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The Cutting Edge
Volume XIII, Number 4, October 2006
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Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature |
Anderson, W. R. 2006.
Eight segregates from the Neotropical genus Mascagnia (Malpighiaceae). Novon 16: 168-204.
The traditional Mascagnia, long suspected by the author to be polyphyletic, has lately been
conclusively demonstrated as such via molecular analyses. The inevitable is here initiated with
the description of eight segregate genera and consequent validation of innumerable new combinations and
a few new spp. Four of the new generic segregates are represented in Costa Rica (each by a single
sp.): Adelphia, Carolus, Christianella, and Niedenzuella.
The spp. involved are: Adelphia hiraea (Gaertn.) W. R. Anderson, long known in Central
America by the synonym Mascagnia hippocrateoides (Triana & Planch.) Nied.; Carolus
sinemariensis (Aubl.) W. R. Anderson; Christianella mesoamericana (W. R. Anderson) W. R.
Anderson; and Niedenzuella stannea (Griseb.) W. R. Anderson. The last three sp. have been
known under the same epithets in Mascagnia. Features a key to all the genera included
under Mascagnia by Niedenzu (in Das Pflanzenreich), formal descriptions and sp. keys
for each genus, and “somewhat incomplete” synonymy and typology (a Web site is referenced
for more complete synonymies). At least one sp. of each genus is illustrated with a superb composite
line drawing. By the way, Mascagnia s. str. also occurs in Costa Rica, in the guise of
M. divaricata (Kunth) Nied., M. vacciniifolia Nied., and an apparently undescribed
-- & C. C. Davis. 2006. Expansion of Diplopterys at the expense of
Banisteriopsis (Malpighiaceae). Harvard Pap. Bot. 11: 1-16.
Barros, F. de. 2005. Notas taxonômicas para espécies brasileiras dos
gêneros Acianthera, Anathallis, Specklinia e Heterotaxis
(Orchidaceae). Hoehnea 32: 421–428.
Unpublished molecular data generated by the authors has revealed that the largely South American
genus Diplopterys is nested within Banisteriopsis subgen. Pleiopterys (Nied.)
B. Gates, in a clade that is “distinct from the one containing the lectotype of
Banisteriopsis.” The authors remedy the polyphyletic status of Banisteriopsis
by transferring all 25 spp. of subgen. Pleiopterys accepted by them to Diplopterys,
and in the bargain provide a description of the new Diplopterys s. l., along with full
synonymy. Two new spp. are also described, bumping the sp. total for Diplopterys up to
31—not bad for a genus formerly regarded as comprising just four spp. (see Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 30:
1–237. 1982). All of this has little impact on us, as just one Diplopterys sp.
is recorded from Costa Rica, on the basis of a single collection, tentatively identified as D.
platyptera (Griseb.) W. R. Anderson & C. Davis. Selected spp. (including the two new ones)
are illustrated with composite line drawings of very high quality.
Two new combinations are validated in this paper, of which one pertains to a sp. ranging to Costa Rica,
treated as Maxillaria valenzuelana (A. Rich.) Nash in the Manual. Too bad Heterotaxis
valenzuelana (A. Rich.) Ojeda & Carnevali was published about two weeks before Barros’s
isonym [see The Cutting Edge 13(1):
10, Jan. 2006].
Bello, M. A., H. Valois-Cuesta & F. González. 2006. Aristolochia
grandiflora Sw. (Aristolochiaceae): desarrollo y morfología de la flor más larga
del mundo. Revista Acad. Colomb. Ci. Exact. 30: 181-194.
This paper embodies sort of a taxonomic revision of Aristolochia grandiflora Sw., inasmuch
as it includes extensive synonymy, a technical species description, an enumeration of vernacular names
and uses, and a comprehensive citation of exsiccatae. Although these authors do not include the
recently published Aristolochia gorgona M. A. Blanco [see
The Cutting Edge 9(3): 4, Jul.
2002] in the formal synonymy of A. grandiflora, they do cite five of its paratypes under
the latter heading. Moreover, they are openly disdainful in their introduction of attempts to
divide A. grandiflora s. l.: “Quizás debido a las dimensiones y cambios
tan conspicuos en la coloración del perianto durante la antesis y post-antesis...la especie ha
sido descrita bajo diversos sinónimos. Aún recientemente, algunos autores piensan
que hay evidencias suficientes para considerar la existencia de un complejo de especies, formado por
A. pichinchensis...y A. gorgona...” How frighteningly simple it is to
cavalierly dismiss painstaking research! It is hard to believe that these authors have even
seen (let alone read) Mario Blanco’s papers on Aristolochia gorgona.
Erkens, R. H. J., P. J. M. Maas, L. W. Chatrou, G. E. Schatz & N. Zamora. 2006.
Seven taxonomic discoveries in Annonaceae from south-eastern Central America. Blumea 51:
Seven new spp. of Annonaceae are described in this paper, each endemic to a particular country:
three to Costa Rica and four to Panama. We are concerned only with the former, all of which are
restricted to the Golfo Dulce region. Guatteria reinaldii Erkens & Maas sp. nov.,
from 100–900 m elevation in Parque Nacional Piedras Blancas and on Cerro Anguciana, most resembles
the virtually sympatric G. pudica N. Zamora & Maas [see
The Cutting Edge 7(3): 9, Jul.
