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Volume XXVII, Number 4, October 2020
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Aguilar-Sandí, D. 2020. Localización de árboles de chirraca (Myroxylon peruiferum, Fabaceae) en San Ramón de Alajuela a partir de la novela Juan Varela. Revista Herencia 33(1): 87–99.
The author, who has already provided the most up-to-date and definitive treatment of the genus Myroxylon for Costa Rica [see under “Aguilar-Sandí,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 27(2), Apr. 2020], here elaborates on his most recent discovery of a new population of M. peruiferum L. f. (a sp. only recently found in Costa Rica), in the basin of the Río Barranca (“vert. Pac. Cord. de Tilarán”) near San Ramón. This discovery eventuated after the author had read a novel entitled Juan Varela (1939), by Costa Rican writer Adolfo Herrera García, who had lived and worked in the aforementioned región. Although Herrera García’s account was fictional, his setting was very real, peppered with actual place-names and common names of plants. So when, on two occasions, he mentioned “chirraca”—the Costa Rican common name of Myroxylon spp.—the author of this paper was all ears. He set out to establish whether populations of Myroxylon could indeed be found in the Río Barranca basin and, if so, whether they belonged to M. peruiferum. The answer to both questions turned out to be affirmative, although two excursions and invaluable assistance from local residents were required to make the case conclusively. At the end of the day(s), just three trees were found (the “holy grail” being an individual 30 m in height!), and herbarium specimens (deposited at USJ) were prepared from two of these. Several color potos (some very reduced) and a map are provided.
Applequist, W. L. 2020. Report of the Nomenclature Committee for Vascular Plants: 71. Taxon 69: 391–397.
Most of these rulings are unsurprising to us: the established genus names Mandevilla (Apocynaceae), Miconia (Melastomataceae), and Murraya (Rutaceae) are recommended for conservation against minor (albeit older) contenders Exothostemon, Angeja, and Chalcas (respectively). At sp. rank, the name Aspidium draconopterum D. C. Eaton [basionym of Draconopteris draconoptera (D. C. Eaton) Li Bing Zhang & Liang Zhang] is recommended for conservation with a conserved type, which would preserve the unfortunate genus name Draconopteris (Tectariaceae), as well as the epithet of its sole sp. and that of Hypoderris nicotianifolia (Baker) R. C. Moran, Labiak & J. Prado [for further insights, see under “Rothfels,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 25(2), Apr. 2018]. By means of the same stratagem, the name Kaempferia rotunda L. (Zingiberaceae) is also preserved. Finally—and the most shocking decisión, to us—the genus names Schwartzia (Marcgraviaceae) and Swartzia (Fabaceae) are tentatively recommended to be deemed homonymous, meaning that the younger of the two, Schwartzia, could no longer be used. Although we do not personally regard these names as confusable, the point may eventually become moot, as Schwartzia is perhaps on shaky ground cladistically.
Barkworth, M. E. & S. H. Rabei. 2019. (2728) Proposal to conserve the name Datura innoxia (Solanaceae) with that spelling. Taxon 68: 1363–1371.
The epithet of the name in the title was originally spelled inoxia by Philip Miller back in 1768. However, these authors argue that Miller’s spelling was “etymologically incorrect” and—here is the clincher!—“disagrees with prevailing practice” as established on the basis of Google searches! Why not just modify the Code to mandate that all of these disputes be resolved through Google searches? We have no personal agenda with this particular issue, although the sp. in question (known from Costa Rica by just one historical collection) was called “Datura inoxia Mill.” in Manual Vol. 8 (2015).
Bog, M., K. S. Sree, J. Fuchs, P. T. N. Hoang, I. Schubert, J. Kuever, A. Rabenstein, S. Paolacci, M. A. K. Jansen & K.-J. Appenroth. 2020. A taxonomic revisión of Lemna sect. Uninerves (Lemnaceae). Taxon 69: 56–66.
