxonomic history, morphology and anatomy,
chromosome numbers, dispersal and germination, hybridization, hosts, physiology,
distribution, and generic and infrageneric relationships. Particularly troubling is the
relationship with Dendrophthora, distinguished by a single character involving
the anthers (unilocular, vs. bilocular in Phoradendron), which are
“minuscule” and “not even present on female plants.” Indeed,
“the anthers of the majority of species in both genera have probably never been
looked at.” The possibility is raised that “the anthers of some
Phoradendron species have become unilocular,” and the overall situation
is discussed in the light of recent and future molecular studies. The author confesses
to having himself resorted to “intuition” on occasion, and allows that
“no doubt some of my decisions are in error.” A prime example relevant
to Costa Rica concerns the newly described Phoradendron planiphyllum, which
“joins several other species of uncertain generic assignment.” Although
its male flowers have been examined, the (“possibly immature”) anthers of
P. planiphyllum are “not unequivocally unilocular or bilocular.”
Should they prove to be unilocular, and the sp. “therefore to belong in
Dendrophthora, then separation from Dendrophthora obliqua (Presl)
Wiens…becomes difficult.” Imagine the dilemma for the man on the trail!
Li, J., C. Christophel, J. G. Conran & H.-W. Li. 2004. Phylogenetic
relationships within the ‘core’ Laureae (Litsea complex,
Lauraceae) inferred from sequences of the chloroplast gene matK and nuclear
ribosomal DNA ITS regions. Pl. Syst. Evol. 246: 19–34.
Several genera, including Litsea (the only one occurring in Costa Rica),
“were polyphyletic in all analyses,” and “there was no support for
traditional generic characters such as 2- versus 4-celled anthers.” The latter
point, especially, portends grave problems for the classification of Lauraceae in
general, as characters such as the number and disposition of anther cells have been
used (sometimes exclusively) to separate many large and well-known genera. As for
Litsea itself, the sample size of this study was much too small to permit
any definitive resolution, and neither the generic type (L. chinensis Lam.)
nor the sole Costa Rican sp. (L. glaucescens Kunth) were included.
Luna, I. & H. Ochoterena. 2004. Phylogenetic relationships of the genera
of Theaceae based on morphology. Cladistics 20: 223–270.
In contrast to recent molecular studies supporting the segregation of
Ternstroemiaceae from Theaceae [see, e.g.,
The Cutting Edge 9(3): 4, Jul. 2002], this morphological analysis suggests
that Theaceae s. str. (with only Gordonia in Costa Rica) is paraphyletic
with respect to Ternstroemiaceae, and concludes that a single family should be
recognized. However, in agreement with molecular work, certain other taxa that
have occasionally been referred to Theaceae are here excluded, e.g.,
Pelliciera (Pellicieraceae), which occurs in a sister-group relationship
Malécot, V., D. L. Nickrent, P. Baas, L. van den Oever & D.
Lobreau-Callen. 2004. A morphological cladistic analysis of Olacaceae. Syst.
Bot. 29: 569–586.
This analysis of 80 characters, involving all 28 genera of Olacaceae plus 26
selected genera from five other santalalean families, concurs with several previous
studies in suggesting “a paraphyletic or polyphyletic Olacaceae.”
However, some details remain unresolved, and formal reclassification of the family
is withheld pending the publication of (apparently) ongoing molecular analyses.
Michelangeli, F. A., D. S. Penneys, J. Giza, D. Soltis, M. H. Hils & J.
D. Skean, Jr. 2004. A preliminary phylogeny of the tribe Miconieae
(Melastomataceae) based on nrITS sequence data and its implications on
inflorescence position. Taxon 53: 279–290.
Miconieae DC., characterized by partially to totally inferior ovaries and baccate
fruits, is the most diverse tribe of Melastomataceae, with 30 genera and over 2200
spp. Moreover, with such sp.-rich genera as Clidemia, Conostegia,
Leandra, Miconia, Ossaea, and Tococa, tribe
Miconieae is almost singlehandedly responsible for the reputation of Melastomataceae
as one of the paramount families of understory shrubs in primary wet forests of the
Neotropics. Ecologists will thus be particularly unhappy to learn that the integrity
of nearly all of these well-known genera is now threatened, with sweeping nomenclatural
changes on the distant horizon that may dwarf (in their impact to neotropical biology)
those impending for Acacia. The beginning of the end dates back nearly 20
years, to Walter S. Judd’s studies on the variation of
inflorescence position, an important diagnostic character in the group (Brittonia 38:
150–161. 1986). This, and subsequent contributions by Judd and colleagues,
suggested that the generic classification of Miconieae might be highly artificial.
