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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XVIII, Number 4, October 2011

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

Abbott, J. R. 2011. Notes on the disintegration of Polygala (Polygalaceae) with four new genera for the flora of North America. J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 5: 125–137.

Molecular studies by the author have demonstrated that the large genus Polygala cannot be monophyletic and retain all the spp. traditionally assigned to it unless all the other genera in tribe Polygaleae—including Monnina and Securidaca—are added to the mix. With that in mind, he opts to split Polygala into several smaller, morphologically diagnosable genera, four of which (including Polygala s. str.) occur in North America. Two combinations are validated at generic rank, as well as numerous new combinations at specific and infraspecific ranks. The author restricts his activities to “North America north of Mexico,” at least for the time being, but we are able to deduce that at least two of his splinter genera, Asemeia Raf. and Hebecarpa (Chodat) J. R. Abbott, must be represented in Costa Rica. We anticipate the dropping of the other shoe, with some trepidation as regards the publication schedule for our impending Vol. 7 (which will include Polygalaceae).

Anonymous. 2011. Dr. Eric A. Christenson. Richardiana 11: 207–208.

A brief, no-nonsense obituary for francophones. For a more fully realized remembrance in English, see under “Jesup” (this column).

Batista, J. A. N., L. B. Bianchetti, R. González-Tamayo, X. M. C. Figueroa & P. J. Cribb. 2011. A synopsis of New World Habenaria (Orchidaceae) I. Harvard Pap. Bot. 16: 1–47.

This is the first of two parts, covering sp. names in the A–L alphabetical range. For accepted sp. names (298 total), full synonymy and typology are provided, as well as a distribution summary and (generally) a discussion of variable length. Synonyms are also included in the alphabetical list, cross-referenced to the accepted name. Although they acknowledge the probability that Habenaria is not monophyletic, the authors take a rather broad view of the genus, and do not accept segregates such as Habenella Small [see The Cutting Edge 13(2): 13, Apr. 2006]. We noted several deviations from the Manual treatment (2003) by Robert L. Dressler (JBL), but are not convinced that all of these are critical and authoritative; indeed, the authors do not cite the Manual treatment, and all indications are that they did not even see it. For example, Habenaria amparoana Schltr. and H. brenesii Schltr. are accepted in this synopsis, but were synonymized under H. distans Griseb. and (tentatively) H. lankesteri Ames in the Manual. Also, neither Habenaria clypeata Lindl. nor H. heptadactyla Rchb. f. is attributed to Costa Rica, despite the fact that both were included in the Manual with Costa Rican vouchers. The same is true of H. eustachya Rchb. f., which was accepted in the Manual with H. jimenezii Schltr. as a synonym; this synopsis reverts to an earlier notion expressed in Dressler's Field guide to the orchids of Costa Rica and Panama [see The Cutting Edge 1(2): 7–8, Apr. 1994], duly cited, in which H. jimenezii (based on a Costa Rican type) was regarded as a synonym of H. floribunda Lindl. (which, as a consequence, is here attributed to Costa Rica, contrary to the Manual). At least one of the changes suggested for Costa Rica in this synopsis appears to incorporate a novel insight: Habenaria costaricensis Schltr., accepted in the Manual, is here consigned to synonymy under H. cryptophila Barb. Rodr., ranging southward to Bolivia, Venezuela, and Brazil; this development, if confirmed, costs us another Costa Rican endemic. On the other hand, Habenaria irazuensis Schltr., ranging from "Méx.–CR" according to the Manual, is regarded by these authors as "only known from Costa Rica."

Borsch, T., T. Ortuño Limarino & M. H. Nee. 2011. Phylogenetics of the neotropical liana genus Pedersenia (Amaranthaceae: Gomphrenoideae) and discovery of a new species from Bolivia based on molecules and morphology. Willdenowia 41: 5–14.

While this paper contains nothing of tremendous relevance to Costa Rican floristics, it does shine a light on some developments during the last 13 years of which we had been unaware. These pertain to the presence (or not!) of the genus Pfaffia (Amaranthaceae) in Costa Rica. William Burger's (F) Flora costaricensis treatment of Amaranthaceae (1983) accepted just one sp. for the country, Pfaffia grandiflora (Hook.) R. E. Fr. A dozen years later [see The Cutting Edge 3(1): 6, Jan. 1996], the Costa Rican sp. total was doubled by the transfer to Pfaffia of Iresine costaricensis Standl. (together with I. completa Uline & W. L. Bray, known from both Nicaragua and Panama). The salad days for Pfaffia in Costa Rica were, however, short-lived; P. grandiflora was soon removed to the genus Hebanthe [see The Cutting Edge 4(4): 3, Oct. 1997] and—as we have just now learned—P. costaricensis (Standl.) Borsch became Pedersenia costaricensis (Standl.) Holub shortly thereafter. The last-mentioned transformation transpired all the way back in 1998, since which time the sp. total for Pfaffia in Costa Rica has been, officially, nil. And, for good measure, Iresine completa also now belongs in Pedersenia, the combination being validated in this paper. The largely South American Pedersenia, a completely new generic concept to us benighted souls, is estimated to comprise 11 spp. of (mostly) lianas, related more closely to Gomphrena than to Iresine.

Brown, G. K., D. J. Murphy & P. Y. Ladiges. 2011. Relationships of the Australo-Malesian genus Paraserianthes (Mimosoideae: Leguminosae) identifies the sister group of Acacia sensu stricto and two biogeographical tracks. Cladistics 27: 380–390.

The results of this molecular study are of little interest to us, but we are gratified by the conclusion that the Old World genus Paraserianthes, in its broad sense, is paraphyletic. This finding "supports the taxonomy of Barneby and Grimes (1996)," who had treated Paraserianthes falcataria (L.) I. C. Nielsen as Falcataria moluccana (Miq.) Barneby & J. W. Grimes. We basically flipped a coin on this for the Manual, and happened to get lucky (see the genus discussion under Albizia in Vol. 5, where F. moluccana is mentioned as occasionally cultivated in Costa Rica).

Brummitt, R. K. 2011. Report of the Nomenclature Committee for Vascular Plants: 63. Taxon 60: 1202–1210.