2000], with which it is compared in tabular fashion. The new sp. is smaller than G.
pudica in most of its parts and has leaf-blades with fewer primary lateral veins. Guatteria
rostrata Erkens & Maas sp. nov., known exclusively from the Península de Osa proper at ca.
50–200+ m elevation, is compared (because of its large leaves) with G. amplifolia Triana
& Planch.; however, the new sp. has generally longer petioles and fewer, rostrate mericarps.
Desmopis verrucipes Chatrou, G. E. Schatz & N. Zamora sp. nov., occurring at elevations of
ca. 0–250 m from the Península de Osa to near Golfito, is distinctive by virtue of its
thyrsoid inflorescences typically borne on leafless branches, as well as its verrucose pedicels (whence the
epithet) and large, persistent sepals. Guatteria reinaldii and G. rostrata are
illustrated with photographs of type specimens, while G. rostrata and Desmopsis verrucipes
are depicted in photographs of living material.
N.B.: Because Guatteria reinaldii honors former parataxonomist Reinaldo Aguilar, the
epithet must certainly be corrected to “reinaldoi,” in accordance with IBCN Art.
Hammel, B. E. 2006. Three new species of Marcgraviaceae from Costa Rica, with references
to related species and notes on the generic placement of Schwartzia jimenezii. Lankesteriana 6:
We’re living up to the name of our newsletter here, as this article is hot off the press and just
now available at:
This paper is the first product of the author’s recent tenureship at the Muséum National
d’Histoire Naturelle (P) in Paris [see
The Cutting Edge 13(3): 2, Jul.
2006]. All three new spp.—Marcgravia glandulosomarginata Hammel, Ruyschia
moralesii Hammel, and Schwartzia tarrazuensis Hammel—are already included in the
author’s Manual treatment of Marcgraviaceae (slated for imminent publication) as “sp.
A” of their respective genera. The new Marcgravia is
relatively widespread, ranging from Costa Rica (where it has been found sparingly on both slopes)
to northwestern Colombia. It is most similar to Marcgravia schippii Standl. (of
generally lower elevations), differing in its more numerous leaf glands and pedicels usually lacking
bracteoles. The new Ruyschia and Schwartzia spp. are both Costa Rican endemics,
collected most frequently in the Cantón de Tarrazú, on the Pacific slope of the
northern Cordillera de Talamanca (where the new Marcgravia also occurs). This is an
area that has already yielded a wealth of new spp. and country records, many of which are
enumerated. Ruyschia moralesii is “most probably sister to” the South
American R. andina de Roon, but “must certainly be more closely related to
Schwartzia jimenezii than to any other Costa Rican species now placed in Ruyschia.
” This observation sparks the intriguing yet inconclusive remarks on S.
jimenezii (Standl.) Bedell alluded to in the title, resulting in the speculation “that
further molecular and morphological phylogenetic work in the family is likely to expand the current
concept of Ruyschia.” Schwartzia tarrazuensis is compared to both S.
brenesii (Standl.) Bedell (which has similar nectaries) and S. costaricensis (Gilg) Bedell
(to which it is vegetatively very similar), with important differences emerging in each case.
Illustrated with high quality line drawings by Manual artist Silvia Troyo and photos
of live material by the author.
Kluge, J., M. Kessler & R. R. Dunn. 2006. What drives elevational patterns of
diversity? A test of geometric constraints, climate and species pool effects for pteridophytes
on an elevational gradient in Costa Rica. Global Ecol. Biogeogr. 15: 358-371.
The elevational gradient of the title is, of course, the by now famous “Barva
transect,” on the Atlantic slope of Volcán Barva, along which 156 plots of 20 ×
20 m were set up at 100 m intervals from 100 m to 3400 m. Since Volcán Barva is only
2906 m high, the final 600 m were (with rather questionable rationale) grafted on from a second
transect on the upper slopes of Cerro de La Muerte (with 100 m overlap between the two
“subtransects”). Altogether, 484 pteridophyte spp. were recorded from the two
subtransects, with sp. richness showing “a clear hump-shaped pattern with maximum around 1700 m
and with a steeper decline towards high elevations.” Noting that “mid-elevations
offer highest humidity and moderate temperatures,” the authors consider that their “results
are reconcilable with the hypothesis that temperatures limit richness at high elevations and water
availability limits richness at low elevations.” Because “the predicted peak in
richness from geometric models, the empirical peak in richness and the overlap in favourable
environmental conditions all coincide at middle elevations,” the authors were unable to
discriminate among these competing hypotheses.
Kriebel Haehner, R. 2006. Gesneriáceas de Costa Rica/Gesneriads
of Costa Rica. Edit. INBio, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica. 368 pp.
Former INBio curator and Manual Gesneriaceae contributor Ricardo Kriebel (now a
grad student at SFSU) has reset the bar with one of the handsomest and most professionally executed
titles in the extensive INBio field-guide series. It helps that Gesneriaceae is an uncommonly
photogenic family, well suited to this sort of presentation. Treated formally are 99 spp. (out
of ca. 135 total in Costa Rica), representing 25 genera. The only native genera omitted are
Cremosperma, Reldia, and Sinningia, all rare and/or of very localized
occurrence. The sp. entries are ordered alphabetically, interrupted only by introductory pages
for each genus indicating the total number of spp. (in the world and in Costa Rica), distribution,
diagnostic features, and (usually) information on natural history and etymology. Each sp. entry
features text (description, distribution, phenology, and diagnosis) accompanied by one or more color
photographs. The latter, mostly by the author, are almost without exception vividly realistic
and wonderfully reproduced. These may well be the first published photos for some spp.