The present paper finds the tribe itself to be nearly monophyletic, with only
Bellucia, Henriettea, Henriettella, and Loreya
segregated in a distant clade. At the generic level, however, chaos reigns supreme:
Miconia is paraphyletic to all the other genera (as well as polyphyletic),
and all the latter are polyphyletic, with the exception of Conostegia
(possibly) and Maieta (which is nested in Clidemia). Among those
melastome genera extrinsic to Miconieae s. str. that were included in the study,
Henriettella and Meriania also emerge as polyphyletic. The authors
postpone taxonomic changes that “might be inevitable in the future,”
pending more extensive sampling of taxa.
Moran, R. C. 2004. A natural history of ferns. Timber Press,
Portland, OR. 301 pp.
Our good friend and Manual correspondent Robbin Moran (NY) is a
rare breed indeed: a tropical botanist, highly respected among his peers, whose
prolific field and laboratory work is complemented with an ability to write vivid
and absorbing prose of a non-technical nature. All of Robbin’s talents are
abundantly evidenced in his newest book, a concise and elegantly rendered treasure
trove of fern biology and lore. The book comprises six chapters, as follows: “
The life cycle of ferns,” “Classification of ferns,” “Fern
fossils,” “Adaptations by ferns,” “Fern geography,” and
“Ferns and people.” Each chapter is subdivided into a varying number
(four to seven) of vignettes, carefully selected to illuminate significant aspects
of the subject at hand in an interesting and instructive manner. Robbin’s
narrative, personal as well as personable, is colorfully informed by his field
experiences throughout the world (including Costa Rica, where he has long served as
an instructor on OTS courses); however, there is no gratuitous dropping of place-names,
as several countries in which Robbin has worked extensively (e.g., Honduras and Peru)
are not so much as mentioned. The many illustrations include both black-and-white and
color photos, line drawings, maps, and graphs, and the volume closes with a glossary,
bibliography, and index. Highly recommended reading for anyone with an interest in
ferns or plants in general, from novices to professionals. Clearly, this was a labor
--, S. Klimas & M. Carlsen. 2003. Low-trunk epiphytic ferns on tree
ferns versus angiosperms in Costa Rica. Biotropica 35: 48–56.
Field studies at four geographically and ecologically disparate sites in Costa Rica
reveal that epiphytic ferns are more abundant on tree-fern trunks than on angiosperm
trunks of similar diameter, and are represented there by significantly more spp.
(average 3–5, vs. 1–2). Whereas no epiphytic fern spp. showed a clear
preference for angiosperm trunks (but see two entries hence!), 11 spp. (of the total
of 106 at all four sites) occurred more frequently on tree-fern trunks, seven of these
exclusively. The authors postulate that the coarse root-mantle of tree-fern trunks
possesses both physical and chemical properties favorable to the establishment of
epiphytic fern prothalli and the attachment of their sporophytes; however, they could
not exclude the possibility that the tree ferns sampled were simply much older, on
average, than the angiosperms, hence with more time to accrue a lusher and more diverse
-- J. T. Mickel. 2004. Three new neotropical species of
Elaphoglossum (Elaphoglossaceae) with subulate scales. Brittonia 56:
Just one of these new spp. is from Costa Rica, that being Elaphoglossum
minutissimum R. C. Moran & Mickel. This novelty is proclaimed as “the
world’s smallest species of Elaphoglossum,” a remarkable fact
on two accounts: first, because Elaphoglossum is a pantropical genus with
“c. 400” spp., fide The plant-book (but with perhaps a third
that number in Costa Rica alone); second, because the type (and only known) locality
is along a route (San Ramón to Bajo Rodríguez) that has been heavily
and continuously botanized since the heyday of Alberto Brenes (and
even before that, by A. R. Endres). Perhaps this latter circumstance
only serves to underscore the diminutive stature of this new sp., as well as the
perspicacity of its discoverer (the first author), who detected it growing among
mosses on a vertical cliff face along the Río Cataratas, at ca. 750 m
elevation. In addition to its tininess (sterile leaf-blades mostly 1–3 cm
long), Elaphoglossum minutissimum is distinguished from E.
piloselloides (C. Presl) T. Moore and other close relatives by various
morphological details. Illustrated with a composite line drawing.
