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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XV, Number 4, October 2008

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

Borg, A. J., L. A. McDade & J. Schönenberger.  2008. Molecular phylogenetics and morphological evaluation of Thunbergioideae (Acanthaceae).  Taxon 57: 811–822.

The oligotypic mangrove genus Avicennia, formerly referred either to Verbenaceae or its own family, falls consistently within Acanthaceae, in a sister-group relationship with subfam. Thunbergioideae.

Brooker, M. I. H. & A. E. Orchard.  2008. (1844) Proposal to conserve the name Eucalyptus camaldulensis (Myrtaceae) with a conserved type.  Taxon 57: 1002–1004.

Rejection of this proposal would require that the name Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh. be replaced by the long-neglected E. acuminata Hook., for an Australian sp. that is sparingly cultivated in Costa Rica.  Considering that the Australians had their way with Acacia, this one should be a slam-dunk.

Carrillo-Reyes, P., V. Sosa & M. E. Mort.  2008. Thompsonella and the “Echeveria group” (Crassulaceae):  phylogenetic relationships based on molecular and morphological characters.  Taxon 57: 863–874.

Echeveria (which occurs naturally in Costa Rica) and Sedum (which may) both appear to be paraphyletic.  However, “further sampling” is needed to resolve these relationships.

Chiapella, J.  2008. On Jarava, or putting the cart before the horse.  Taxon 57: 695–697.

The author contends that the segregation of Jarava from Stipa (Poaceae), recently proposed on the basis of mainly morphological evidence [see The Cutting Edge 10(2): 11, Apr. 2003], was premature and irresponsible (our words, but we believe we get his drift).

Christensen, E. A.  2008. Ornithocephalus dolabratus et son synonyme O. aristatus.  Richardiana 8: 138–139.

Ornithocephalus aristatus Pupulin & Dressler (2006), recently described from Panama, is alleged to be a synonym of O. dolabratus Rchb. f. (Orchidaceae), based on an Ecuadorian collection.  We mention this only because the type locality of O. aristatus (at 800 m elevation in Prov. Bocas del Toro) suggests that this taxon (whatever its correct name) is likely to turn up in Costa Rica.  In French.

Croat, T. B., L. Brossart & C. V. Kostelac.  2008. A revision of the 3-segmented species of Anthurium sect. Dactylophyllium (Araceae).  Aroideana 31: 57–84.

The group alluded to in the title (with palmately trifoliolate leaf-blades) is mainly South American, with only one of its nine spp. extending as far north as Costa Rica.  That would be Anthurium trisectum Sodiro, already well known to us.  Features a dichotomous, indented key to spp., full synonymy and typology, generous sp. descriptions, distribution summaries, exhaustive citations of exsiccatae, and numerous photos of living material.

Enke, N. & B. Gemeinholzer.  2008. Babcock revisited:  new insights into generic delimitation and character evolution in Crepis L. (Compositae: Cichorieae) from ITS and matK sequence data.  Taxon 57: 756–768.

The moderately large, mainly north-temperate genus Crepis would appear to be triphyletic; however, safely sequestered in Crepis s. str. is the European native C. capillaris (L.) Wallr., adventive in Costa Rica and the only sp. of the genus that we definitely know to occur there.

Erkens, R. H. J. & P. Baas.  2008. Utrecht:  rise and fall of a great herbarium.  Taxon 57: 1019–1031.

Read it and weep:  the history and obituary of one of Europe’s leading herbaria, abruptly shuttered and now in limbo.

Feuillet, C.  2008. Folia taxonomica 4.  Conspectus of Myriopus (Heliotropiaceae: Boraginales) in the Guiana Shield.  J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 2: 263–265.

Following up on a molecular study (by other authors) showing Tournefortia to be polyphyletic [see The Cutting Edge 9(2): 4, Apr. 2002], the present author validates four new combinations in the splinter genus Myriopus (corresponding to the former Tournefortia sect. Cyphocyema I. M. Johnst.) for taxa occurring in the Guianas.  One of these, Myriopus maculatus (Jacq.) Feuillet, is also a member of the Costa Rican flora, together with M. volubilis (L.) Small.  Includes indented, dichotomous keys separating Heliotropium, Myriopus, and Tournefortia, as well as the Guianan spp. of Myriopus.