Users will be able to instantly identify many spp. from the photographs alone. For good measure,
dichotomous (though non-indented) keys to genera and spp. are included near the end of the volume,
followed by a glossary. The well-illustrated introductory part, informed by the author’s
intimate field knowledge of the family, addresses cultivation, medicinal uses, classification,
natural history (in considerable detail), and morphology. An “Annex” lists all the
Gesneriaceae spp. recorded from Costa Rica, plus the 19 spp. endemic to the country, as well as sp.
totals for numerous national parks and conservation areas (of the former, Parque Nacional Braulio
Carrillo, with 55 gesneriad spp., reigns supreme). Incidentally, none of the genus-level
taxonomic changes suggested by recent molecular studies is formally adopted in this work (presumably
due to time constraints), although the imminent fragmentation of Alloplectus is alluded to;
Capanea and Koellikeria remain intact.
Although it has become a cliché, we are confident that this splendid publication will prove
every bit as indispensable to professional plant taxonomists as to ecotourists and horticulturists.
Fully bilingual (Spanish/English).
-- . 2006. A widespread new species in the Neotropical berry-fruited genus Clidemia
and range extension of Ossaea quadrisulca (Melastomataceae: Miconieae). Proc. Calif.
Acad. Sci. 57: 587-593.
Clidemia almedae Kriebel enters the world already ranging from Costa Rica to Ecuador, where
it has been long confused with C. discolor (Triana) Cogn., C. ostrina Gleason, and
other related spp. The new sp. differs from all the rest in this group in its inflorescence
architecture, featuring glomerules of sessile flowers borne on bracteate peduncles. In Costa Rica,
C. almedae occurs at ca. 300–900 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of the Cordilleras
Central and de Talamanca. The range extension for Ossaea quadrisulca (Naudin) Wurdack
was previously reported in these pages
[see The Cutting Edge 11(1): 2,
Jan. 2004]. Clidemia almedae is handsomely depicted in a composite line drawing
and color photographs.
Luer, C. A. 2006. A reconsideration of Masdevallia (Orchidaceae). Monogr.
Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 105: 1-20.
On the basis of “marked morphological differences among some of the subgenera,” the
venerable Masdevallia is shattered into at least 19 smaller genera, 16 of which are here
validated as new. “Recent DNA analyses” are barely mentioned, and no cladogram is
reproduced. This effort follows closely on the heels of the author’s similar treatment of
The Cutting Edge 11(3): 10–11, Jul. 2004]. In an attempt to pacify horticulturists
and others who might be upset by these sweeping name changes, the author indicates that “the
majority of species remain in the sections of Masdevallia.” While this may well
be true over the entire geographic range of the group, it does not hold for Costa Rica. Indeed,
according to this new system, not a single one of the 31 spp. treated under the name Masdevallia
in the Manual will remain in Masdevallia s. str.; instead, they will be apportioned among eight
of the splinter genera, as follows: Acinopetala Luer, with Masdevallia attenuata
Rchb. f., M. chontalensis Rchb. f., M. flaveola Rchb. f., M. floribunda Lindl.,
M. laucheana J. Fraser, M. livingstoneana Roezl ex Rchb. f., M.
scabrilinguis Luer, M. schizopetala Kraenzl., and M. tubuliflora Ames;
Alaticaulia Luer, with M. lata Rchb. f.; Buccella Luer, with M.
molossoides Kraenzl. and M. nidifica Rchb. f.; Diodonopsis Pridgeon & M. W.
Chase, with M. erinacea Rchb. f. and M. pygmaea Kraenzl.; Fissia (Luer) Luer,
with M. picturata Rchb. f.; Spilotantha Luer, with M. rafaeliana Luer;
Zahleria Luer, with M. zahlbruckneri Kraenzl.; and Reichantha Luer, with
all the rest. Includes a dichotomous (though non-indented) key to genera and an index to scientific
names. All the necessary new combinations at sp. rank are validated in the name of the author.
-- . 2006. Systematics of Specklinia Lindl. and vegetatively similar genera
(Orchidaceae). Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 105: 21-244.