Ten authors, to produce a revision of a taxon that boils down to just two spp.—and not a single one of them with an entry in IPNI! Such is taxonomy in this day and age. We have just one question: where is the revision? This is merely a molecular laboratory study. There is no synonymy or typology, nor are there descriptions at any rank, keys, or specimen citations (even in supplementary materials). Well, not surprising, really: clearly, none of these people is a taxonomist! With that in mind, the principal conclusion of this work is that a Bolivian sp., described rather recently, is indistinguishable from and should be synonymized with the widespread Lemna valdiviana Phil., a sp. that was attributed to Costa Rica in co-PI Mike Grayum’s Manual treatment of Lemnaceae (2003). It would have been nice to get confirmation of the Costa Rican occurrence, and also to learn whether or not the second sp. in the section, Lemna minuta Kunth, may also have been collected in Tiquicia. Those two spp. are diabolically difficult to tell apart, and if we glean one thing from this paper, it is that “the length of the nerve” may be the most useful distinguishing character. The editors of Taxon ought to know what a proper “taxonomic revision” is, and should not allow that phrase to be used loosely. For our purposes, this contribution offers next to nothing (Bolivian botanists may have a different view). One final observation: it is curious that the authors maintain the family Lemnaceae, with scarcely a comment, when most of the botanical world has accepted the taxon in question as a subfamily of Araceae; again, though, they are not taxonomists, and likely became aware of this only through the review process.
Bogarín, D., I. F. Chinchilla & M. Cedeño-Fonseca. 2020. Two new species of Lepanthes (Orchidaceae: Pleurothallidinae) from Costa Rica and their phylogenetic affinity. Pl. Syst. Evol. 306(2, 20): 1–13.
According to the Manual account (2003) of Lepanthes by the late Carlyle Luer, 93 spp. of that genus—one of the largest in Orchidaceae and, indeed, angiosperms as a whole—were found in Costa Rica. Frankly, we were skeptical of that total, believing that most orchid specialists are splitters by nature. But in the 17 years that have elapsed since Luer’s publication, the Costa Rican sp. total for Lepanthes has risen to 151 (though it is not clear whether that number includes the spp. described in this paper). The present effort seems to have been a “seek and ye shall find” sort of endeavor. Suspicious that variously identified Lepanthes collections from Costa Rican lowland sites might “correspond to different species,” the authors looked more closely and…wouldn’t you know it! But who are we to argue? Emerging from this exercise are the novelties Lepanthes adenophora Bogarín, M. Cedeño & Chinchilla and L. crucitasensis Chinchilla, M. Cedeño & Bogarín (three authors per sp. being par for the course nowadays). The former sp., from 750–800 m on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera Central, is compared with the latter, while the latter sp., from 50–100 m elevation on the Llanura de San Carlos, is compared with Lepanthes confusa Ames & C. Schweinf. (previously regarded as “the only species [of Lepanthes] that ranges from 0 to 100 m of elevation [in Costa Rica]”). However, an ambitious molecular analysis by the authors suggests that the two new spp. are related more closely to Lepanthes bradei Schltr. and L. mystax Luer & R. Escobar than to L. confusa. Yet more novelties may be on the horizon in this group: the lone paratype of Lepanthes confusa “clearly differ[s] morphologically” from the holotype, but whether different spp. are involved cannot be decided without “material from natural populations of the sites where both collections were made.” A specimen better matching the paratype was the source of the L. confusa sample included in the authors’ molecular analysis. A distribution map is provided, and the two new spp. are illustrated with line drawings, color photos from life, and SEM micrographs. The holotype of Lepanthes confusa is also depicted in color photos.
Calvo, J., A. Moreira-Muñoz & V. A. Funk. 2020. Taxonomic revision of the neotropical genus Werneria (Compositae, Senecioneae). Smithsonian Contr. Bot. 111: 1–123.