Giudice, G. E., M. L. Luna, C. Carrión & E. R. de la Sota.  2008. Revision of the genus Salpichlaena J. Sm. (Blechnaceae, Pteridophyta).  Amer. Fern J. 98: 49–60.

Well, according to these authors, this neotropical genus of climbing ferns consists of just two spp.:  the South American Salpichlaena hookeriana (Kuntze) Alston and the widespread S. volubilis (Kaulf.) J. Sm.  Scuttled as a synonym of the latter resides our S. thalassica Grayum & R. C. Moran, embraced as distinct by most who have seen it in the field in Costa Rica.  We’ve heard this all before [see The Cutting Edge 9(1): 8, Jan. 2002], and remain staunchly unsympathetic to the interpretations of workers with no first-hand knowledge of the plants in situ.  Includes synonymy and typology, technical genus and sp. descriptions, a key to spp., specimen citations, and a distribution map.  The two accepted spp. are depicted in composite, (mostly) photographic plates, each featuring a herbarium specimen and various finer details.

Hunt, D.  2008. Distribution records for Mammillaria columbiana.  Cactaceae Syst. Init. 24: 28–32.

So now it has come full circle:  us, reporting on him, reporting on us!  The cat is now out of the bag with respect to our recent discovery of the genus Mammillaria (Cactaceae) in Costa Rica, here communicated directly to cactophiles on the basis of our initial report in these pages [see The Cutting Edge 14(1): 1, 3, Jan. 2007].  Several of the photos presented in our “Season’s Pick” feature for that issue are reproduced here, in living color, courtesy of photographer and Manual co-PI Barry Hammel.  Detailed locality information is withheld.  According to the taxonomy of this author (an admitted lumper), our material would appear to qualify as Mammillaria columbiana Salm-Dyck, “one of the most widely distributed species in the genus,” ranging from Jamaica and southern Mexico to Colombia and Venezuela.  This concept would subsume M. ruestii Quehl (a name employed in Flora de Nicaragua and initially applied to our material by Barry), perhaps as a subsp.  Includes a distribution map.  Ball’s in your court, dude!

Inda, L. A., P. Torrecilla, P. Catalán & T. Ruiz-Zapata.  2008. Phylogeny of Cleome L. and its close relatives Podandrogyne Ducke and Polanisia Raf. (Cleomoideae, Cleomaceae) based on analysis of nuclear ITS sequences and morphology.  Pl. Syst. Evol. 274: 111–126.

This is old news [see The Cutting Edge 12(4): 11, Oct. 2005]:  Podandrogyne, with at least one well-known sp. in Costa Rica, is nested within Cleome, and should be lumped therein, together with the oligotypic North American genus Polanisia.  These authors make no mention of recent overtures to divide Cleome into several smaller genera [see The Cutting Edge 15(1): 7, Jan. 2008] and, according to the cladograms here presented, there is no compelling reason for doing so, once the two aforementioned genera have been absorbed.  Our guess is that the partitioning of Cleome represents the inevitable splitters’ response to the same cladistic evidence, with a view to preserve Podandrogyne and Polanisia.  Whoever thought that cladistic and molecular methodologies would lead to stability of nomenclature?

Knapp, S.  2008. Typification of Solanum (Solanaceae) species described by Martín de Sessé y Lacasta and José Mariano Mociño.  Anales Jard. Bot. Madrid 65: 7–23.

As far as we can tell, just one of these typifications deals with a name that is accepted for a sp. occurring in Costa Rica, viz., Solanum cordovense Sessé & Moc., though several others involve synonyms.  In no case does established usage appear to be affected.  Illustrated with color(!) photos of herbarium specimens.

Luteyn, J. L.  2008. Re-discovery and typification of Thibaudia laurifolia, Macleania insignis, and M. coccinea (Ericaceae: Vaccinieae), an adventurous history.  J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 2: 243–248.