-- R. V. Russell. 2004. The occurrence of Trichomanes godmanii
(Hymenophyllaceae) on Welfia georgii (Arecaceae) at the La Selva Biological
Station, Costa Rica. Amer. Fern J. 94: 70–76.
Field studies at the Estación Biológica La Selva establish that
the small, thalloid, epiphytic fern Trichomanes godmanii Hook. shows a
statistically significant preference for the trunks of the locally abundant
subcanopy palm Welfia georgii H. Wendl. ex Burret (now more
generally known as W. regia Mast.) over trunks of dicotyledonous trees
of similar diameter. Not only is T. godmanii more frequent on Welfia
trunks, it is also more abundant, forming exceedingly dense colonies. These findings
confirm, in a general way, earlier anecdotal reports of T. godmanii favoring
Welfia trunks at La Selva; however, the possibility of a preference for palm
trunks in general was not considered. The authors discuss various hypothetical
explanations for this instance of host-specificity, a rare phenomenon among epiphytic
-- J. E. Watkins Jr. 2004. Lomariopsis ×farrarii:
a new hybrid fern between L. japurensis and L. vestita
(Lomariopsidaceae) from Costa Rica. Brittonia 56: 205–209.
Hybridization involving Lomariopsis japurensis (Mart.) J. Sm. and L.
vestita E. Fourn., both reasonably common spp. on the Atlantic coastal plain of
Costa Rica, had been suspected by the first author on the basis of an old herbarium
collection from near Puerto Limón. His notion was confirmed by the recent
discovery (by both authors) of a single individual, at the Estación
Biológica La Selva, convincingly characterized as intermediate between its
putative parent spp. in numerous morphological aspects, both qualitative and
quantitative (e.g., pinnae 14–18, vs. 8–12 in L. japurensis and
20–35 in L. vestita). The evidence is documented with black-and-white
photos and xerographic illustrations. Because the hybrid plant was sterile, spore
development could not be assessed. This incidence of hybridization is of particular
interest in that Lomariopsis japurensis and L. vestita had been
assigned to different subgroups of their genus in the first author’s recent
The Cutting Edge 7(2): 10–11, Apr. 2000]. The new hybrid is christened as
Lomariopsis ×farrarii R. C. Moran & J. E.
Watkins, on the persuasively argued notion that binomials are more stable than
Morrone, O., S. S. Denham & F. O. Zuloaga. 2004. Revisión
taxonómica del género Paspalum grupo Eriantha (Poaceae,
Panicoideae, Paniceae). Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 91: 225–246.
The latest salvo in the authors’ serial assault on Paspalum
The Cutting Edge 9(4): 6, Oct. 2003] targets this group (not accorded formal
recognition by the authors) of five spp., widely distributed throughout the
continental regions of the Neotropics. Paspalum erianthum Nees ex
Trin. is the only sp. extending beyond South America, with collections cited here
from southern Mexico (Oaxaca), Honduras, and Nicaragua. A Costa Rican record of
P. erianthum cited in Francisco Morales’s Manual
treatment of Poaceae (and, indeed, in Flora mesoamericana Vol. 6) is not
considered here. Features a key to distinguish the Eriantha group from related
taxa in Paspalum, a formal description of the group, a kep to spp., and
generous sp. accounts including full synonymy and typology, lengthy descriptions
and discussions, comprehensive specimen citations, distribution maps, and superb
composite line drawings. History, morphology, distribution, and relationships are
addressed in the opening pages, and an index to exsiccatae terminates the paper.
Pozner, R. 2004. A new species of Echinopepon from Argentina and
taxonomic notes on the subtribe Cyclantherinae (Cucurbitaceae). Syst. Bot. 29:
A supplementary key provides numerous characters distinguishing Cyclanthera
and Rytidostylis, both represented in Costa Rica.