Kind of a drag to have in hand what appears to be a superlative revision that we are unable to put to use! Not in Costa Rica, anyway. Werneria comprises 27 spp. (according to these authors) of scapiform perennial herbs that are widely distributed in the Andean highlands of South America. However, just one sp., W. nubigena Kunth, enters the Mesoamerican region, where it extends all the way to southern Mexico. Well, perhaps "extends" is not the right word: hops, skips, and jumps would be closer to the truth, as it has otherwise been found (north of Colombia) only in Guatemala and "paramos at the border between Panama and Costa Rica." The situation expressed by that last statement clearly merited closer scrutiny on our part, for the purposes of our upcoming Manual Vol. 4. It turns out that Werneria nubigena has never actually been collected on Costa Rican soil, as far as we can determine, only in westernmost Panama between Cerro Bine and Cerro Fábrega. Even so, these stations are so near the Costa Rican border (Cerro Bine itself is on the border) that the occurrence of W. nubigena in Tiquicia is practically a foregone conclusion, compelling us to grant full treatment to both the sp. and its genus. This opulent contribution features synonymy, typology, technical descriptions, distribution summaries, and notes at all ranks, a dichotomous (though non-indented) key to spp., distribution maps, extensive specimen citations, sections on "unverified" and excluded names, and indices to exsiccatae and scientific names. The relatively brief introductory part addresses taxonomic history and morphology. Numerous names (including Werneria nubigena and two of its synonyms) are lecto- or neotypified, and one epitype is designated. Every sp. is illustrated with line drawings and/or color photos in situ (these people clearly know their plants!).
Carvalho, C. S., C. N. Fraga, D. B. O. S. Cardoso & H. C. Lima. 2020. Tonka, baru and cumaru: nomenclatural overview, typification and updated checklist of Dipteryx (Leguminosae). Taxon 69: 582–592.
Basically, this is an annotated checklist featuring the usual assortment of new typifications. The genus name Dipteryx is actually trumped in terms of priority by Baryosma Gaertn., for which a rejection proposal is said to be in the works. Costa Rica has just one sp. of Dipteryx (of 14 accepted by these authors), for which the name D. panamensis (Pittier) Record & Mell was accepted (against some resistance) in the Manual treatment by co-PI Nelson Zamora. Nelson will not be pleased to learn that D. panamensis is here synonymized (as it had been in Flora de Nicaragua) under the (much earlier) name Dipteryx oleífera Benth., which is also lectotypified on an ostensibly Honduran specimen assumed to have been seen by Bentham. Nelson wanted to cling to the name he had cut his teeth on, and was bothered by the fragmentary nature of the original material of D. oleífera and the fact that the genus was (and remains) otherwise unknown from Honduras.
Cedeño-Fonseca, M., T. B. Croat, A. Zuluaga, M. Mittermeier & M. A. Blanco. 2020.. Two new species of Monstera (Araceae: Monsteroideae) from Costa Rica. Phytotaxa 461: 185–194.
The two new spp., both endemic to Costa Rica as far as is known, are: Monstera juliusii M. Cedeño & Croat (its epithet mysteriously honoring the son of two artists responsible for a painting supporting the conservation of a Guatemalan site), from 1600–2250 m elevation on the Pacific slope of the eastern Cordillera de Talamanca; and M. monteverdensis M. Cedeño & Croat, from 500–2300 m elevation on both slopes of the Cordilleras de Guanacaste, de Tilarán and Central, and in the Montes del Aguacate (on the Pacific slope). Monstera juliusii has been confused with M. standleyana G. S. Bunting; indeed, we suspect that the new sp. was the basis for the second paragraph in the Manual discussion of M. standleyana, and corresponds to the entity that was intended to come out in the first lead of couplet 26 in the Manual key to Monstera spp. As pointed out in this paper, Monstera monteverdensis was subsumed in the Manual under both M. epipremnoides Engl. (characterized in the Manual as “una entidad imperfectamente conocida”) and M. lentii Croat & Grayum; three of the specimens cited in the Manual discussion of M. epipremnoides (C. Chávez 187, Haber ex Bello 4274, and G. Herrera et al. 405) are paratypes of M. monteverdensis, and the second paragraph in the Manual discussion of M. lentii presumably pertains to M. monteverdensis. Also, the first lead of couplet 18 in the Manual key to Monstera spp. must serve (at least mainly) for M. monteverdensis. Both new spp. are illustrated with color photos of living (or at least, fresh) material, and a distribution map is provided.