Not long ago, the author split Pleurothallis into at least 27 smaller genera, including
Specklinia; however, in doing so, he characterized the latter genus as “already
The Cutting Edge 11(3): 10–11, Jul. 2004]. This revision embraces a total of 24
genera (by our count), responding to the allegation of polyphyly in Specklinia with the
creation of 10 new splinter genera. However, the author speculates that “some species
presently assigned to the newly proposed genera will, no doubt, be reassigned to other, or even new
genera, when DNA analyses of all the individual species are completed.” That said, of the
152+ Pleurothallis spp. treated or informally attributed to Costa Rica in the Manual, 45 are
here assigned (for whatever it may be worth) to 11 smaller genera, as follows: Gerardoa
Luer (named for renowned collector Gerardo Herrera), with Pleurothallis
montezumae Luer; Lomax Luer, with P. minor (Rendle) L. O. Williams;
Muscarella (Luer) Luer, with P. aristata Hook., P. herpestes Luer, P.
quinqueseta Ames, P. samacensis Ames, P. setosa C. Schweinf., and P.
strumosa Ames; Pabstiella Brieger & Senghas, with Pleurothallis tripterantha
Rchb. f.; Panmorphia Luer, with Pleurothallis abbreviata Schltr., P. barbulata
Lindl., P. casualis Ames, P. cuspidata Luer, P. endresii Luer, P.
fractiflexa Ames & C. Schweinf., P. grayumii Luer, P. lewisiae Ames, and
P. sertularioides (Sw.) Spreng.; Phloeophila Hoehne & Schltr., with Pleurothallis
peperomioides Ames; Ronaldella Luer, with P. aryter Luer; Sarcinula Luer,
with P. acicularis Ames, P. acrisepala Ames & C. Schweinf., P. barbae
Schltr., P. brighamii S. Watson, P. chontalensis A. H. Heller & A. D. Hawkes,
P. condylata Luer, P. corniculata (Sw.) Lindl., P. fulgens Rchb. f.,
P. glandulosa Ames, P. guanacastensis Ames & C. Schweinf., P. psichion
Luer, and P. simmleriana Rendle; Specklinia s. str., with P. calyptrostele
Schltr., P. costaricensis Rolfe, P. grobyi Bateman ex Lindl., P.
lanceola (Sw.) Spreng., P. luis-diegoi Luer, P. microphylla A. Rich. &
Galeotti, P. minuta Ames & C. Schweinf., P. picta Lindl., P. recula Luer,
and P. segregatifolia Ames & C. Schweinf.; Sylphia Luer, with P.
turrialbae Luer; and Tribulago Luer, with P. blancoi Pupulin and P.
tribuloides (Sw.) Lindl. Three spp. not mentioned in the Manual are also attributed to
Costa Rica, all under the genus name Panmorphia: Pleurothallis haberi Luer,
described after Manual Vol. 3 went to press [see
The Cutting Edge 10(1):
7–8, Jan. 2003]; and P. caudatipetala C. Schweinf. and P. minutalis
Lindl., both new country records (the former from South America, the latter from northern
Mesoamerica). Most of the spp. enumerated above were classified in Specklinia s. l.
by both Luer (in his initial fragmentation of Pleurothallis s. l.) and Pridgeon and Chase
[see The Cutting Edge 9(1):
9–10, Jan. 2002]. However, the latter authors included Pleurothallis aryter
in Pabstiella (their “Anthereon”) and most of the Panmorphia
spp. in Anathallis (the fate of which we are ignorant), while accepting Phloeophila
as distinct. All the necessary new combinations in the present paper are validated by Luer, as
well as at least one unnecessary one, Pabstiella tripterantha, already published by F. Barros
[see The Cutting Edge 9(3): 4,
Jul. 2002]. Five spp. are described as new, though none of these concerns us.
This is a standard revision, featuring an artificial, master key to spp. (but no key to genera),
synonymy, typology, and detailed descriptions at all levels, generally comprehensive specimen
citations, insightful discussions, and an index to scientific names. Every sp. is illustrated
with a composite line drawing. We learn many biogeographic details from the specimen citations,
but will mention only those bearing on endemism. Four spp. qualified as Costa Rican endemics in
the Manual now lose that status, at least provisionally: Pleurothallis barbae (here
reported from western Panama), P. peperomioides (from Belize and Honduras), P.
psichion (somewhat dubiously from Venezuela, based on a cultivated specimen), and P.
strumosa (from Guatemala). However, we gain one endemic in Pleurothallis minuta,
which mysteriously is no longer attributed to the “Antillas,” as in the Manual.
-- . 2006. Miscellaneous new taxa in the Pleurothallidinae (Orchidaceae). Monogr.
Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 105: 245-259.
Of the 33 new names and combinations here validated (at both genus and sp. rank), just two interest
us: the new genus Loddigesia Luer, and its sole sp., L. quadrifida (Lex.) Luer
comb. nov. The taxon to which the last-mentioned binomial is applied was treated as
Pleurothallis quadrifida (Lex.) Lindl. in the Manual, and included in Anathallis
(at least by implication) in the system of Pridgeon and Chase [see
The Cutting Edge 9(1):
9–10, Jan. 2002]. Unfortunately, it appears that the proposed new genus name is long
preoccupied by Loddigesia Sims (1806), a synonym of Hypocalyptus Thunb.
(Fabaceae/Faboideae), so it’s back to the drawing board on this one.
Morales, J. F. 2006. Estudios en las Apocynaceae neotropicales XXVI: una
monografía del género Mesechites (Apocynoideae, Mesechiteae). Candollea
Mesechites is an exclusively neotropical genus, with eight spp. accepted in this revision,
equally apportioned in two sections. Mesechites trifidus (Jacq.) Müll. Arg., ranging
from southern Mexico to Argentina, is the most widely distributed sp. in the genus, and the only one
occurring in Costa Rica (thus there is nothing new here for us). Features detailed genus and sp.
descriptions, a key to sections and nested keys to spp., full synonymy and typology, distribution
summaries, lengthy discussions, exhaustive specimen citations, a section on excluded names, and
indices to scientific and common names and exsiccatae. All spp. are illustrated with excellent
composite line drawings, and several also by photographs. The introductory part focuses on
taxonomic history, morphological features, and intergeneric relationships.
