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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XIII, Number 4, October 2006

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

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 sp.

-- & C. C. Davis.  2006. Expansion of Diplopterys at the expense of Banisteriopsis (Malpighiaceae).  Harvard Pap. Bot. 11: 1-16.

Unpublished molecular data generated by the authors has revealed that the largely South American genus Diplopterys is nested within Banisteriopsis subgen.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.

Barros, F. de.  2005. Notas taxonômicas para espécies brasileiras dos gêneros Acianthera, Anathallis, Specklinia e Heterotaxis (Orchidaceae).  Hoehnea 32: 421–428.

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: 199-220.

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. 60.11.

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: 73-81.

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 Pleurothallis [see 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 polyphyletic” [see 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 PanmorphiaPleurothallis 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 61: 215-277.

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 material.

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 introduction.

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 “unresolved” verdict.

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 PteridaceaeDryopteridaceae 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 into Polypodiaceae.

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 extant ferns.

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. 19: 289-307.

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.


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