Conservation of the genus name Syngonanthus (Eriocaulaceae) against the earlier Philodice is recommended, but we are still not sure how this affects the single Costa Rican sp. involved [see this column under “Giulietti” in The Cutting Edge 16(4), Oct. 2009]. Conservation of Musa velutina H. Wendl. & Drude (cultivated and escaped in Costa Rica) against M. dasycarpa Kurz (Musaceae) is recommended unanimously; on the other hand, conservation of M. balbisiana Colla (a parent sp. of M. ×paradisiaca L.) against M. rosacea Jacq. is rebuffed, in favor of rejection of the latter name. Xylosma is recommended to be conserved against the earlier Apactis (Flacourtiaceae), as is Hypolepis nigrescens Hook. (Dennstaedtiaceae) against H. nigrescens (Schrad.) Nees (Cyperaceae). Conservation of the genus name Moussonia (Gesneriaceae) with a conserved type is recommended unanimously, averting the synonymization of that name under Kohleria. And finally, the names Cofer (Symplocaceae), Samyda parvifolia Loefl. (Flacourtiaceae), and Spermacoce suffruticosa L. (Rubiaceae)—which might have threatened Symplocos, Casearia sylvestris Sw., and Diodella sarmentosa (Sw.) Bacigalupo & E. L. Cabral, respectively—are all recommended for rejection.

Burns, J. H., R. B. Faden & S. J. Steppan. 2011. Phylogenetic studies in the Commelinaceae subfamily Commelinoideae inferred from nuclear ribosomal and chloroplast DNA sequences. Syst. Bot. 36: 268–276.

Commelina, Gibasis, Murdannia, and Tradescantia (to mention only those genera occurring in Costa Rica) were found to be monophyletic, but Callisia would appear to be polyphyletic. Of the three Costa Rican representatives of Callisia, only C. repens (Jacq.) L. (the generic type) was included in this study; thus we are unable to speculate as to the potential fate of the others.

Cardoso, L. J. T., R. J. V. Alves & J. M. A. Braga. 2011. A new species and a key for Langsdorffia (Balanophoraceae). Syst. Bot. 36: 424–427.

The new sp. (from Brazil) does not pertain to us; we mention this paper mainly for the key to all the spp. of Langsdorffia—just four, with only L. hypogaea Mart. known from Costa Rica.

Cialdella, A. M. & F. O. Zuloaga. 2011. Taxonomic study of Gymnopogon (Poaceae, Chloridoideae, Cynodonteae). Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 98: 301–330.

Although it otherwise appears solid, this treatment raises more questions than it answers for Costa Rica and Panama, whence Gymnopogon fastigiatus Nees subsp. fastigiatus is the only taxon in its genus reported in Flora mesoamericana (with the Costa Rican record dating back at least to Standley’s Flora of Costa Rica and perpetuated in Flora costaricensis and the Manual). But one would be hard-pressed to glean even that much from this paper, which cites no Central American specimens under G. fastigiatus and summarizes the distribution of subsp. fastigiatus as “Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, and Bolivia” (though the Flora mesoamericana report is mentioned in the introductory section). What are we, chopped liver? We assume this to be an oversight by the authors, but cannot discount the possibility that the Central American collections previously attributed to G. fastigiatus were misdetermined (to genus?). Despite its title, this paper has all the hallmarks of a standard revision, with complete synonymy and typology, detailed genus and sp. (but not subsp.) descriptions, dichotomous (though non-indented) keys to spp. and subspp., distribution summaries, representative specimen citations, and an index to exsiccatae. All accepted taxa (14 spp. and two subspp.) are illustrated with composite line drawings

Dressler, R. L., M. A. Blanco, F. Pupulin & K. M. Neubig. 2011. (2019) Proposal to conserve the name Sobralia (Orchidaceae) with a conserved type. Taxon 60: 907–908.

This proposal was stimulated by a recent molecular study (never reviewed in these pages) resolving Sobralia as paraphyletic, with members of the autonymic section (as defined according to the currently accepted generic type) more closely related to the genera Elleanthus, Epilyna, and Sertifera than to the rest of Sobralia sensu lato. These authors have concluded "that the splitting of the genus Sobralia is imminent, with the inconvenience that the generic name would remain anchored by a species...of the smaller group (which is not even monophyletic itself), and that the vast majority of the species (ca. 100, including all of those that are commonly cultivated) would have to be transferred to Cyathoglottis Poepp. & Endl...." To avert that calamity, they propose a new type sp., belonging to the group that would otherwise have to be submerged in Cyathoglottis. The notion of enlarging Sobralia sensu stricto (according to its present type) to include Elleanthus, Epilyna, and Sertifera is rejected on morphological grounds, with the added observation that Elleanthus is also a very familiar name.

Gonçalves, E. G. 2011. The commonly cultivated species of Xanthosoma Schott (Araceae), including four new species. Aroideana 34: 3–23.

