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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

Main | Family List (MO) | Family List (INBio) | Cutting Edge
Draft Treatments | Guidelines | Checklist | Citing | Editors

The Cutting Edge

Volume XIX, Number 4, October 2012

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

EUPHORBIACEAE. This is possibly the leap of the year so far: during a field trip to Parque Nacional Diriá on the Península de Nicoya, Irene Calderón Sanou, assistant to professor Carlos O. Morales in his Universidad de Costa Rica flora course, procured fruiting material of a shrub with peltate leaves, tentatively identified as belonging to Euphorbiaceae. Carlos showed the specimen to Manual co-PI Barry Hammel who, himself stumped below family rank, appealed to INBio prodigy Daniel Santamaría, currently in residence at MO (see under "News and Notes"). Daniel, in characteristic fashion, informed only by a brief description and his considerable experience browsing some of the best American herbaria, nailed the determination in short order: Astrocasia peltata Standl. becomes the newest member of the Costa Rican flora, and at the same time a former Mexican endemic. We struggle to explain disjunctions of this magnitude, but the fact that tropical dry and moist forests have been severely decimated in Costa Rica and throughout the Mesoamerican region surely is a factor. It has become axiomatic among botanists in Costa Rica that any small patch of reasonably intact dry or moist forest is likely to yield at least one interesting record.

IRIDACEAE. The published (2003) Manual treatment of this family by Peter Goldblatt (MO) mentioned Trimezia steyermarkii R. C. Foster (Rhodora 64: 310. 1962) in the family discussion as a sp. that should be sought in Costa Rica, having been collected in both Nicaragua and Panama. If we knew then what we know now, it would have been treated in full: not only is T. steyermarkii cultivated in Costa Rica as an ornamental, it also occurs in apparently naturalized populations, e.g., in cafetales. Two recent collections and personal observations by Manual co-PI Barry Hammel combined to bring us to this conclusion. But, wonders never cease, on a last minute check of the Neomarica variegata (M. Martens & Galeotti) Henrich & Goldblatt folders at INB before releasing this rag for the masses, we came across three additional specimens that must be reidentified as Trimezia steyermarkii, at least one of them giving no suspicion of cultivation. Altogether, these findings yield the following distribution summary, suitable for framing:

Bosque húmedo y muy húmedo, a veces cult. y naturalizada, 300–1250 m; vert. Carib. Cord. Central, vert. S Fila Costeña, Pac. Valle Central, región de Golfo Dulce. Fl. feb., may., jul., dic. S Méx.–Pan., cult. Col. y Ven., Antillas Mayores (PR). (L. Acosta et. al. 1468, INB; T. Bradley 32976, INB; L. González & Acevedo 1071, INB; Hammel & Pérez 25494, INB; L. D. Vargas & Blanco 3570, INB).

Trimezia would come out near Neomarica in the Manual key to Iridaceae genera, but differs from the latter genus in having subterete (vs. broadly winged) flowering stems and somewhat longer and narrower fruits (up to ca. 3 × 1 cm vs. up to ca. 2 × 1.5 cm, as per specimens at INB). The misleading common name Lirio del Perú is recorded on the label of one of the Costa Rican specimens. Photo provided by Hammel.

LENTIBULARIACEAE. While engaged in some routine curation of the TROPICOS database, we stumbled onto an apparent new Costa Rican record in Utricularia. This involves U. trichophylla Spruce ex Oliv., a principally South American sp. previously recorded in the Mesoamerican region only by (apparently) disjunct populations in Belize and northeastern Nicaragua. The first Costa Rican collection, Davidse & Herrera 31438 (MO), was gathered near sea level in the Barra del Colorado region in 1986, but not determined to sp. until 2008 (a year after the publication of the Manual Lentibulariaceae treatment). We have not yet seen the specimen ourselves, but the determination is by MO botanist Amy Pool, whom we have come to trust implicitly in this regard. One of the Utricularia spp. that grows terrestrially or rooted in inundated sites, U. trichophylla is most similar (among the spp. treated in the Manual) to U. pusilla Vahl, from which it may be distinguished by its nerveless or indistinctly nerved calyx lobes. Interestingly, MO curator Gerrit Davidse was also responsible for the sole Nicaraguan collection of Utricularia trichophylla, so clearly he has a sharp eye for these things (honed, no doubt, by his experience in South American savanna habitats). We expect that a systematic dragnet of TROPICOS (which we normally undertake only for families being edited for upcoming Manual volumes) would turn up a considerable number of new Costa Rican records like this one.

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