Only one of these names concerns us, that being Macleania insignis M. Martens & Galeotti, here typified in a manner that apparently maintains current usage.

Mabberley, D. J.  2008. Mabberley’s plant-book ed. 3.  Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, UK.  1021 pp.

We were wondering whose book it was!  Apart from the newly personalized title, it differs conspicuously from the second edition in being notably thicker (by nearly 20%) and more expensive (by ca. 80%).  Of course, we dashed right out and bought two copies anyway because, needless to say, no one can survive without this thing for even a moment.  The big news, for this new edition, is that the author has now embraced molecular systematics in whole-hog fashion.  Thus Malvaceae has absorbed several other families, Scrophulariaceae is shattered, Lamiaceae has fattened up at the expense of Verbenaceae, and so on; innumerable changes of this type have also been implemented at the generic level, and the amount of work that must have been involved in all of this is mind-boggling.  Still, the author has not suspended all judgment in his molecular conversion.  For example, we find no indication of the mayhem that has been perpetrated on Pleurothallis (Orchidaceae), and no mention, even as synonyms, of names such as Anathallis, Anthereon, or Specklinia.  We spot-checked the few misspellings we had pointed out in our brief review of the previous edition [see The Cutting Edge 4(3): 8, Jul. 1997], and can happily report that all have been corrected.  We haven’t managed to find any new ones yet.  Inevitably, there are the occasional little oversights that picky specialists will seize upon; for example, we see that our two Costa Rican Tetranema (Scrophulariaceae) spp. were not accounted for in the sp. total for that genus.  We are confident that such errors will gradually be culled from future editions as they are pointed out by responsible colleagues (which we are not!).  Whatever the case, there is nothing out there to compare or even compete with this, and here we will end, as we are preaching to the converted.

Mathieu, G.  2007. Compendium of herbarium names in the genus Peperomia (Piperaceae).  Nautilus Acad. Books, Zelzate, Belgium.  616 pp.

Here is another unique product from the same gentleman who helmed a recent checklist of synonymy changes in Peperomia [see The Cutting Edge 14(2): 7–8, Apr. 2007].  It is exactly what the title says it is.  If we are surprised by anything (other than the mere fact of publication), it is the sheer number of never-published herbarium names in Peperomia:  at least 1530 that “have been traced so far,” nearly equalling the total of “around 1600 accepted names” in the genus.  Not surprisingly, 93% of these herbarium names are attributable to the infamous William Trelease (undoubtedly responsible for a similar percentage of the “almost equal number of synonyms”).  Based, inevitably, on the subjective judgment of the author, legitimate, accepted names are provided for 1434 of the herbarium names enumerated in this compilation.  “Index A” accomplishes the reverse, with accepted names alphabetized and herbarium names nested under each (this is where one can best appreciate the wildness of Trelease’s imagination).  Twenty-six pages are inexcusably squandered on “Index B,” to herbarium names, already sequenced alphabetically in the main text.

Morillo, G.  2007. Macroscepis mesoamericana Morillo, sp. nov.  Revista Fac. Agron. Univ. Zulia 24(Supl. 1): 460–465.

Macroscepis mesoamericana Morillo (Asclepiadaceae), based on a Costa Rican collection from Parque Nacional Santa Rosa, is segregated from M. pleistantha Donn. Sm. on the basis of its inflorescences with fewer flowers and shorter peduncles and pedicels, as well as various floral details.  The clear implication is that M. pleistantha, in the sense of its type, is restricted to Mexico and Guatemala, while all material so identified from Nicaragua and Costa Rica corresponds to the new sp.  However, just two specimens of M. mesoamericana are cited from each of the latter two countries, and we are left quite in the dark as to the identity of material in this complex from El Salvador and Honduras.  Illustrated with a rather basic composite line drawing.  We are grateful to Joaquín Sánchez (CR) for furnishing a copy of this article.

Mosyakin, S. L. & S. E. Clemants. 2008. Further transfers of glandular-pubescent species from Chenopodium subg. Ambrosia to Dysphania (Chenopodiaceae).  J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 2: 425–431.