The cultivated spp. of Xanthosoma have always represented a formidable taxonomic challenge, for reasons that are adequately summed up in this paper: the plants are large, bulky (even by aroid standards), and succulent, troublesome to collect and dry, and difficult to accommodate on standard herbarium sheets; herbarium collections are therefore few and far between, often with inadequate label data, and are generally non-representative; and to make matters worse, many sp. names have been validly published for the group, commonly based on illustrations or fragmentary specimens, often of uknown provenance. The genus has not been revised since 1920 (by Engler and Krause, in Das Pflanzenreich). The present author has generated “an enormous dataset…to improve the taxonomy of the group,” but these hard data will be published elsewhere; this is more in the nature of a popular condensation to facilitate identification. As such, it lacks certain features that we, as professional taxonomists, would like to have available, in particular, specimen citations; whereas the “original distibution” of each sp. is indicated (or speculated upon), there is often no explicit summary of the current distribution. Thus, we cannot always be certain which spp. occur in Costa Rica. The Manual treatment of Araceae by co-PI Mike Grayum (MO) accepted just two spp. treated in this paper, viz., Xanthosoma robustum Schott and X. sagittifolium (L.) Schott, the latter (with X. atrovirens K. Koch & C. D. Bouché, X. mafaffa Schott, X. roseum Schott, and X. violaceum Schott in synonymy) applied to the most familiar cultivated races, generally known as “tiquisque.” This paper, however, restricts the name X. sagittifolium to a sp. that is “rarely cultivated outside the Caribbean Islands” (though the author mentions having found it “growing in a germplasm collection in Costa Rica University”). The author alleges “a strong misbelief that many species described in Xanthosoma belong [under X. sagittifolium] as synonyms”; we would suggest that the frequent synonymization of other names under X. sagittifolium reflects not so much a “misbelief” as the simple fact that X. sagittifolium is the oldest name in the group, seized upon as a last resort by harried flora writers in no position to undertake taxonomic revisions of difficult genera (certainly this was the case for the Manual). Having said that, all of the names mentioned previously as having been synonymized in the Manual under X. sagittifolium are used for accepted spp. in this treatment, with the exception of X. roseum (based on a Costa Rican type), here synonymized under X. mafaffa. With X. sagittifolium established as absent or very rare in Costa Rica, the name applied by this author to our tiquisque is X. mafaffa (“original distribution” Guatemala to Costa Rica). The latter spp. is characterized by its “waxy and usually pinkish-edged petioles,” huge, spreading leaf-blades, and pink staminodes (vs. white in X. sagittifolium). The only other cultivated Xanthosoma spp. that can definitely be attributed to Costa Rica from the information presented in this paper are X. robustum (not indicated as cultivated in the Manual) and X. violaceum (“considered from an unknown origin until a recent collection in the wild by me in Costa Rica”; unfortunately, no additional locality details are provided for this specimen, nor is the collection number cited). This is an intriguing and highly promising project, and we look forward to the publication of the author’s formal taxonomic revision, said to be “forthcoming.” The author, by the way, is a professional and experienced taxonomist, not a horticulturist, so this figures to be the real deal. In the meantime, we will make do with what is provided in this article, namely, a dichotomous and indented key to spp., synonymy, generous sp. descriptions, diagnositic discussions (with other useful comments), and 27 photographic figures. Four new spp. are described, but as far as we can tell, none of these pertains to Costa Rica.

Hirai, R. Y., G. Rouhan, P. H. Labiak, T. A. Ranker & J. Prado. 2011. Moranopteris: a new Neotropical genus of grammitid ferns (Polypodiaceae) segregated from Asian Micropolypodium. Taxon 60: 1123–1137.

The new genus name Moranopteris R. Y. Hirai & J. Prado, honoring our good friend Robbin C. Moran (NY), replaces Micropolypodium in the New World, based on molecular analyses showing the Old World members of the latter genus (including the type sp.) nested among various other genera traditionally accepted as distinct. Morphological characters distinguishing the new genus are scant: in particular, the presence of branched hairs on the stipes, costae, and abaxial laminar surfaces of the leaves (vs. unbranched only in Micropolypodium s. str.). A technical description is provided for Moranopteris, and new combinations under that name are validated (by “R. Y. Hirai & J. Prado”) for all(?) of the accepted New World spp. formerly referred to Micropolypodium, as well as three formerly assigned to Terpsichore (but which are nested in Moranopteris). Among these erstwhile members of Terpsichore is the former T. longisetosa (Hook.) A. R. Sm., which occurs in Costa Rica. A distribution summary is provided for each of the 28 spp. of Moranopteris (including two South American ones described as new), yielding some new information vis-à-vis the Flora mesoamericana (1995) treatment of Micropolypodium. With respect to Costa Rica, the following details are noteworthy: the former Micropolypodium basiattenuatum (Jenman) A. R. Sm. and M. plicatum (A. R. Sm.) A. R. Sm. (the latter described from Venezuela and not even included in Flora mesoamerica) are here attributed to Costa Rica, apparently for the first time; and Moranopteris microlepis (Rosenst.) R. Y. Hirai & J. Prado, the basionym of which (Polypodium blepharodes Maxon var. microlepis Rosenst.) appears nowhere in Flora mesoamericana (though it is based on a Costa Rican type), is now accepted at sp. rank. But what became of Micropolypodium setulosum (Rosenst.) A. R. Sm.? That name, accepted in Flora mesoamericana, appears nowhere in this paper, not even as a synonym [most logically, of Moranopteris nana (Fée) R. Y. Hirai & J. Prado]. Illustrated with SEM micrographs and three composite line drawings.

Iltis, H. H. & X. Cornejo. 2011. Two new genera and three new combinations in Neotropical Capparaceae. Harvard Pap. Bot. 16: 65–70.

No phylogenetic rationale is invoked for the establishment of these new genera "of more or less profound distinctiveness, based largely on morphological characters previously unused." Both are represented in Costa Rica: the monospecific Caphexandra Iltis & Cornejo, by the former Capparis heydeana Donn. Sm., and the dispecific Preslianthus Iltis & Cornejo, by the former Capparis pittieri Standl. The indicated new combinations at sp. rank are validated, with the authority by-lines the same as those for the genera. Caphexandra is compared mainly with Capparidastrum (another Capparis segregate), while Preslianthus is compared with Crateva. Representative material of each new genus is depicted in composite illustrations.

Jabbour, F. & S. S. Renner. 2011. Consolida and Aconitella are an annual clade of Delphinium (Ranunculaceae) that diversified in the Mediterranean basin and the Irano-Turanian region. Taxon 60: 1029–1040.

The results of this molecular study pertain tangentially to the Manual, as the larkspur, Consolida ajacis (L.) Schur (or Delphinium ajacis L.) has been occasionally cultivated in (and is vouchered for) Costa Rica. It turns out that Consolida is nested within Delphinium, and its spp. may have to be transferred to the latter genus to achieve monophyly. The authors anticipate some resistance to such a maneuver, noting that “Huth (1895) was the last worker to include Consolida s.l. in Delphinium.” However, the tradition to segregate Consolida seems much less entrenched in the North America than in Europe. For example, neither Gray’s manual (Fernald, 1950) nor A California flora (Munz & Keck, 1959) accepted Consolida as distinct from Delphinium, and only in the 1968 supplement to the latter work do we read (p. 10): “It is becoming prevalent to separate the annual spp. of Delphinium…and recognize the genus Consolida..” We originally learned the larkspur as a Delphinium, and have never warmed to the clunky name Consolida. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Jesup, A. & P. Jesup. 2011. Eric Christenson. A gifted researcher with a passion for botany and horticulture. Orchids (West Palm Beach) 80: 398–401.