——, P. Díaz Jiménez, A. Zuluaga & M. A. Blanco. 2020. A comparison of Monstera deliciosa and M. tacanaensis, with comments on Monstera section Tornelia (Araceae). Aroideana 43(1&2): 32–73.
As noted by these authors, Monstera deliciosa Liebm., cultivated pantropically for its ornamental foliage and edible fruits, is one of the most familiar spp. in the family Araceae. In Costa Rica, M. deliciosa is cultivated and has been supposed to be native as well (e.g., as according to the Manual Araceae treatment, and most other sources). However, these authors take a narrower view of the sp., limiting it (in terms of wild populations) to southern Mexico and Guatemala, while all the wild populations formerly referred to M. deliciosa in Costa Rica (and others ranging northward to southern Mexico) are segregated as a distinct sp., to which the name Monstera tacanaensis Matuda is applied. By this reckoning, M. deliciosa exists in Costa Rica (and most other places) only in cultivation. The two entities are grossly distinguished by their “robust” (M. deliciosa) vs. “small” (M. tacanaensis) habit. This is a notion to which we might have been immediately sympathetic, because we have long been aware that wild populations of M. deliciosa sensu lato in Costa Rica exhibit extreme size variation, ranging from very small (and virtually terrestrial) in montane locales to huge (rivaling the cultivated plants) in lowland forests (e.g., below 1000 m elevation). However, the separation proposed by these authors is counterintuitive, because it tolerates virtually the entire gamut of plant sizes in just one of the two spp. (M. tacanaensis); and while it is true that the cultivated plants (M. deliciosa sensu stricto) are always “robust,” the wild populations (at least in Costa Rica) can scarcely be pigeon-holed on the basis of size. That said, the authors invoke several other characters to distinguish the two entities, and we have yet to evaluate their proposal objectively, in the field or the herbarium. Includes synonymy, typology, and technical descriptions at all ranks, a key to the three spp. of Monstera sect. Tornelia (Gut. ex Schott) Madison (the third being the Honduran Monstera maderaverde Grayum & Karney, newly assigned to the section and not otherwise treated), distribution and phenology summaries, notes, generous specimen citations, and a tabular comparison of M. deliciosa and M. tacanaensis. The introductory portion is concerned mainly with taxonomic history. Copiously illustrated with color photos, mostly of living plants in situ.
Choo, L. M., M. A. Niissalo, P. K. F. Leong & G. S Khew. 2020. The complete plastome sequence of Gordonia penangensis Ridl. supports the transfer of Asian Gordonia into Polyspora (Theaceae). Phytotaxa 458: 159–166
The idea that the genus Gordonia, as traditionally circumscribed, is diphyletic along hemispheric lines has been floating around in the literature for the past two decades, and was mentioned in the Manual treatment of the genus (2015) by Quírico Jiménez. At that time, all the details had still not been ironed out, but now they have been, with the transfer in this paper of the last four Asian Gordonia spp. to Polyspora. While very similar morphologically, the two genera actually belong to different tribes. So annotate your copy of Manual Vol. 8 to limit the sp. total for Gordonia to ca. 25 spp., and its geographic range to the New World—i.e., truncate the Manual distribution statement afer “Antillas Mayores” (with the excised portion applying to the ca. 43 spp. of the strictly Asian Polyspora). One thing these authors got wrong: they continue to use the name Gordonia brandegeei H. Keng for the sp. (occurring in Costa Rica) correctly named G. brenesii (Standl.) Q. Jiménez.
Crespo, M. B., M. Á. Alonso, M. Martínez-Azorín & L. Sáez. 2020. Miscellaneous notes on nomenclature and taxonomy of some Old World names in tribe Paniceae (Panicoideae, Poaceae). Phytotaxa 454: 244–254.