-- & E. Alfaro. 2006. Clethra formosa (Clethraceae), una nueva especie
de Costa Rica. Anales Jard. Bot. Madrid 63: 35-39.
The new sp. is a Costa Rican endemic, restricted to the Cordilleras Central and de Talamanca at
elevations of 2000–3400 m. Specimens of Clethra formosa E. Alfaro & J. F.
Morales have been misdetermined most frequently as C. pyrogena Sleumer (which also occurs in
Costa Rica) and C. suaveolens Turcz. (here restricted to northern Mesoamerica), with both
of which the new sp. is compared. (Clethra suaveolens was included in the first
author’s latest Manual draft treatment of Clethraceae, but the cited voucher is not among the
paratypes of C. formosa.) Includes a distribution map and photos of herbarium
Palacios, R. A. 2006. Los mezquites mexicanos: biodiversidad y
distribución geográfica. Bol. Soc. Argent. Bot. 41: 99-121.
This is a synoptic treatment of the 11 Mexican spp. of Prosopis (Fabaceae/Mimosoideae),
featuring brief genus and sp. descriptions, a key to spp., synonymy and partial typology, specimen
citations (mainly Mexican), and composite line drawings. Prosopis juliflora (Sw.) DC.,
the name that has been used for the sole Costa Rican representative of the genus, is here restricted to
a sp. that apparently occurs only in Jamaica, the Yucatán Peninsula, and Caribbean coastal
regions of Colombia and Venezuela. Material from the Pacific coast of Mesoamerica (Mexico to
Panama) is segregated under the obscure name Prosopis vidaliana Náves, based on plants
cultivated in the Philippines in the 19th century from American seed. The two spp. allegedly
differ in leaf architecture, leaflet dimensions, and fruit coloration and morphology. Three new
spp. are described, none pertaining to Costa Rica. Taxonomic history is addressed in the
Provance, M. C. & A. C. Sanders. 2006. More American black sapotes: new
Diospyros (Ebenaceae) for Mexico and Central America. Sida 22: 277-304.
This may best be described as a treatment of two Mexican spp., Diospyros conzattii
Standl. and D. riojae Gómez Pompa, including all the specimens from throughout
the Mesoamerican region that have been identified by those names. The result is that five
spp. are treated formally, with three validated as new. One of the latter is a Costa Rican
endemic, Diospyros costaricensis Provance & A. C. Sanders, recorded only from the
Pacific slope of the Cordilleras de Guanacaste and de Tilarán at ca. 600–1200 m
elevation. In our databases, and in the Manual draft of Ebenaceae by José
González, this sp. has gone by the name D. conzattii, from which it
differs in its much greater height (to 35 m, vs. to just 10 m) and details of leaf pubescence and
venation. We are left with the feeling that these authors are hell-bent to maintain D.
conzattii as a Mexican endemic. There is no key, but all three new spp. are illustrated
with rather basic composite line drawings.
Pupulin, F. 2006. Encyclia ossenbachiana (Orchidaceae: Laeliinae), a new
species from Costa Rica. Selbyana 27: 4-7.
Encyclia ossenbachiana Pupulin is most similar to E. mooreana (Rolfe) Schltr.,
from which it differs in coloration and morphology of the perianth members. The new sp. is
known from just two cultivated specimens, said to have been orginally collected at 1900–2100 m
elevation in the Cordillera Central (one from near the Continental Divide east of Zarcero, the other
from the Atlantic slope northeast of Cartago). Illustrated with a superlative composite line
drawing. Our running total of new orchid spp. described from Costa Rica since the appearance
of our first issue now stands at 241.
Reid, J. D., G. M. Plunkett & G. A. Peters. 2006. Phylogenetic relationships in
the heterosporous fern genus Azolla (Azollaceae) based on DNA sequence data from three
noncoding regions. Int. J. Pl. Sci. 167: 529-538.
The phylogenetic implications of this paper are of some interest to us, but we are more curious
about the authors’ taxonomy. Although they cite the recent revision of Evrard and Van Hove
[see The Cutting Edge 12(2):
5, Apr. 2005], it is not clear whether they actually accept the major conclusions of that paper.
For example, the name Azolla mexicana C. Presl is here used for an accepted sp. (probably
occurring in Costa Rica), despite the fact that Evrard and Van Hove considered it a synonym of A.
cristata Kaulf.—a name not used at all in the present paper. Azolla
caroliniana Willd., A. filiculoides Lam., and A. microphylla Kaulf. (at least
one of which may occur in Costa Rica) all emerge as distinct spp. in these analyses, though they
were united by Evrard and Van Hove (under the name A. filiculoides). One wonders how the
pertinent material was determined a priori for this study.
Rijckevorsel, P. van. 2006. Acacia: what did happen at Vienna?
Anales Jard. Bot. Madrid 63: 107-110.