This eulogy, illustrated with color photos and written by two individuals who knew him since he was an adolescent, may well prevail as the definitive send-off for the late Eric A. Christenson (1956–2011). A Connecticut native, Eric seems to have been somewhat of a child prodigy, whose “life revolved around orchids” from a early age. He presented his first lecture to the Connecticut Orchid Society at age 14 (these authors were on hand), and ultimately became president of the group. His B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees were all obtained at the University of Connecticut, the last of these in 1986 under Howard W. Pfeifer, a specialist on Aristolochia (Aristolochiaceae). Eric’s Ph.D. dissertation involved a taxonomic revision of the Asian genus Aerides (Orchidaceae), and subsequently he was to work as much on Old World as on New World orchids. Probably his best-known publications are A revision of the genus Phalaenopsis, published in 2001, and Icones orchidacearum peruvianum, an unfinished series (four volumes were completed) coauthored with the late David E. Bennett. The authors note that “following graduation, [Eric’s] only formal association was with the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida”; however, they shed no light on his source of income since parting ways with that institution quite some time ago. It must have been adequate, since he evidently owned a home, traveled extensively, and indulged a passion for gourmet cooking. Several anecdotes suffice to illuminate Eric’s legendary “larger than life” personality. A quote from a former dorm mate could stand as Eric Christenson’s epitaph: “You never had to wonder if he was in the room.”

Karremans, A. & D. Bogarín. 2011. Pleurothallis adventurae (Orchidaceae: Pleurothallidinae). Eine neue Art aus einer unerforschten Region in Costa Rica. OrchideenJ. 18: 111–114.

The “unerforschten” (i.e., “unexplored”) region referred to in the title happens to be the Zona Protectora Las Tablas, on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca near the Panamanian border. In fact, this area has been fairly well explored botanically, and our guess is that Pleurothallis adventurae Karremans & Bogarín, described here as new, has been collected numerous times in the past. Be that as it may, these authors characteristically base their new sp. solely on recent collections by their tight coterie of orchidophiles. Found mainly in oak forests at ca. 1750–1800 m elevation, P. adventurae is referred to a small group of mainly South American spp., among which the Ecuadorian P. portillae Luer is singled out as an especially close relative. Illustrated with an excellent composite line drawing (by the second author) and color photos of living specimens.

Kelly, L. M. 2011. Establishing dates of valid publication for Luigi Buscalioni’s names in Saurauia (Actinidiaceae). Taxon 60: 1173–1188.

Buscalioni validly published a total of 113 names in Saurauia at both specific and (especially) infraspecific ranks, mainly between 1911 and 1927, in the journal Malpighia (of which he was editor). Many of these names were validated, no doubt unintentionally, in tables or informal descriptions, years before the appearance of their “formal” descriptions that may have been intended as validating. The author of this paper has combed laboriously through all of this mish-mash in a laudable effort to determine the exact date of valid publication for each of Buscalioni’s Saurauia names, and appears to have largely succeeded. This contribution will be immensely useful when we get down to editing the Manual Actinidiaceae treatment—and with any luck, Kelly will have also published a taxonomic revision of Saurauia by then!

Kessler, M., A. L. Moguel Velázquez, M. Sundue & P. H. Labiak. 2011. Alansmia, a new genus of grammitid ferns (Polypodiaceae) segregated from Terpsichore. Brittonia 63: 233–244.

As a result of ongoing molecular investigations, the genus Terpsichore, with about 50 spp. when launched in 1993, has recently lost a number of its spp. to other Grammitis segregates such as Micropolypodium and the newly created Ascogrammitis [see this column under "Sundue" in The Cutting Edge 18(2), Apr. 2011]. This study pares the sp. total for Terpsichore to just 12 with the elevation of the "Terpsichore lanigera group" to generic rank under the name Alansmia M. Kessler, Moguel, Sundue & Labiak. The new genus comprises 26 spp., mostly neotropical but with two in Africa, Madagascar, and the Mascarenes. All of the consequent new combinations are here validated in the names of "Moguel & M. Kessler," and various (apparently) new synonymies are also proposed. The Costa Rican spp. involved in this scenario are the former Terpsichore alfaroi (Donn. Sm.) A. R. Sm., T. cultrata (Bory ex Willd.) A. R. Sm., T. elastica (Bory ex Willd.) A. R. Sm. [with T. cocosensis A. Rojas, T. esquiveliana A. Rojas, and T. mollissima (Fée) A. R. Sm. consigned to synonymy], T. glandulifera A. Rojas, T. lanigera (Desv.) A. R. Sm., T. longa (C. Chr.) A. R. Sm. (with T. acrosora A. Rojas included as a synonym), T. senilis (Fée) A. R. Sm., T. smithii A. Rojas, T. stella (Copel.) Moguel & M. Kessler [including T. fabispora (Copel.) A. Rojas as a synonym], and T. turrialbae (Christ) A. R. Sm. Needless to say, the new genus name is dedicated to fern guru Alan R. Smith (UC), the creator of Terpsichore, who is thus doubly honored by Alansmia smithii (A. Rojas) Moguel & M. Kessler; we rather wish that the authors had gone the whole nine yards and named their genus "Alansmithia," which we find less confusing and easier to say (though it would have compounded the problem for the last-mentioned sp.!). This paper includes no cladograms, but selected spp. are illustrated with composite line drawings, color photos of living material, or SEM mircrographs of important details. By the way: when are fern people going to stop using "H. Christ" as a standard authority designation? IPNI sensibly dropped the unneeded "H." many years ago.

Koopowitz, H. 2011. Eric Christenson, 1956–2011. Orchid Digest 75: 119.

An unvarnished appraisal of the recently passed orchid giant ("...Eric could be the most exasperating, the most dogmatic, most opinionated and most outrageous individual one could ever hope to meet or avoid"). A more conventional appreciation is printed on the same page.

Kuijt, J. 2011. Pulling the skeleton out of the closet: resurrection of Phthirusa sensu Martius and consequent revival of Passovia (Loranthaceae). Pl. Diversity Evol. 129: 159–211.