The typification bandwagon rolls on. For Costa Rica, this effort yields but one tiny crumb: a “second-step” lectotypification of the basionym of Setaria sphacelata (Schumach.) Stapf & C. E. Hubb. ex M. B. Moss. Also of mild interest is the authors’ semi-resurrection of the foundered genus name Kikuyuochloa H. Scholz [see The Cutting Edge 14(2): 11, Apr. 2007], which had been erected to accommodate the sp. now known as Cenchrus clandestinus (Hochst. ex Chiov.) Morrone (Pennisetum clandestinum Hochst. ex Chiov. Of Manual Vol. 3). Here it becomes the basionym for a new secional name in Cenchrus.
Daly, D. C. 2020. New species of Protium sect. Tetragastris from the Andes, the Brazilian cerrado, and Amazonia. Studies in neotropical Burseraceae XXVIII. Brittonia 72: 290–302.
This article contains a dichotomous, partially indented key to the spp. (now 10 in all) of Protium sect. Tetragastris (Gaertn.) Daly & P. Fine, just one of which, Protium stevensonii (Standl.) Daly [formerly Tetragastris panamensis (Engl.) Kuntze], extends into the Mesoamerican region (to Costa Rica and beyond). Otherwise, this paper does not concern us.
Delannay, X. & T. B. Croat. 2020. Revision of Anthurium Schott sect. Leptanthurium (Schott) Engl. (Araceae). Aroideana 43(1&2): 74–184.
The big story here is that the titular section (one of the more minor infrageneric taxa in the huge genus Anthurium) is “expanded from three species recognized until recently to a total of 19 species, including eight new species.” And for us, that is where the story pretty much ends, because just one of those spp., the widespread Anthurium gracile (Rudge) Schott, extends into Mesoamerica (including Costa Rica); all the others are strictly South American. The geographic range of A. gracile specified in the Manual Araceae treatment (2003) should be nudged northward to “S Méx. (Quintana Roo),” but apart from that there is nothing new here for us. Features synonymy, typology, and technical descriptions at all ranks, a dichotomous and indented key to spp., distribution summaries, discussions, and comprehensive specimen citations (22 pages for Anthurium gracile alone!). The brief introductory part focuses on taxonomic history and diagnostic features of the section. Well illustrated with (mostly) color photos of live plants and critical herbarium specimens.
Duke, N. C. 2020. A systematic revision of the vulnerable mangrove genus Pelliciera (Tetrameristaceae) in equatorial America. Blumea 65: 107–120.
When it rains, it pours. In our last issue, we reviewed a paper in which the formerly monospecific genus Pelliciera was doubled in size by the promotion of an erstwhile var. of P. rhizophorae Planch. & Triana to sp. rank [see under "Cornejo," this column, in The Cutting Edge 27(3), Jul. 2020]. The paper in question was rather vague with respect to the distinction between the two taxa and their geographic ranges, and no specimens were cited. We were left wondering about the distribution of these spp. in Central America. The paper presently under review, although trumped in terms of the new combination (which is duplicated as an isonym), is a much more rigorous and fully realized affair, answering all of the questions we had previously posed. This author did all the work, while others skimmed the cream. The bottom line for us is that, as we suspected, only Pelliciera rhizophorae is represented in Costa Rica (as per the Manual treatment of Tetrameristaceae). The second sp., correctly P. benthamii (Planch. & Triana) Cornejo, is restricted to the Pacific coast of Panama (where it occurs sympatrically, and apparently hybridizes, with P. rhizophorae) and the Caribbean coast of Colombia. This is a proper revision that features synonymy, typology, technical descriptions, and distribution summaries at all ranks, a key to the spp., assessments of conservation status, specimen citations, and a discussion. The introductory part is concerned with taxonomic history, numerical analyses, pollen characteristics, and distribution (including a map). The two spp. are illustrated in separate composite photographic plates, mostly in color and from life.
Ferreira, R. O., A. C. C. Borges, J. A. R. dos Campos, A. M. L. Medeiros, C. M. Sakuragui, R. C. Vieira & V. Tenorio. 2020. Anatomy of the adventitious roots of Philodendron (Araceae) and its importance for the systematics of the genus. Austral. Syst. Bot. 33: 207–219.