None of these transfers is of interest to us, but this paper does alert us, rather belatedly, to a development of which we had been ignorant.  It seems that there has been a movement afoot, spearheaded by these authors, to shuttle numerous spp. traditionally included in Chenopodium to the genus Dysphania R. Br., formerly restricted to 17 spp. of Australia and New Zealand.  Among the spp. so affected is the familiar “apazote,” Chenopodium ambrosioides L., a common weed in upland Costa Rica.  It would be logical to assume that this would become Dysphania ambrosioides (L.) Mosyakin & Clemants, but as the authors employ “a moderately narrow species concept,” anything is possible; we note also the existence of D. anthelmintica (L.) Mosyakin & Clemants, based on a name that has generally been synonymized under C. ambrosioides.  Most of the new combinations in Dysphania have been published in the Ukrainian Botanical Journal, which we might be excused for having overlooked; however, these changes were implemented in the Flora of North America and Flora of China, MO projects each, so we cannot be absolved on that score.  Incidentally, we’ve looked at some previous papers on this topic, and were not overly impressed with the phylogenetic rationale for this new taxonomy, though subsequent molecular studies apparently provide support; we’ll continue to monitor the situation.

Murdock, A. G.  2008. A taxonomic revision of the eusporangiate fern family Marattiaceae, with description of a new genus Ptisana.  Taxon 57: 737–755.

This is the outfall from molecular studies by this author showing (among other things) Marattia to be “paraphyletic” [see The Cutting Edge 15(3): 10, Jul. 2008].  Here that genus is split into three, with the erstwhile Old World members shunted to the new genus of the title and Marattia s. str. limited to the Neotropics and Hawaii.  A third genus, for which the name Eupodium J. Sm. is already available, is ditypic and restricted to the Neotropics.  The combination Eupodium laevis (Sm.) Murdock (we believe this must be corrected to E. laeve) is validated for the sole sp. recorded from Costa Rica, the former Marattia laevis Sm.  Eupodium differs from Marattia (and Ptisana) in its mostly solitary fronds, with awns scattered along the veins adaxially, and prominently stalked synangia.  Danaea, the only other genus of Marattiaceae occurring naturally in Costa Rica, is unaffected.  This is essentially a generic revision, with formal descriptions of the family and genera, a dichotomous (but non-indented) key to genera, and synonymy and typology at all levels.  The two last-mentioned features extend to the sp. of Eupodium, Marattia s. str., and Ptisana, which are all enumerated with distribution summaries.  Illustrated with a composite, color photographic plate from living material depicting critical diagnostic details.

Pansarin, E. R., A. Salatino & M. L. F. Salatino.  2008. Phylogeny of South American Pogonieae (Orchidaceae, Vanilloideae) based on sequences of nuclear ribosomal (ITS) and chloroplast (psaB, rbcL, rps16, and trnL-F) DNA, with emphasis on Cleistes and discussion of biogeographic implications.  Organisms Diversity Evol. 8: 171–181.

The New World genus Cleistes, as presently circumscribed, is paraphyletic, its two North American spp. being more closely related to the temperate genera Isotria and Pogonia than to its ca. 18 Central and South American spp.  Because the type sp. of Cleistes is South American, the sole Costa Rican representative of this genus, the endemic C. costaricensis Christenson, should have nothing to fear.

Peng, S., H.-Q. Yang & D.-Z. Li.  2008. Highly heterogeneous generic delimitation within the temperate bamboo clade (Poaceae: Bambusoideae):  evidence from GBSSI and ITS sequences.  Taxon 57: 799–810.

The Asian genus Phyllostachys is “not monophyletic,” but neither the generic type nor the sole sp. introduced in Costa Rica (and treated in the Manual) were included in the study.

Pool, A.  2008. A review of the genus Pyrostegia (Bignoniaceae).  Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 95: 495–510.

This South American genus of four spp. is represented in Costa Rica only by the much-cultivated Pyrostegia venusta (Ker Gawl.) Miers, conpsicuous by virtue of its vibrant orange corollas.  Includes technical genus and sp. descriptions, a dichotomous key to spp., synonymy and typology, distribution and phenology summaries, lengthy discussions, representative specimen citations, a distribution map, and an index to exsiccatae.  The introductory part briefly covers taxonomic history, major character fields, and economic uses.  There are no new taxa, but six lectotypes are designated.  All four spp. are depicted in excellent composite line-drawings.