The action specified in the title of this paper has the consequence of banishing the genus name Phthirusa from Costa Rican floristics. Formerly construed as comprising ca. 30 spp. distributed throughout the Neotropics, Phthirusa is now reduced to just seven spp., occurring disjunctly in Mexico and South America. All of these spp. have previously been referred by the author to the genus Ixocactus, which name now becomes a synonym of Phthirusa. Piecing the story together, we can see that the maneuvers formalized in this paper are strictly nomenclatural, rather than taxonomic. For the past two decades, the author (the leading authority on neotropical mistletoes) has included Loranthus clandestinus Mart.—the type sp. of Phthirusa—in the genus Ixocactus, while continuing to use the name Phthirusa for a different genus. Twice he has attempted to remedy this clearly untenable nomenclatural situation with conservation proposals, but as both were unsuccessful, he has finally decided to face the music. With the name Phthirusa now taking over the duties of Ixocactus, all the spp. formerly assigned to Phthirusa need a different name, which turns out to be the wholly obscure Passovia H. Karst. The two spp. treated under Phthirusa in Francisco Morales’s (INB) Manual account of Loranthaceae (2007) are henceforth to be known as Passovia pyrifolia (Kunth) Tiegh. and Passovia stelis (L.) Kuijt (comb. nov.). The author validates 13 other new combinations in Passovia and Phthirusa, but refrains from a wholesale transfer of names to the former genus, citing the poor taxonomic understanding of the group. However, seven new spp. of Passovia are described (none from Costa Rica).

Lehnert, M. 2011. Species of Cyathea in America related to the western Pacific species C. decurrens. Phytotaxa 26: 39–59.

The suggestion that certain Cyatheaceae from the western Pacific region “are more closely related to South American taxa than to any other group from the Old World” was made long ago on morphological grounds, and has recently been confirmed by molecular studies. The present paper comprises a synoptic treatment of the western Pacific group in question [centered on Cyathea decurrens (Hook.) Copel.] together with the assemblage of neotropical spp. to which it appears to have the closest affinity [centered on Cyathea multiflora Sm.]. Featured are dichotomous (though non-indented) keys to spp., descriptions of the four groups treated in this paper (but not of the spp. themselves), synonymy and typology, distribution summaries, and “remarks.” This contribution breaks little or no new ground where Costa Rica is concerned, but is still useful, especially for the keys. The following spp. occurring in Costa Rica are included: Cyathea acutidens (Christ) Domin, C. alfonsiana L. D. Gómez, C. holdridgeana Nisman & L. D. Gómez, C. multiflora, C. notabilis (Maxon) Domin, C. pinnula (Christ) Domin, C. squamulosa (I. Losch) R. C. Moran, C. squarrosa (Rosenst.) Domin, and C. traillii (Baker) Domin. All of these are assigned to the Cyathea multiflora group except for C. holdridgeana (to the C. vilhelmii Domin group), C. squamulosa, and C. traillii [both to the C. andina (H. Karst.) Domin group]. Selected taxa (though only C. multiflora from the foregoing list) are illustrated in one composite line drawing and two photographic plates.

Li, L., J. Li, J. G. Rohwer, H. van der Werff, Z.-H. Wang & H.-W. Li. 2011. Molecular phylogenetic analysis of the Persea group (Lauraceae) and its biogeographic implications on the evolution of tropical and subtropical amphi-Pacific disjunctions. Amer. J. Bot. 98: 1520–1536.

A previous study involving this same group [see this column under Rohwer et al. in The Cutting Edge 17(1), Jan. 2010] portended a major taxonomic shake-up for Persea, in particular, the removal of subgen. Eriodaphne Nees [with at least P. brenesii Standl., P. caerulea (Ruiz & Pav.) Mez, P. cuneata Meisn., P. donnell-smithii Mez, and P. veraguensis Seem. in Costa Rica] to a separate genus under the name Mutisiopersea Kosterm. (though it turns out that Farnesia Fabr. is actually the oldest available name for the group). That particular threat seems to have been a false alarm, however: the results of the present analyses permit the conclusion that Persea in its traditional sense can remain largely intact, if only the Macaronesian Apollonias barbujana (Cav.) A. Br. is included and a few aberrant spp. excluded. We are probably not out of the woods, though, because we have a hunch that as many as four Costa Rican spp. (to wit, Persea albiramea van der Werff, P. laevifolia van der Werff, P. rigens C. K. Allen, and P. silvatica van der Werff) may be among the aberrant spp. awaiting pink slips.

Link-Pérez, M. & R. J. Hickey. 2011. Revision of Adiantopsis radiata (Pteridaceae) with descriptions of new taxa with palmately compound laminae. Syst. Bot. 36: 565–582.

These authors have succeeded in discriminating six spp. from neotropical material that has generally been included in Adiantopsis radiata (L.) Fée, long considered the only sp. of its genus with palmately compound leaves. Three spp. are described here as new, though none of these occurs in Costa Rica. Indeed, as far as we can tell, the status for Costa Rica is quo, with only A. radiata sensu stricto represented in the country (where it is quite rare in the northwestern region).

Lucas, E. J., K. Matsumoto, S. A. Harris, E. M. Nic Lughadha, B. Benardini & M. W. Chase. 2011. Phylogenetics, morphology, and evolution of the large genus Myrcia s.l. (Myrtaceae). Int. J. Pl. Sci. 172: 915–934.

We had some previous indication that this was coming (see this column under “Lucas” in our last issue): Calyptranthes (which is monophyletic) and Marlierea (which is not) are both nested within Myrcia. This paper provides the hard data. The authors claim to have a new subgeneric classification of “Myrcia s.l.” in the works which, evidently, will subsume both Calyptranthes and Marlierea.

Luebert, F., G. Brokamp, J. Wen., M. Weigend & H. H. Hilger. 2011. Phylogenetic relationships and morphological diversity in Neotropical Heliotropium (Heliotropiaceae). Taxon 60: 663–680.

This, "the most critical test of relationships in Heliotropiaceae so far," expands on previous work involving one or another of these authors [see especially The Cutting Edge 11(2): 7, Apr. 2004]. Conclusions from those papers accepted a priori for (and vindicated by) the present contribution include the segregation of some spp. traditionally referred to Heliotropium into Euploca, and of others traditionally assigned to Tournefortia into Myriopus. A handful of Costa Rican representatives have been shunted to these segregate genera, e.g., the former Heliotropium procumbens Mill. and Tournefortia maculata Jacq. As for all the rest, our examination of the cladograms in this paper suggests the following two obvious alternatives (which are also discussed by the authors): the lumping option, in which the vast majority of spp. presently classed in Heliotropium and Tournefortia would be merged in a single genus, under one name or the other (the authors state that "Heliotropium has priority," which is not the case, though there may be an early precedent for uniting the two genera under that name); and the splitting option, which would retain both genus names at the cost of cleaving several segregate genera from Heliotropium. But even under the splitting option, just one genus name (Tournefortia, in this case) would be used in Costa Rica, since all of our Heliotropium spp. (apart from those already removed to Euploca) belong to a clade that is distant from that harboring the generic type sp., but which includes the type sp. of Tournefortia. The authors do not come down hard for either alternative, citing major practical obstacles to each.