This paper (what an odd place to publish it!) is not particularly apropos of this blog, but we could not help noticing that it consistently uses the name Philodendron subg. Meconostigma (Schott) Engl. for the taxon that was recently elevated (in a paper having one author in common with this one!) to generic rank under the name Thaumatophyllum [see under "Sakuragui," this column, in The Cutting Edge 25(3), Jul. 2018]. Indeed, Thaumatophyllum is not mentioned a single time in this article, nor is the paper in which it was promoted so much as cited. What can it all mean?
Galán, P. 2020. Diez nuevos registros para la flora vascular de El Salvador. Phytoneuron 2020-51: 1–14.
Just one of these records impacts (ever so slightly) our universe: Kearnemalvastrum subtriflorum (Lag.) D. M. Bates (Malvaceae), the Manual-ordained geographic range of which should now be modified to read: “Méx.–El Salv. y Hond., CR y O Pan.”
Galán-de-Mera, A., E. Linares-Perea & J. A. Vicente-Orellana. 2020. Revisiting the typification of Bocconia frutescens (Papaveraceae). Taxon 69: 369–371.
Now that we’ve gotten all the hyphens out of the way, there isn’t much left to say. A previous lectotypification “is shown not to comprise original material and must be overturned.” And so it is.
Gibbons, K. L. 2020. Hedyotis, Oldenlandia and related genera (Rubiaceae: Spermacoceae) in Australia: new genera and new combinations in an Asian-Australian-Pacific lineage. Taxon 69: 515–542.
More evidence [see also under “Guo,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 20(3), Jul. 2013] that Oldenlandia lancifolia (Schumach.) DC. is distant cladistically from the type clade of Oldenlandia and rightly belongs in the genus Scleromitrion, characterized by (among other things) exserted styles and stamens. Oldenlandia sensu stricto, with included styles and stamens, inevitably harbors O. corymbosa L., the generic type and the only other sp. treated for Oldenlandia in Manual Vol. 7. As to the presumably related Oldenlandiopsis callitrichoides (Griseb.) Terrell & W. H. Lewis, recently discovered in Costa Rica [see under “Leaps and Bounds” in The Cutting Edge 26(1), Jan. 2019]: it was not sampled for this study, and is nowhere mentioned. The author provides a dichotomous (though non-indented) key to the “the genera of the Spermacoceae in Australia (excluding the genera of the Spermacoce clade),” and validates many new combinations in Scleromitrion and other genera, but curiously, omits Oldenlandia lancifolia, for which she admits that “a combination in Scleromitrion is lacking.” We gather this is because these taxonomic innovations were limited to “the Australian flora.”
Gonçalves, D. J. P., G. H. Shimizu, E. M. Ortiz, R. K. Jansen & B. B. Simpson. 2020. Historical biogeography of Vochysiaceae reveals an unexpected perspective of plant evolution in the Neotropics. Amer. J. Bot. 107: 1004–1020.
If there is a revelation here for us, it is that the genus Qualea appears paraphyletic with respect to the rather smaller, strictly South American genus Ruizterania. The latter, though itself monophyletic, is sister to one of the two major clades of Qualea (the one which, we believe, includes its sole Costa Rican representative). Ruizterania is of relatively recent (1969) vintage, and the taxon now so named had been treated as a section of Qualea in the last (1953) monograph (which still reigns) of the latter genus. These authors betray an inclination to return to that classification (rather than, e.g., to divide Qualea into smaller genera), but demur for the time being because (as usual) “expanded sampling is necessary.” However this plays out, “Qualea sp. A” of the Manual should be immune to classificatory changes at generic rank, because it likely belongs to the autonymic subgenus (and indeed, section) of Qualea.
Grajeda-Estrada, R., J. P. Rustrián-López, M. J. Serrano, A. Villalobos-Soberanis, M. L. Maldonado, M. R. Álvarez-Ruano & M. A. Dix. 2020. The elusive Sobralia amabilis (Orchidaceae): a range extension of its distribution to Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, with notes on its habitat. Lankesteriana 20: 1–6.