Ranker, T. A., A. R. Smith, B. S. Parris, J. M. O. Geiger, C. H. Haufler, S. C.
K. Straub & H. Schneider. 2004. Phylogeny and evolution of grammitid ferns
(Grammitidaceae): a case of rampant morphological homoplasy. Taxon 53: 415–428.
Cladistic analyses of sequences from two cpDNA genes and of morphological characters
reveals that several segregate genera of Grammitis s. l. are not monophyletic;
among these are Grammitis s. str., Lellingeria, Micropolypodium,
and Terpsichore. On the other hand, several other Grammitis segregates,
including Ceradenia, Cochlidium, Enterosora, and
Melpomene, were indeed strongly supported as monophyletic. Although the authors
forego revisionary changes in lieu of more extensive sampling, they affirm that the
monophyletic genera “should continue to be recognized taxonomically.”
Perhaps, but at what rank? Considering the paucity (or absence) of morphological
synapomorphies for these taxa (as enumerated by the authors), together with the recent
proposal (involving several of these same authors) that Grammitidaceae be absorbed into
The Cutting Edge 11(3): 12, Jul. 2004], the reconstitution of the traditional
Grammitis s. l. (incorporating all of these technical segregates)
must now be regarded as one of the more sensible classificatory options.
Rico, M. de L. 2004. Pithecellobium campylacanthus M. Sousa
& L. Rico (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae), a spelling correction.
Kew Bull. 59: 167.
Pithecellobium campylacanthus L. Rico & M. Sousa (the title has it
backwards!), applying to a sp. only recently found in Costa Rica [see
The Cutting Edge 8(2): 5, Apr. 2001], was originally so spelled, but (according
to sp. co-author Lourdes Rico) the epithet ought to have agreed in
gender with the genus name, i.e., campylacanthum. In validating the
combination Havardia campylacanthus (L. Rico & M. Sousa) Barneby &
J. W. Grimes, the extraparenthetical authors commented that the original epithet
“appears to be a noun in apposition and is so retained.” Here, Rico
confirms her preference for an adjectival epithet, and formally emends the foregoing
spellings to Pithecellobium campylacanthum and Havardia campylacantha.
Our postscript: even as a noun in apposition, the ending -acanthus would appear
to be incorrect; according to Botanical Latin, the Greek word for
“spine” or “thorn” is feminine, “Acantha.” Thus, a
spelling change is mandated here, regardless of the author’s preferences, and
campylacantha must be correct (in Havardia) under any scenario.
Starr, J. R., S. A. Harris & D. A. Simpson. 2004. Phylogeny of the
unispicate taxa in Cyperaceae tribe Cariceae I: generic relationships and evolutionary
scenarios. Syst. Bot. 29: 528–544.
Analyses of ribosomal DNA internal and external transcribed spacer sequences indicate
that Carex is artificial, with certain androgynous, unispicate spp. grouping
with Uncinia (and a few other genera). This would mean that closed perigynia
must have evolved more than once in the group. A paper in press from the same lab
“will examine the limits and infrageneric classification of Uncinia”
(the inclusion of which in Carex has occasionally been suggested).
Stefanović, S. & R. G. Olmstead. 2004. Testing the phylogenetic
position of a parasitic plant (Cuscuta, Convolvulaceae, Asteridae): Bayesian
inference and the parametric bootstrap on data drawn from three genomes. Syst. Biol. 53:
Lots of fancy talk, but for us it boils down to this: phylogenetic analysis of
several chloroplast, mitochondrial, and nuclear genes places Cuscuta firmly
within Convolvulaceae, with at least two nonparasitic lineages diverging before it.
However, the exact sister-group relationship of Cuscuta could not be recovered,
prompting the authors to remark on “the magnitude of the problem in inferring
phylogenetic relationships of parasitic taxa,” even with “relatively large
amounts of data.”
Struwe, L. & V. A. Albert. 2004. A monograph of neotropical Potalia
Aublet (Gentianaceae: Potalieae). Syst. Bot. 29: 670–701.