Mora-Osejo, L. E., N. Pabón-Mora & F. González. 2011. Gunneraceae. Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 109: 1–166.

This meticulous piece of work arrives, unfortunately, about a year too late to have been considered by Francisco Morales (INB) for his Manual Gunneraceae treatment, already published in our latest volume. On a positive note, there are no major departures from Chico's account: Costa Rica still has but two Gunnera spp., G. insignis (Oerst.) A. DC. and G. talamancana H. Weber & L. E. Mora. Just a few minor differences are worth mentioning: Gunnera insignis f. albovariegata L. D. Gómez is here formally dispensed with, and G. wendlandii Reinke ex Schindl., synonymized questioningly under G. insignis in the Manual, is regarded by these authors as more likely a synonym of G. talamancana on morphological grounds (we would argue that the type locality favors the Manual position). All in all, 44 New World spp. (and several vars.) are accepted in the genus Gunnera, a life-long specialty of the first author (deceased in 2004). Anyone familiar with the Central American members of the genus will be shocked to learn that it includes spp. that may be described as "hierbas de porte pequeño" or even (in one case) "diminutas" (with inflorescences just 2.5 cm long!). The spp. are ordered alphabetically, within each of the three New World subgenera, and provided with full synonymy and typology, detailed descriptions, distribution summaries, exsiccatae citations, and (as needed) discussions. Belying the series moniker, six extratropical spp. are included, making this treatment comprehensive for the New World. General features include descriptions of the genus and subgenera, indented, dichotomous keys (in both Spanish and English) to subgenera and spp. (as well as to the vars. of some spp.), illustrations (composite line drawings and/or black-and-white photos of herbarium or living material), distribution maps, a section on "Especies problemáticas o dudosas," and indices to exsiccatae, common names, and scientific names. The thorough and copiously illustrated introductory part addresses taxonomic history, morphology and anatomy, reproduction, karyology, embryology, palynology, phylogeny, biogeography, ecology, endosymbiosis (involving the alga Nostoc), conservation, uses, and collecting tips. The commendable contributions of the coauthors to this project are detailed explicitly in the "Prólogo." In Spanish (except as noted previously).

Nesom, G. L. 2011. Recognition and synopsis of Mimulus sect. Tropanthus and sect. Leucocarpus (Phrymaceae). Phytoneuron 2011-28: 1–8.

Molecular evidence has been available for nearly a decade portraying the large and widely distributed genus Mimulus as paraphyletic with respect to various smaller genera, including Hemichaena, Leucocarpus, and Phryma [see, e.g., The Cutting Edge 9(4): 4, Oct. 2002]. It is rather surprising that it has taken this long for someone to address the taxonomic implications of this situation. Heroic measures were clearly going to be needed in order to retain the name Mimulus in any semblance of its traditional usage, and now the maneuvering has begun! Sadly, for us, the first casualties are the only two genera of the alliance represented in Costa Rica, Hemichaena and Leucocarpus, both of which are formally transferred to monogeneric sections of Mimulus: sects. Tropanthus A. L. Grant and Leucocarpus (D. Don) G. L. Nesom (comb. nov.), respectively. New combinations in Mimulus for all five spp. of Hemichaena are validated by the author, including M. fruticosus (Benth.) G. L. Nesom for the only sp. occurring in Costa Rica. The single sp. of Leucocarpus was originally described in Mimulus, so a new combination is not required. But the story does not end here: it turns out that the type sp. of Mimulus, the North American M. ringens L., belongs to a small group that is distant from the bulk of the genus (including Hemichaena and Leucocarpus) and sister to a clade of mainly Australian segregate genera. The author's stratagem to salvage Mimulus for the largest number of North American spp. (and retain Phryma and the Australian segregates in the bargain) will be to propose conservation of the name Mimulus with a sp. from within that large group. If successful, this proposal (cited as "in prep.") will necessitate a new genus name for the group containing M. ringens.

While the plan set forth in this paper is eminently reasonable, we doubt that it will stand as the final word on this matter. In the first place, both Hemichaena and Leucocarpus strike us as relatively distinctive from Mimulus as we have known it, although the author provides cogent morphological arguments to the contrary (and we are on record as generally supporting the notion that "relationships are more important than differences" in taxonomy). And secondly, call us cynical, but the rewards in new combinations are potentially so great for the worker who would further break up Mimulus—e.g., by elevating subgenera Schizoplacus A. L. Grant and Synplacus A. L. Grant to genus rank, or merging the former with Hemichaena and the latter with Leucocarpus—that somebody is certain to charge down that path. We see this situation shaping up as unsettled for many years to come, now that the opening salvo has been fired.

—— & J. F. Pruski. 2011. Resurrected species of Erigeron (Asteraceae: Astereae) from Central America. Phytoneuron 2011-36: 1–10

Erigeron sect. Karvinskia Nesom comprises eight spp. of Mexico and Central America. One of these, E. karvinskianus DC., has been cultivated and naturalized globally, though it is apparently native only in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. However, the name has been used inclusively in regional floras, and Costa Rican material that has been shoehorned into E. karvinskianus is here segregated into three spp.: the endemic Erigeron irazuensis Greenm., occurring at 2200–2800 m elevation in the Cordillera Central and Cerros de Escazú; E. karvinskianus s. str., with a single Costa Rican collection (from the Cerros de Escazú) regarded by the authors as "probably...adventive"; and E. maxonii S. F. Blake, which grows at 2600–3400+ m elevation in the Cordillera de Talamanca (and into western Panama). This self-described "synopsis" features a dichotomous, indented key to the five spp. of sect. Karvinskianus represented in Central America, as well as synonymy and typology for each, technical descriptions, distribution and phenology summaries, specimen citations (sometimes representative), brief discussions, and a distribution map. The holotype of E. irazuensis is depicted.