The magenta-flowered Sobralia amabilis (Rchb. f.) L. O. Williams may be “elusive” in Guatemala, but it is one of the more common spp. of its genus in Costa Rica. But annotate your copy of Manual Vol. 3 to extend its overall geographic range (presently as "El Salv.–Pan.") northward by a notch. These authors also indicate that said sp. occurs disjunctly in Ecuador, but provide no evidence for that claim (nor could we find any).
Hernández Urban, H. A., D. F. Angulo, M. Lascurain-Rangel, S. Avendaño-Reyes, L. L. Can, G. W. Stull & R. Duno de Stefano. 2019. Systematics and phylogeny of Oecopetalum (Metteniusaceae), a genus of trees endemic to North and Central America. Revista Biol. Trop. 67: 888–900.
Once again [see also under "Bog," this column]: it now takes a surfeit of authors to revise a taxon comprising just two spp.! And just as many to document a minor range extension (see the previous entry). Very peculiar. In the case of Oecopetalum, there are no substantive changes (for Costa Rica, or anywhere else): said genus (traditionally, as in Manual Vol. 6, included in Icacinaceae) is represented in Tiquicia by but a single sp., O. greenmanii Standl. & Steyerm. Some relatively minor tweaks would be required for the overall geographic ranges of both the sp. and genus, as given in the Manual, but that is about it. Features synonymy and typology, technical descriptions of the genus and distribution summaries for the genus and both spp., a key to the spp., a distribution map, and taxonomic observations. The introductory part considers taxonomic history, phylogeny, and (very briefly) morphological variation. Both spp. are depicted (Oecopetalum greenmanii in detail only) in an adequate composite line drawing.
Jafari, F., S. Zarre, A. Gholipour, F. Eggens, R. K. Rabeler & B. Oxelman. 2020. A taxonomic backbone for the infrageneric classification of the species-rich genus Silene (Caryophyllaceae). Taxon 69: 337–368.
This paper is scarcely of concern to us, seeing as how we are famously dismissive of infrageneric classifications. Moreover, Silene gallica L., the only sp. of its genus to be treated fully in the upcoming Manual account of Caryophyllaceae, is (effectively) the generic type, so is not going anywhere. We feature this paper only to note that its authors accept a priori the segregate genus Atocion—including the former Silene armeria L., sparingly cultivated in Costa Rica—as distinct from Silene, a view that is supported by their cladograms.
Jocou, A. I. & R. Gandullo. 2019. Sinopsis de las especies de Pyracantha (Rosaceae, Maloideae) naturalizadas en la Argentina/Synopsis of Pyracantha (Rosaceae, Maloideae) species naturalized in Argentina. Bol. Soc. Argent. Bot. 54: 599–616.
While editing the Manual Rosaceae treatment (2014), we had difficulties identifying the few Costa Rican collections of Pyracantha (a Eurasian genus naturalized in the country), because we could find no single source that treated all the spp. (about 10) in the genus. We were hoping that this contribution might be of some help—and perhaps it will, when we get around to actually using it—but by all appearances, it is more of same. Five spp. of Pyracantha have become naturalized in Argentina, and while it is likely that the Costa Rican entity is one of those, still, half the genus is omitted from this work. For those represented we get synonymy and typology, brief descriptions, distribution summaries (and maps for Argentina), observations, citations of Argentinian specimens, and (at the end) a dichotomous (though non-indented) key to spp. All five spp. are depicted using line drawings of leaves, and all but one by color photos from life. And by the way: Pyracantha koi[d]zumii (Hayata) Rehder, the choice for Costa Rican material in both the Manual and Flora mesoamericana Vol. 2(3), is among the spp. treated in this paper.
Kaehler, M. & L. G. Lohmann. 2020. Taxonomic revisión of Xylophragma (Bignonieae, Bignoniaceae). Syst. Bot. 45: 620–637.