Pupulin, F. & A. Karremans.  2008. The strange story of Hoffmann’s two epidendrums.  Lindleyana 21(1): 2–6 [in Orchids (West Palm Beach) 77(6)].

Even stranger is the story of the once proud scientific journal Lindleyana, which survives only as a separately paginated insert in the hobbyist rag Orchids (West Palm Beach).  This paper begins with (yet another) interesting (if very brief) biographical sketch of Karl (AKA Carl) Hoffmann [see also The Cutting Edge 15(3): 6, Jul. 2008], but the rest is prosaic:  the name Epidendrum hoffmannii Schltr., never used and not even mentioned in the Manual, is determined to be a synonym of Prosthechea chacaoensis (Rchb. f.) W. E. Higgins, rather than P. ionophlebia (Rchb. f.) W. E. Higgins, as had previously been assumed.  Illustrated with historical photos (some in color) of people, plates, and plants.

Resslar, P. M.  2008. The inflorescence of Caladium humboldtii Schott.  Aroideana 31: 120–123.

In the Manual Araceae treatment by co-PI Mike Grayum, the South American Caladium humboldtii Schott was mentioned as a sp. occasionally cultivated in Costa Rica that had never been collected in fertile condition.  The latter qualification was not limited to Costa Rican material:  C. humboldtii is known to reproduce solely by asexual means, and fertile organs were unknown, period.  Until now!  In this study, inflorescences were induced through the application of gibberellic acid to dormant tubers of C. humboldtii, and described in detail for the first time.  Not surprisingly, they are smaller than those of the vegetatively much larger C. bicolor (Aiton) Vent., more commonly cultivated—and also native—in Costa Rica.  Spadices of C. humboldtii measure just 1.4–2(–2.8) cm in length (vs. 6–12 cm in C. bicolor), and are borne on peduncles 4.5–6.2(–8.5) cm long (vs. 23–50 cm).  The staminate flowers on these somewhat malformed inflorescences of C. humboldtii did not produce pollen, so sexual reproduction is still a distant dream.

Rodrigues, R. S. & A. M. G. A. Tozzi.  2008. Reinstatement of the name Leptolobium Vogel (Leguminosae, Papilionoideae, Sophoreae).  Taxon 57: 980–984.

On the basis of their cladistic analysis of morphological characters [see The Cutting Edge 14(3): 9, Jul. 2007], the authors formally cleave Leptolobium from Acosmium (itself formerly included in Sweetia).  Leptolobium comprises 10 spp., ranging from southern Mexico to southern Brazil and northern Argentina.  Full synonymy and typology are provided for each, and new combinations are validated for five spp., including Leptolobium panamense (Benth.) Sch. Rodr. & A. M. G. Azevedo [most recently Acosmium panamense (Benth.) Yakovlev], the only sp. in the Mesoamerican region.

Rojas-Alvarado, A. F.  2008. Novelties in the Adiantum tetraphyllum complex (Pteridaceae) from the Neotropics.  MES 3(Supl. 1): 1–7.

There is just one taxonomic novelty here, Adiantum acrolobum A. Rojas, distinguished from A. fructuosum Poepp. ex Spreng. (itself, for our money, scarcely distinct from A. tetraphyllum Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.) by details of the rhizome scales, frond vestiture, and soral distribution.  The holotype is Costa Rican (from ca. 500 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Guanacaste), but all the paratypes (most of which had been determined as A. tetraphyllum) are from Nicaragua, Panama, and Colombia.  Moving right along, Adiantum amblyopteridium Mickel & Beitel, which had been regarded as a Mexican endemic, is extended (disjunctly) to Costa Rica and Panama; the three Costa Rican specimens cited are from 0–400 m elevation on the Pacific slope (Montes del Aguacate and southern Península de Nicoya).  And finally, Adiantum villosissimum Mett. ex Kuhn, previously reported from Costa Rica by this author [see The Cutting Edge 9(2): 8, Apr. 2002], is relegated to synonymy under A. cajennense Willd. ex Klotzsch, the latter no longer a South American endemic.  The new sp. is depicted in a composite line drawing, and fertile pinnules of A. amblyopteridium, A. fructuosum, and A. tetraphyllum are illustrated.