Ponce, M. M. & B. Zimmer. 2011. Nomenclature and revised typification of Cheilanthes bonariensis (Cheilantheae, Pteridaceae). Taxon 60: 866–867.

The previously accepted type of Acrostichum bonariense Willd., the basionym of Cheilanthes bonariensis (Willd.) Proctor, is rejected as not comprising original material. A lectotype (illustration) is newly designated and, at the same time, the outgoing type (a specimen) is designated as epitype. Prevailing usage is upheld. This sp. [long known as Notholaena aurea (Poir.) Desv.] has been collected at least twice in Costa Rica, but must be vanishingly rare there (we have never encountered it, and no Costa Rican specimens are recorded in TROPICOS).

Pupulin, F. & R. L. Dressler. 2011. A nomenclatural note on Cypripedium humboldtii (Orchidaceae: Cypripedioideae). Harvard Pap. Bot. 16: 157–159.

What goes around does indeed come around! Cypripedium humboldtii Warsz. ex Rchb. f. has served as the basionym of Phragmipedium humboldtii (Warsz. ex Rchb. f.) J. T. Atwood & Dressler, used in Robert L. Dressler's (JBL) Manual Orchidaceae treatment (2003) as the accepted name for a rare terrestrial sp. that is widespread in the Mesoamerican region. Since then, all heck has broken loose, with the name P. humboldtii supplanted first by the freshly coined P. popowii Braem, Ohlund & Quéné, then by the more venerable P. warscewiczii (Rchb. f.) Christenson [for a dizzying summary of these shenanigans, see The Cutting Edge 13(3): 4–5, Jul. 2006]. But now, thanks to a little nomenclatural sleight of hand, we are back to Square One, with Phragmipedium humboldtii restored and Manual usage thus largely vindicated. How did the authors accomplish this? By focusing in on the "ex Rchb. f." portion of the original authority citation. The promoters of Phragmipedium popowii had rejected Cypripedium humboldtii as invalidly published, on the grounds that the name was not accepted by its author, i.e., Reichenbach. The authors of the present paper acknowledge that it "is likely correct" that Reichenbach did not accept the name; however, they make a distinction between the author of the paper (Reichenbach) and the author of the name (Warszewicz), concluding that, "as the name of C. humboldtii must be attributed solely to Warszewicz, the acceptance or otherwise of the name by Reichenbach filius is not relevant for valid publication." This distinction (between the author of the paper and the author of the name) was not appreciated by Atwood and Dressler when they validated their new combination in Phragmipedium, as reflected in their "Warsz. ex Rchb. f." authority citation (perpetuated in the Manual). However, as pointed out in the present paper, ICBN Art. 33.5 specifies that "errors in the citation of the basionym...including incorrect autor citation...do not preclude valid publication of a new combination." Manual users need only correct the authority citation for Cypripedium humboldtii (as well as the parenthetical citation for Phragmipedium humboldtii) to "Warsz.," deleting the "ex Rchb. f." portion; they may also wish to pencil in Phragmipedium popowii and P. warscewiczii as synonyms.

Ramírez-Roa, A. & G. Varela Hernández. 2011. Características anatómicas de hoja y flor con importancia taxonómica para la delimitación de cuatro especies en el género Moussonia (Gesneriaceae). Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 98: 413–429.

The genus Moussonia has been poorly understood taxonomically, and the Manual account by Ricardo Kriebel (NY) admitted that “ambos nombres utilizados a nivel de sp. en este tratamiento son tentativos.” From the title of this paper, one might be excused for thinking that its authors had concluded that Moussonia comprises just four spp. Such is far from the case: on the contrary, they claim a total of at least 14 spp. for the genus, and project as many 24 (including 19 in Mexico and Guatemala). This is really more of a trial study, assessing the discriminatory value of certain anatomical characters using four selected Moussonia spp. So it is of limited interest to us, but we do glean some inkling of names thay may be applied to Costa Rican material of the genus. Moussonia ampla L. E. Skog and M. deppeana (Schltdl. & Cham.) Hanst., the accepted names for the two spp. recognized in the Manual treatment, are here applied to spp. restricted to western Panama and southern Mexico/Guatemala, respectively; likewise, M. elegans Decne., a name that was used by Standley in Flora of Costa Rica, is applied to a sp. of southern Mexico and Guatemala. On the other hand, it seems that Moussonia costaricensis Klotzsch ex Oerst. and M. strigosa (C. V. Morton) Wiehler, both based on Costa Rican types (and synonymized under M. deppeana in the Manual), will be accepted by these authors—though perhaps not for the same two taxa delimited in the Manual. We eagerly await the formal taxonomic revision that, we hope, is not too far down the line, to see how all of this shakes down for us.

Salcedo-Castaño, J., R. Araya-Villalobos, N. Castañeda-Álvarez, O. Toro-Chica & D. G. Debouck. 2011. Phaseolus hygrophilus (Leguminosae-Papilionoideae), a new wild bean species from the wet forests of Costa rica, with notes about section Brevilegumeni. J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 5: 53–65.

Phaseolus hygrophilus Debouck, here described as new, is characterized as uniquely inhabiting “wet/rain forests with frequent mist, among tree ferns, many climbing lianas and epiphytes.” It is known from just two small populations on the Pacific slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca, on the southern slope of Cerro Buena Vista (i.e., “Cerro de La Muerte”), at ca. 1500–1600 m elevation. This would qualify as “bosque pluvial,” in Manual parlance. The new sp. is assigned tentatively to the section indicated in the title, and compared especially with Phaseolus oligospermus Piper (of “bosque húmedo” and “muy húmedo” at slightly lower elevations). An amended key to the spp. of this section is provided, along with exsiccatae citations for all four and a distribution map for the three that occur Costa Rica (including P. tuerckheimii Donn. Sm.). The new sp. is depicted in a composite line drawing, color photos of living material, and SEM micrographs of pollen (with photos of related sp. included for comparative purposes). Although vouchered by just two wild-collected herbarium specimens, P. hygrophilus has been cultivated for six years in Popayán, Colombia, and the morphological description of the sp. was evidently based largely on this cultivated material.