This is an interesting analysis, from a well-informed, historical perspective, of how the
Nomenclatural Section at the Vienna Botanical Congress secured conservation of Acacia with
a conserved type, despite a 55% vote against said proposal. The author contends that this
was accomplished by converting the standard requirement for a 60% majority to accept such a proposal
into a 60% majority to reject. He adduces five strong reasons why this should not have been
allowed, and points out that, in any case, votes of less than 60% generally result in an
Rodríguez, A. & J. F. Morales. 2006. El género Gonocalyx
(Ericaceae) en Costa Rica, con una nueva especie. Novon 16: 263-266.
The small, neotropical genus Gonocalyx is represented in Costa Rica by five spp. (out of
just eight altogether), all occurring in montane habitats above 1000 m elevation. This synoptic
treatment features a dichotomous (but non-indented) key to spp., full synonymy and typology,
distribution and phenology summaries, and brief discussions. Descriptions are omitted except for
the new sp., Gonocalyx lilliae Al. Rodr. & J. F. Morales, a Costa Rican endemic restricted
to the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca at 1600–2000 m elevation. The new sp.
(which alone is illustrated with a composite line drawing) is most similar to Gonocalyx
costaricensis Luteyn, from which it differs in its pubescent leaves, flowers, and fruits, conspicuous
inflorescence bracts, and connate stamen filaments. This treatment differs in no substantial way
from that presented in the Ericaceae draft submitted to the Manual
[see The Cutting Edge 11(2): 2,
Apr. 2004], although the spelling of the new sp. epithet has been changed slightly (from “
liliae”); considering that the honoree is named “Lilly,” we expect that the
spelling will have to be corrected yet again (to “lillyae”) to meet the requirements
of ICBN Art. 60.11.
Rojas-Alvarado, A. F. 2006. A new species, Trichomanes trichopodium, related to
T. crinitum (Hymenophyllaceae). Selbyana 27: 25-29.
Ten years ago, the author was able to discriminate two distinct spp. passing under the name
Trichomanes crinitum Sw. in Costa Rica (Brenesia 45-46: 1–6. 1996). One
of these two spp. was identified as Trichomanes delicatum Bosch and heralded as a new country
record, while the other remained in T. crinitum. Now, if we understand correctly, the
author has decided that the sp. he had called T. delicatum is the real T. crinitum
(so we lose T. delicatum from the flora), while the other sp. (the one he had originally called
T. crinitum) is new to science. Here the latter is described as Trichomanes
trichopodium A. Rojas and distinguished from T. crinitum by virtue of its distally winged
(vs. unwinged) petioles, fully winged (vs. distally winged) leaf rachis, crenate to lobulate (vs.
pinnatifid) pinnae, and narrower, unexpanded involucres with glabrous (vs. pilose) margins.
Curiously, there is no comparison with T. delicatum, and we do not learn why that sp. was
eliminated from contention. The new sp. is virtually endemic to Costa Rica (with just one
Panamanian collection cited), where it occurs at elevations of (1000–)1400–2000 m on the
Atlantic slopes of the Cordilleras de Tilarán, Central, and de Talamanca. Includes photos
of herbarium material of both T. crinitum and T. trichopodium.
Rolleri, C. H. & C. Prada. 2006. Catálogo comentado de las especies de
Blechnum L. (Blechnaceae, Pteridophyta) de Mesoamérica y Sudamérica.
Anales Jard. Bot. Madrid 63: 67-106.
This work accounts for all accepted spp. (83), subspp. (1), vars. (8), and hybrids of
Blechnum in the region indicated in the title, based on standard revisions and other
sources. Synonyms are listed under each accepted taxon (including the genus), with bibliographic
details and (where possible) typology indicated for every name. The introductory pages include
brief discussions of distribution, morphology, taxonomic history, infrageneric classification,
cytology, and hybridization.
Romero Rangel, S. 2006. Revisión taxonómica del complejo
Acutifoliae de Quercus (Fagaceae) con énfasis en su representación
en México. Acta Bot. Mex. 76: 1-45.
Quercus ser. Acutifoliae Trel. ranges from the southeastern United States
to Costa Rica, with ten spp. recorded from Mexico and here treated formally. Two of these
spp. are attributed to Costa Rica, including Quercus brenesii Trel., vouchered also from
southern Mexico (Veracruz) and Nicaragua. We had originally learned Q. brenesii as a
putatively endemic Costa Rican spp., with some dubious Nicaraguan records. Later, in
Dennis Breedlove’s (2001) Flora de Nicaragua treatment, the name
Quercus brenesii was synonymized under Q. cortesii Liebm., said to range from
Mexico to Panama; this same view was adopted in Francisco Morales’s Manual
draft of Fagaceae [see
The Cutting Edge 8(2): 2, Apr. 2001]. However, the present author accepts Quercus
brenesii and Q. cortesii as distinct spp., with both occurring in Costa Rica (the
latter ranging more or less continuously from southern Mexico to Panama). The two spp. are
distinguished by details of leaf dentition, pubescence, and venation. Because just one
Costa Rican specimen is cited for each sp., we are scarcely able to evaluate the alleged
morphological differences, and learn virtually nothing about in-country distributions.
Features a dichotomous key to spp., full synonymy and typology, detailed sp. descriptions,
distribution summaries, token specimen citations, and drawings of specimens. The
introduction is concerned mainly with taxonomic history.