---. 2008. Notes in Blechnum lherminieri complex (Blechnaceae) from the Neotropics.  MES 3(Supl. 1): 8–29.

The author accepts seven spp. in the group alluded to in the title, four of which are attributed to Costa Rica under the following names:  Blechnum lehmannii Hieron., B. lherminieri (Bory) C. Chr., B. maxonii (Broadh.) C. Chr., and B. organense Brade.  This “complex” has been dealt with quite variously in the past.  Robbin C. Moran (NY), in his Flora mesoamericana treatment (1995), accepted only B. lherminieri, with B. lehmannii, B. maxonii, and B. microlomaria L. D. Gómez cited in synonymy (the latter questioningly).  More recently, B. lehmannii has been allied with B. stoloniferum (Mett. ex E. Fourn.) C. Chr. (of which B. microlomaria is now considered a synonym), in a different sp.-group from B. lherminieri [see The Cutting Edge 14(3): 10, Jul. 2007].  Now they are reunited, in what we hope will stand as the final word on the subject.  As aids to comprehending this group, the author provides a dichotomous (though non-indented) key to spp., a tabular comparison of all seven spp., photographic illustrations (herbarium sheets) of five, and formal descriptions, exhaustive specimen citations, and diagnostic discussions for each.  The four Costa Rican representatives are all rather widespread in montane regions of the country, and as many as three may occur sympatrically (e.g., at the Monteverde Reserve), though no hybrids or intermediates have been noted.  As far as we are aware, the name Blechnum organense, based on a Brazilian type, has never been applied to Mesoamerican material.  Three new spp. are described, all South American.

---. 2008. Five new species and new records in Diplazium (Athyriaceae) from the Neotropics.  MES 3(Supl. 1): 30–40.

Just two of the new spp. are Mesoamerican, and both occur in Costa Rica:  the endemic Diplazium arayae A. Rojas, known only from the type specimen collected on the Atlantic slope of Cerro Cacao during one of our recent excursions [see The Cutting Edge 14(4): 1–2, Oct. 2007]; and D. nelsonianum A. Rojas, collected once in Costa Rica (on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera Central at ca. 850 m elevation) and from scattered localities north to Edo. Veracruz, Mexico.  Two additional spp., both erstwhile Panamanian endemics, are reported for the first time from Costa Rica:  Diplazium chiriquense C. D. Adams (1720 m, Pacific slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca) and D. tutense C. D. Adams (1450 m, Cerros de Escazú).  All five new spp. are depicted in photos of their type specimens.

---. 2008. The Nephrolepis pendula complex (Lomariopsidaceae) in the Neotropics.  MES 3(Supl. 1): 54–78.

Four separate spp. are distinguished from the “complex” of the title, which has always been treated as comprising just one sp., Nephrolepis pendula (Raddi) J. Sm.  As a result, three spp. are here described as new, of which two occur in Costa Rica (in addition to N. pendula s. str.):  Nephrolepis grayumiana A. Rojas, nearly endemic (with a single collection from Amazonian Ecuador!), and N. obtusiloba A. Rojas, widespread from southern Mexico to Bolivia.  The two last-mentioned spp. have been found mainly below 1200 m elevation, N. pendula mainly above 800 m; N. grayumiana (never collected by the honoree!) is restricted in Costa Rica to the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca, while the other two spp. range more widely.  Five “forms” of Nephrolepis pendula s. str. are characterized informally.  Features a dichotomous (but non-indented) key to these and some related spp., a tabular comparison of most of the same entities, formal descriptions, comprehensive specimen citations, and photos (including details) from herbarium specimens of each sp. (and “form”) in the complex.  One question about this article (and this journal):  how can a paper be accepted in August (p. 71), and published in June of the same year (as indicated in the running head)?

