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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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

Volume XII, Number 4, October 2005

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

MUNTINGIACEAE. A. Rodríguez (INB). It was pure serendipity that led us to the horrifying, last-minute discovery that Muntingiaceae—alphabetically within the purview of our next-to-be-published Manual volume—had passed completely under our radar, a near-casualty of the inherently plodding rate of flora production in the face of rapidly changing classification schemes. This recently created family [see The Cutting Edge 5(2): 3, Apr. 1998] comprises just three genera, with only Dicraspidia and Muntingia in Costa Rica. The former genus has traditionally ben included in Tiliaceae, the latter in Elaeocarpaceae, Flacourtiaceae, or Tiliaceae; none of these families will be featured in our upcoming Manual volume, though draft treatments have been submitted for all three. Our discovery originated with the belated realization that Muntingia was omitted from the Elaeocarpaceae draft (by Damon A. Smith). Following up on this, we found that it was also absent from the Flacourtiaceae draft (by José González), and that neither genus could not be found in the Tiliaceae draft (by Alexánder Rodríguez). Each of the authors involved was obviously responding to prevailing taxonomic notions, leaving Muntingiaceae as the only reasonable repository for these genera—an option not contemplated in our original family conspectus, produced nearly 20 years ago! Fortunately, Alexánder had been working with these genera and was able to provide, on very short notice, an excellent treatment. All that remains to be said is that Dicraspidia donnell-smithii Standl. and Muntingia calabura L., the only members of their respective genera, are both widespread in the Mesoamerican region (and Muntingia far beyond).

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