Smith, A. R., K. M. Pryer, E. Schuettpelz, P. Korall, H. Schneider & P. G. Wolf. 2006.
A classification for extant ferns. Taxon 55: 705-731.
This new classification, incorporating both molecular and morphological data, accepts four
classes, 11 orders, and 37 families; genera are not formally treated, but are accounted for in an
extremely useful appendix (Appendix 5) that indicates synonymy (thus providing intriguing insights
into the authors’ generic concepts) and familial disposition. “Ferns”
comprise a monophyletic group consisting of the classes Psilotopsida, Equisetopsida, Marattiopsida,
and Polypodiopsida (the last accounting for the vast majority of spp.). Lycopodiopsida
(Isoëtaceae, Lycopodiaceae, and Selaginellaceae) are extraneous and not dealt with here.
We are interested mainly in the family concepts, and are pleased to see that they do not differ
drastically from those employed for Flora mesoamericana Vol. 1 (1995). Here are
some notable departures: Schizaeaceae is now broken in three mono- or digeneric families,
Anemiaceae, Lygodiaceae, and Schizaeaceae s. str.; the authors’ own cladogram reveals no
phylogenetic obstacles to the traditional system, so we do not comprehend this change (nor is it
explained.). Culcita is removed from Cyatheaceae to its own family, Culcitaceae
(shown on the cladogram in a sister-group relationship with Plagiogyriaceae). At the same
time we lose a monogeneric family, Lophosoriaceae, as Lophosoria is inserted in
Dicksoniaceae. Dennstaedtiaceae decays into three smaller families, losing Lindsaea,
Lonchitis, Odontosoria, and Ormoloma (to Lindsaeaceae) as well as
Saccoloma (to the monogeneric Saccolomataceae). The small family Vittariaceae is
absorbed into Pteridaceae. Dryopteridaceae fattens up on Bolbitis and
Elaphoglossum (including Peltapteris), both coming over from Lomariopsidaceae,
as well as Ctenitis, Lastreopsis, and Megalastrum, all at the expense
of Tectariaceae. Davalliaceae crumbles to release both Nephrolepis (to Lomariopsidaceae) and Oleandra (to the monogeneric Oleandraceae); Lomariopsidaceae also
picks up Cyclopeltis (from Tectariaceae). Finally, Grammitidaceae is mercifully sunk
Among the changes (vis-à-vis Flora mesoamericana and more recent innovations) at
the generic level, we note the following (referring mainly to Appendix 5): Thelypteris
is now divided into two major genera, with Thelypteris s. str. comprising only subgen.
Amauropelta (Kunze) A. R. Sm. (at least in our region); all the remaining subgenera are
referred to the genus Cyclosorus. The following genera are newly (or once again)
accepted: Ananthacorus (from Vittaria), Gleichenella (from
Dicranopteris), Goniophlebium (from Polypodium), Hymenasplenium
(from Asplenium), Polytaenium and Scoliosorus (both from
Antrophyum), and Radiovittaria (from Vittaria). Freshly lumped
are: Callipteris (back into Diplazium), Cheiroglossa (into
Ophioglossum), Cnemidaria (into Cyathea), Costaricia (into
Dennstaedtia), Peltapteris (into Elaphoglossum), Pseudocolysis
(into Pleopeltis), Schaffneria (into Asplenium), and Solanopteris
(into Microgramma). The authors point out that some genera segregated from
Grammitis s. l. are polyphyletic, e.g., Grammitis s. str., Micropolypodium,
and Terpsichore, but these are all retained in Appendix 5. The four other appendices
account for all the familial, subordinal, ordinal, and supra-ordinal names that have been applied to
We consider this to be the best fern classification available at this point in time, and intend
to adopt it for all of our nefarious purposes.
Tank, D. C., P. M. Beardsley, S. A. Kelchner & R. G. Olmstead. 2006. Review of
the systematics of Scrophulariaceae s. l. and their current disposition. Austral. Syst. Bot.
As we all know, Scrophulariaceae in the sense we once knew it has been rent asunder.
According to this cutting-edge overview, of the genera occurring in Costa Rica that have traditionally
been assigned to this family, only Alonsoa, Capraria, and Limosella (an odd
assortment indeed) remain. To these must be added Buddleja. The rest are shunted
to at least five segregate families, viz., Calceolariaceae (with only Calceolaria in Costa
Rica), Linderniaceae (Lindernia, Micranthemum, Torenia), Orobanchaceae
(Agalinis, Alectra, Buchnera, Castilleja, Conopholis,
Lamourouxia, Orobanche), Phrymaceae (Hemichaena and Leucocarpus),
and Plantaginaceae (which these authors persist in calling Veronicaceae). The last-mentioned
family includes (in Costa Rica) Angelonia, Bacopa, Callitriche,
Cymbalaria and Digitalis (both naturalized), Lophospermum,
Maurandya (cultivated), Mecardonia, Plantago, Rhodochiton
(cultivated), Russelia, Scoparia, Sibthorpia, Stemodia,
Tetranema, and Veronica. Included in Plantaginaceae is tribe Gratioleae,
on the basis of new information debunking a recent motion to accord that taxon familial status
[see The Cutting Edge 12(2):
13, Apr. 2005]. It now appears that Mazus (adventive in Costa Rica), which had
seemingly grouped with Phrymaceae, belongs to a separate lineage of unresolved affinity.