Rothfels, C. J., M. D. Windham, A. L. Grusz, G. J. Gastony & K. M. Pryer.  2008. Toward a monophyletic Notholaena (Pteridaceae):  resolving patterns of evolutionary convergence in xeric-adapted ferns.  Taxon 57: 712–724.

Cladistic analysis of sequence data from three DNA genes establishes that the New World members of Notholaena (including the original lectotype) are only distantly related to Old World spp. that have been classed in that genus (according to a later lectotypification).  However, even the New World contingent, in its traditional broad circumsciption (cf. R. M. Tryon, Contr. Gray Herb. 179: 1–106.  1956), is not monophyletic.  Both Argyrochosma and Astrolepis (already accepted, e.g., in Flora mesoamericana Vol. 1, 1995) are upheld as monophyletic and well removed from Notholaena s. str.  Also excluded is Notholaena aurea (Poir.) Desv. (occurring in Costa Rica), here confirmed as an integral member of Cheilanthes, where it must be called C. bonariensis (Willd.) Proctor—again, as per Flora mesoamericana.  In a pair of departures from Flora mesoamericana, the monospecific genus Cheiloplecton is indicated as nested within Notholaena s. str., as is Cheilanthes brachypus (Kunze) Kunze; a name in Notholaena is already available for the latter sp., while a new combination (presumably based on Pteris cartilaginea C. Presl) would be needed for Cheiloplecton rigidum (Sw.) Fée.  These authors propose no such changes, noting that “the precise delimitation of Notholaena will require further research.”

Soto, D. A. & A. K. Monro.  2008. Una nueva especie de Cuatresia (Solanaceae) de Costa Rica y Panamá.  J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 2: 41–44.

Cuatresia amistadensis D. A. Soto & A. K. Monro has been collected from both slopes of the Cordillera de Talamanca, in Costa Rica and western Panama, at elevations of ca. 950–2100 m.  It is the sixth sp. of its genus in Costa Rica, where it has been confused with the sympatric Witheringia cuneata (Standl.) Hunz.  A detailed morphological comparison of these spp., in tabular form, also includes the very similar Cuatresia plowmanii Hunz., of Colombia and Ecuador.  This new sp. was discriminated as a result of field work funded by the Darwin Initiative [see The Cutting Edge 13(3): 2, Jul. 2006].  Illustrated with a fine composite line drawing.  Congratulations to INB curator Armando Soto on his first taste of botanical immortality (but what does the “D.” stand for?).

Strahan, R. T. & K. W. Allred.  2008. Aristidae eludendae II:  a re-evaluation of the Aristida gibbosa complex (Poaceae: Aristideae), including A. marginalis, A. orizabensis, and A. sorzogonensis.  J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 2: 309–322.

In the late Richard W. Pohl’s Flora costaricensis treatment of Poaceae (Fieldiana, Bot. n. s., 4: 1–608.  1980), the name Aristida orizabensis E. Fourn. was employed for a sp. circumscribed as ranging from Mexico to Panama.  The Manual Poaceae account, by Francisco Morales (INB), followed Flora mesoamericana Vol. 6 (Pohl & Davidse, 1994) in opting for a more inclusive sp. concept (Mexico to Bolivia and Brazil) under the name Aristida gibbosa (Nees) Kunth, with A. orizabensis relegated to synonymy.  This study, using principal component analysis, essentially reverts to Pohl’s initial circumscription, with A. gibbosa restricted to South America.  However, even under this scenario the name A. orizabensis cannot regain its former glory:  it is supplanted by Aristida sorzogonensis J. Presl, long neglected because the type was erroneously thought to have been collected in the Philippines.  Bottom line, for Manual users:  replace the name Aristida gibbosa with A. sorzogonensis, and truncate its southerly geographic extension approximately at Colombia (though there is at least one collection from Bolivia).  Two forms of A. sorzogonensis are recognized:  A. s. f. sorzogonensis, with relatively open panicles, and A. s. f. orizabensis (E. Fourn.) Strahan & Allred comb. nov., with narrow panicles.  Only the former is vouchered for Costa Rica, though the latter occurs both to the north (Honduras) and south (Panama).  Includes indented, dichotomous keys to the four spp. in the titular complex and the forms of A. sorzogonensis, a distribution map, and, for each infrageneric taxon, synonymy and typology, a distribution summary, and exsiccatae citations.  Well endowed with assorted graphic presentations of data and photos of morphological details.