Sanchez, A. & K. A. Kron. 2011. Phylogenetic relationships of Triplaris and Ruprechtia: re-delimitation of the recognized genera and two new genera for tribe Triplarideae (Polygonaceae). Syst. Bot. 36: 702–710.

Triplaris emerges unscathed from these molecular analyses, but Ruprechtia is not so lucky: two clades, comprising three spp. traditionally included in the latter genus, are revealed as basal to the clade harboring the remaining spp. of Ruprechtia together with Triplaris. In other words, Ruprechtia is non-monophyletic, and two new genera are proposed to resolve the dilemma: the monospecific Salta Adr. Sanchez, “confined to…Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay,” and Magoniella Adr. Sanchez, with two spp. attributed to Bolivia, Brazil, and Venezuela. All of the required new combinations at sp. rank are also validated. So, how does this concern us? Unaccounted for in this paper, one of the two Magoniella spp., M. obidensis (Huber) Adr. Sanchez, was recently discovered in Costa Rica, and has been duly included in the Manual Polygonaceae manuscript (currently being edited for our next volume) by Armando Soto (INB), under the name Ruprechtia obidensis Huber. This sp., by the way, is a liana, and indeed, the scandent growth habit appears to be the principal morphological feature distinguishing Magoniella; it also differs from Ruprechtia (but not Triplaris) in its non-stipitate fruits (vs. stipitate via a basal prolongation of the calyx). Unfortunately, adequate morphological descriptions are not provided for these proposed new genera.

Sorrie, B. A. 2011. Transfer of North American Helianthemum to Crocanthemum (Cistaceae): new combinations. Phytologia 93: 270–271.

Is nothing sacred? Trouble is evidently looming for Helianthemum glomeratum (Lag.) Lag. ex Dunal, the only sp. of Cistaceae native to Costa Rica. According to a recent, still-unpublished thesis (that we have not seen) cited in this paper, "molecular and morphological analyses...indicate that Helianthemum...as currently circumscribed is polyphyletic," and "all New World taxa are better placed within Crocanthemum Spach." Hey, that means us! Although Mesoamerican spp. are not the subject of this paper, no action would be needed anyway for H. glomeratum, the combination Crocanthemum glomeratum (Lag.) Janch. being already available.

Vasco, A. 2011. Taxonomic revision of Elaphoglossum subsection Muscosa (Dryopteridaceae). Blumea 56: 165–202.

The titular taxon, “a monophyletic group supported by molecular phylogenetic analyses,” is revised in exemplary fashion. Fifteen spp. are recognized in this strictly neotropical group, which occurs from southern Mexico to Bolivia and southeastern Brazil and in the West Indies. Most are Andean, with just the following three recorded from Costa Rica: Elaphoglossum bellermannianum (Klotzsch) T. Moore, E. engelii (H. Karst) Christ, and E. lehmannianum Christ. Of these three names, only E. engelii is used in substantially the same sense as in Flora mesoamericana (1995). Indeed, the other two were not used there at all: E. bellermannianum, based on a Venezuelan type, replaces E. fuliginosum Mickel (here cited in synonymy), and we thereby lose another Costa Rican endemic (the sp. is also recorded for the first time from Panama); while the name E. lehmannianum (with E. squamiferum A. Rojas, published in 1996, in synonymy) is applied to Costa Rican and Panamanian material that was included under E. muscosum (Sw.) T. Moore in Flora mesoamericana. Elaphoglossum muscosum in the sense of this revision is restricted to northern Mesoamerica, the West Indies, and southeastern Brazil. This is a very handsome piece of work, with nearly all the features one could hope for in a taxonomic revision: detailed descriptions, synonymy and typology at all levels, a dichotomous (though non-indented) key to spp., distribution summaries, specimen citations (mostly representative), insightful discussions, distribution maps, a section on “Names of uncertain application,” and an index to exsiccatae. The rather brief introductory part addresses taxonomic history, morphology, and geography. Each sp. is illustrated with a full page, composite line drawing, and a plate of SEM spore micrographs graces the morphology discussion. Two new spp. are described, one Andean and the other Antillean.

Ward, D. B. 2011. Spirodela oligorrhiza (Lemnaceae) is the correct name for the Lesser Greater Duckweed. J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 5: 197–203.

For starters, “‘Lesser Greater Duckweed’ has been volunteered” (evidently by this author, in this paper) as the common name for the sp. treated in co-PI Mike Grayum’s (MO) Manual Lemnaceae contribution as Landoltia punctata (G. Mey.) Les & D. J. Crawford. To make a long and rather verbose story short, the author has concluded, not unreasonably, that the long-lost type of Lemna punctata G. Mey. cannot have represented the sp. to which the name has traditionally been applied, as that sp. is not otherwise known from anywhere in the vicinity of the Guyanan type locality. Instead, he proposes that it must instead have represented the sp. that has come to be known as Spirodela intermedia W. Koch, which the author claims to be the only sp. of Spirodela (sensu lato) native to South America; we think he is wrong about that but, in any case, it may very well be the only sp. native to the Guayana region. For good measure, the author neotypifies Lemna punctata on a Surinamese specimen of Spirodela intermedia, in the process knowingly overriding a previously accepted (e.g., in TROPICOS) neotypication that, he maintains, was never intended as such. What are the consequences of all this for Costa Rican floristics? Accepting the conclusions and actions of this paper at face value, Spirodela punctata (G. Mey.) C. H. Thomps. becomes the correct name for the sp. treated in the Manual as S. intermedia W. Koch (which name falls into synonymy). Thus deprived of its epithet, Landoltia punctata of the Manual must assume the earliest available name at sp. rank, that being Lemna oligorrhiza Kurz; or, as transferred to Spirodela, S. oligorrhiza (Kurz) Hegelm. But what about Landoltia? That taxon is rejected by this author, largely on philosophical and pragmatic grounds. However, anyone who would accept the generic concept once connoted by the name Landoltia has a bigger problem on their hands: that name is no longer available for the genus originally intended, having now become (by virtue of the neotypfication of the generic type) a synonym of Spirodela. In other words, the restoration of separate generic status for the sp. now known as Spirodela oligorrhiza will require the creation of a new genus name. Of course, it is inevitable, in this day and age, that someone will come forward with a stratagem to preserve the status quo via conservation of one thing or another, so we will just sit back and watch the sparks fly.


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