Finally, Schlegelia and (by association) Gibsoniothamnus are provisionally
maintained apart, in Schlegeliaceae.
We are most amazed by the authors’ summary cladogram for the order Lamiales (their Fig. 1),
in which “only those relationships that are well supported by multiple studies are depicted
as resolved.” Here it is revealed that, after so much hoopla, very few relationships
have been resolved! This is what we can presently bank on: among those groups traditionally
included in Scrophulariaceae, both Calceolariaceae and Plantaginaceae clearly stand apart; but while
the latter would appear to merit family status, Calceolariaceae is sister to Gesneriaceae, and could
conceivably be lumped therewith. The rest of traditional Scrophulariaceae fall into two
groups: one containing Orobanchaceae, Phrymaceae, and Mazus, the other Linderniaceae,
Scrophulariaceae s. str., and Schlegelia (along with Acanthaceae, Bignoniaceae,
Lentibulariaceae, Martyniaceae, Pedaliaceae, Verbenaceae, and other taxa). However, no
relationships are resolved within either of these two main groups. Because classification
depends not only upon the resolution of monophyletic groups, but also upon the elucidation of the
relationships among these groups, we can see no point in tampering with the integrity of
Scrophulariaceae s. l. at this stage of the game. Much has been accomplished, but much still
needs to be done.
Trusty, J. & M. A. Blanco. 2005. Las orquídeas de la Isla del Coco. Epidendrum 27: 10-15.
According to coauthor and Manual correspondent Mario Blanco (FLAS), who copied us
on this article, Epidendrum was a non-technical bulletin (now apparently discontinued), aimed
at orchid aficionados, published by the Jardín Botánico Lankester. We had been
unaware of it until now. If this paper is any indication, Epidendrum was a handsome
publication, with pleasing page design and plenty of color photos. That is what we get in this
spinoff from the following contribution: vivid color photos of four of the five spp. of
Orchidaceae recorded from Isla del Coco, including two (of the three) endemics, photos of which may
never have previously been published. Otherwise, however, there are few concessions to the
amateur readership in this paper; indeed, it has all the hallmarks of a formal floristic treatment,
including technical descriptions, exsiccatae citations, and even (for Epidendrum insulanum
Schltr.) a lectotypification.
--, H. C. Kesler & G. Haug Delgado. 2006. Vascular flora of Isla del Coco,
Costa Rica. Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. 57: 247-355.
This is by far the most rigorous and comprehensive account of the flora of Isla del Coco yet
produced. The most recent prior effort (1966) was nothing more than an unvouchered checklist.
Here, every specimen studied by the authors (all with considerable first-hand experience on the island)
is cited; furthermore, we get keys to families (separated by pteridophytes and spermatophytes), keys to
spp. for each family, detailed descriptions (only of the endemic taxa), composite line drawings (of
selected endemic taxa), a list of doubtful spp., and an index to exsiccatae. That said, the
vascular flora of Isla del Coco is quite small, with just 263 spp. recorded to date (representing an
addition of 51 spp. to the 1966 list); 71 spp. (27% of the total) are believed to have been introduced
by humans, “a remarkably low figure,” say the authors, “in comparison with other
island systems in the Pacific”. Endemic taxa (33 spp. and four vars.) account for 24% of
the native flora, a rate that is “relatively low when compared to other islands or archipelagos
in the Pacific.” Isla del Coco is most noteworthy for its pteridophyte flora: ferns
comprise 42% of the native vascular plants on the island, or 30% of the total flora (as compared to
just 9% of the vascular flora of Costa Rica as a whole). Furthermore, 50% of all the endemic spp.
on Isla del Coco are ferns, a figure not approached (according to these authors) on any other oceanic
island. The fairly long introductory section—well-researched, well-written, and absorbing—
covers such topics as geology, climate, vegetation (seven major types are characterized), human
impacts, history of botanical exploration, and biogeography (with an assessment of the relative
importance of various modes of dispersal). Unfortunately, no phenological data are presented
anywhere in this work.
A few items of taxonomic interest caught our eyes. The only two Miconia spp.
occurring on Isla del Coco, both endemic, are provisionally designated as “sp. A” and
“sp. B,” with official validation of their Latin names said to be pending by Frank
Almeda (CAS) and Ricardo Kriebel (SFSU)—the main contributors of the
Manual Melastomataceae treatment. This is news to us! Also, Ardisia cuspidata
Benth. (Myrsinaceae) is accepted as a good sp., endemic to Isla del Coco, although it has always been
regarded as a synonym of the widespread and variable A. compressa Kunth (and is so treated
in Francisco Morales’s Manual draft of Myrsinaceae).
We noted, inevitably, a few errors. Most significantly, Bertiera angustifolia Benth.
(Rubiaceae), claimed as an Isla del Coco endemic, is in fact widely distributed on the mainland from Costa
Rica to Perú (though the type was collected on Isla del Coco). Also, the authors apparently
overlooked the name Hypolytrum amplissimum W. V. Alves & W. W. Thomas (Cyperaceae) which,
though synonymized under H. amplum Poepp. & Kunth in the Manual, might defensibly have
been promoted as an additional island endemic.