The exclusively neotropical genus Potalia, long assigned to Loganiaceae and
treated as monospecific (with only P. amara Aubl.), is lately regarded as a
member in good standing of Gentianaceae now comprising nine spp. (including seven here
described as new). Potalia amara s. str. is restricted to the Guianas and
northeastern Brazil, while Central American material formerly so identified will
henceforth be known as P. turbinata Struwe & V. A. Albert. The latter
sp.—a seldom-seen understory shrub or treelet with large, oblanceolate
leaves—occurs only in lowland forests on the Atlantic slope of Costa Rica and
westernmost Panama. Features exhaustive genus and sp. descriptions, a key to spp.,
summaries of distribution and phenology, notes, representative specimen citations (even
for new spp.!), and superb composite line drawings. The introductory part includes
distribution maps and an account of taxonomic history, while discussions of morphology,
phylogeny, pollination and dispersal, and ethnobotany and phytochemistry are deferred
to the end of the paper.
Tejero-Díez, J. D. & L. Pacheco. 2004. Taxa nuevos, nomenclatura,
redefinición y distribución de las especies relacionadas con
Polypodium colpodes Kunze (Polypodiaceae, Pteridophyta). Acta Bot. Mex. 67:
The sp. group referenced in the title is here taken to embrace five spp., including
two that reach Costa Rica: Polypodium colpodes Kunze and P. flagellare
H. Christ. While neither concept is foreign to us, one of the names is: Polypodium
colpodes, long-forgotten, never-used, and based on a lost holotype, is dusted off,
lectotypified, and trotted out to supplant the relatively recent (but by now
well-entrenched) P. fuscopetiolatum A. R. Sm. for a much-collected sp. that
ranges from northern Mexico to Colombia. Costa Rica is home to the autonymic var. of
P. colpodes, as well as the nearly endemic P. c. var.
oligomeron (H. Christ) Tejero, comb. nov. (based on P. loriceum L.
var. oligomeron H. Christ), otherwise known by a single collection each from
Honduras and Panama; a third var., P. colpodes var. venezuelense
Tejero, var. nov., extends the range of the sp. to Venezuela, French Guiana, and the
Greater Antilles. Standard features of this revision include a combined key to spp.
and vars., full synonymy and typology, generous sp. and var. descriptions,
comprehensive specimen citations, habitat and distribution summaries, often lengthy
discussions, and color(!) photos of herbarium specimens. The single new sp. and
another comb. nov. at the var. level do not concern us.
Walker, J. B., K. J. Sytsma, J. Treutlein & M. Wink. 2004.
Salvia (Lamiaceae) is not monophyletic: implications for the systematics,
radiation, and ecological specializations of Salvia and tribe Mentheae.
Amer. J. Bot. 91: 1115–1125.
The cosmopolitan Salvia, with over 900 spp., is the largest genus in
Lamiaceae, and of course it isn’t monophyletic (was there ever a
doubt?). This preliminary analysis, using the chloroplast DNA regions rbcL
and trnL-F, indicates that the spp. of Salvia s. l. are found in
at least two distinct clades. The clade including the generic type (S.
officinalis L.), as well as numerous other Old World and a handful of New World
spp., is sister to a clade containing the Eurasian genera Perovskia and
Rosmarinus. The second major clade is exclusively New World, comprising
Salvia subgen. Calosphace and sect. Audibertia (a possible
third clade contains only East Asian spp.). The authors discuss various classificatory
options, the most sensible of which (in our view) would result in all but eight of the
ca. 530 New World Salvia spp. being transferred to new genera. Under this
scenario, Audibertia Benth. (virtually restricted to the California Floristic
Province) and Calosphace (Benth.) Raf. (widespread throughout the New World)
would likely each achieve generic rank. We gather that all of the Salvia spp.
occurring naturally in Costa Rica would probably wind up in Calosphace, but can
be certain only of those that were included in this study, viz., S. coccinea
Buc’hoz ex Etl., S. misella Kunth, S. polystachya
Ortega, and S. tiliifolia Vahl. Another option would retain all of these spp.
in Salvia, but require the sinking of Perovskia and Rosmarinus,
and quite possibly other, much more significant genera such as Mentha,
Origanum, and Thymus (all with priority equal to that of
Salvia). Naturally, the authors “believe it is premature to present any
taxonomic rearrangements before [they] have completed sampling across the diversity of
Salvia and related genera.”