Tippery, N. P., D. H. Les, D. J. Padgett & S. W. L. Jacobs.  2008. Generic circumscription in Menyanthaceae:  a phylogenetic evaluation.  Syst. Bot. 33: 598–612.

While the family of the title is monophyletic, Nymphoides (the only genus occurring in Costa Rica) is not; however, it can be made so by the removal of a single, anomalous sp. (not the sole Costa Rican representative!) to the exclusively Old World Villarsia.  That accomplished, Villarsia remains paraphyletic with respect to Nymphoides.  To remedy this, the authors recommend subdividing Villarsia, as opposed to lumping it with the comparatively homogeneous Nymphoides; as it turns out, neither strategy would entail nomenclatural consequences for our sp. (Nymphoides being the older name).

Wiersema, J. H., A. Novelo R. & J. R. Bonilla-Barbosa.  2008. Taxonomy and typification of Nymphaea ampla (Salisb.) DC. sensu lato (Nymphaeaceae).  Taxon 57: 967–974.

The names Nymphaea ampla and N. pulchella DC. are typified and applied exactly according to the recent Manual treatment by Garrett E. Crow (NHA).

Wilbur, R. L. & J. L. Luteyn.  2008. A synopsis of the Mexican and Central American species of Vaccinium (Ericaceae).  J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 2: 207–241.

Vaccinium, as traditionally circumscribed, comprises 27 spp. in the region specified in the title of this work, authored by the co-contributors (in reverse order) of both the recently published Flora costaricensis fascicle [see The Cutting Edge 13(1): 9, Jan. 2006] and the soon-to-be-published Manual Ericaceae account.  As would be expected, we note few substantive deviations from the Manual draft [see The Cutting Edge 11(2): 2, Apr. 2004], which treats 10 Vaccinium spp. for Costa Rica.  Two of those spp. are not attributed to Costa Rica in this synopsis:  V. bocatorense Wilbur (collected extremely near the border and included hypothetically in the Manual) and V. floccosum (L. O. Williams) Wilbur & Luteyn (with at least two actual Costa Rican specimens, cited even in Flora costaricensis, but mysteriously not alluded to here).  The usage of the name Vaccinium dissimile S. F. Blake in this paper reflects a long-standing (and freely acknowledged) disagreement between the authors regarding the classification of the sp. involved; with the first author calling the shots, it is Luteyn’s view (with this sp. in Sphyrospermum) that prevailed in Flora costaricensis and will endure in the Manual.  Features a genus description and dichotomous, indented key to spp. and, for each sp., synonymy and typology plus a detailed description, distribution summary, diagnostic discussion, and specimen citations.  Two new spp. are described, neither from Costa Rica, and these alone are illustrated.

Williams, J. K. & J. K. Stutzman.  2008. Chromosome number of Thevetia ahouai (Apocynaceae: Rauvolfoideae: Plumerieae) with discussion on the generic boundaries of Thevetia.  J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 2: 489–493.

The authors’ report of 2n = 20 for Thevetia ahouai (L.) A. DC. establishes a seventh synapomorphy for Thevetia in the traditional sense, i.e., including Cascabela.  Taking on a recent study that argued for the recognition of Cascabela as a separate genus [see The Cutting Edge 14(4): 3–4, Oct. 2007], the authors instead advocate a Thevetia s. l., contending that, “without prior knowledge, most botanists would be unaware that Thevetia and Cascabela are sister taxa that share seven synapomorpies.”  This echoes our much-quoted (from Bob Thorne) “relationships are more important than differences” axiom and, taken in conjunction with the even more important consideration of nomenclatural stability, cements our position on this issue (based on current evidence):  Thevetia über alles!  We are content to leave Cascabela to the philologists.


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