We have often gone on record, in these pages, as believing that the utility of a taxonomic revision depends on how well it functions locally, throughout the geographic range of the taxon involved. For Costa Rica, this revision appears, at first blush, to fail the test. It may work for South America, to which most of the seven accepted spp. of Xylophragma are restricted, but just one sp., the widespread X. seemannianum (Kuntze) Sandwith, is attributed to Costa Rica, vs. the two that have been recognized by local botanists. The casualty is the recently (2009) described Costa Rican endemic Xylophragma unifoliolatum J. F. Morales & Q. Jiménez, allegedly distinctive in the manner suggested by its epithet, which is synonymized under X. seemannianum because its “types…represent mixed material, including leaves from an Apocynaceae, inflorescence and flowers from X. seemannianum.” Right off the bat, this hypothesis smelled fishy to us, for a variety of reasons. Not the least of these is the involvement (as co-author of X. unifoliolatum) of Francisco Morales, an internationally respected authority on Apocynaceae. Secondly, Apocynaceae seems an especially unlikely candidate for the proposed mixture in that most of its members have milky sap, something that would not likely have escaped the notice of an astute and experienced field man like Roberto Espinoza (collector of the type). Third, the authors of this revision overlooked or ignored another important diagnostic feature of X. unifoliolatum, one that involves the flowers: as according to the protologue, the corollas are significantly smaller than those of X. seemannianum, just 2.3–3 cm in length, vs. “(3.5–)4–5.5 cm” for the last-mentioned sp., according to this revision (under a concept that ostensibly incudes X. unifoliolatum!). And last, the photograph of the unmounted holotype in the protologue of X. unifoliolatum appears to show leaves and flowers organically connected by the same branch! That would seal the deal, of course, but as it turns out, doubts remain. We are aware that the authors of this paper based their concept of X. unifoliolatum on two principal elements: a mounted isotype at MO, and a photo of the mounted holotype at CR. We have seen both of these, and must confess that neither evinces the organic connection suggested by the protologue photo. How to explain this? Was the connection on the holotype broken to facilitate mounting (it appears to have been damaged in other ways)? Or was a connection “simulated” for the purposes of the protologue photo shoot? At this point, we have no way of knowing. But even the absence of an organic connection, while suggesting the possibility of a mixed collection, does not prove the hypothesis; for that, positive identification of both elements would be required. And here is where the news begins to get worse, for the authors of this revision: apparently unbeknownst to them (though it was cited in the protologue), there exists a second flowering collecting of Xylophragma unifoliolatum, J. F. Morales 9299 (CR). And once again, before even seeing that specimen, our suspicions are raised. What are the chances that Chico himself would fail to recognize an Apocynaceae as such, with fresh material in hand in the field? And even more telling: what are the chances that two collectors, working independently, 11 years apart, and at different sites, would both generate mixed collections featuring the same two elements? It positively strains credulity. With all of those considerations swirling around in his mind, Manual co-PI Barry Hammel returned apprehensively to INBio, following a lengthy COVID shutdown, hoping and expecting to find the elusive organic connection that would confirm the existence of Xylophragma unifoliolatum. Frustratingly, he could not find a single specimen there. However, Manual contributor Armando Estrada was able to locate the holotype and two isotypes at the downtown San José campus of CR, and his preliminary report is not encouraging: none of the specimens presents an organic connection between the leaves and flowers, and even worse, dendritic trichomes (characteristic of Xylophragma) are abundant on the flowering stems, but absent on the leafy stems! But what about J. F. Morales 9299, to be cited as the Manual voucher for Xylophragma unifoliolatum? Not a single duplicate has surfaced, in any herbarium. And here is where the news goes from bad to worse for Chico: the day after Armando’s revelations, Barry traveled to San José to study the available type material of Xylophragma unifoliolatum, and was able to positively identify the leafy element on all three sheets as Aegiphila deppeana Steud. (Verbenaceae, or lately, Lamiaceae)! So “Piltdown Plant” this definitely is, even if Chico is off the hook with respect to Apocynaceae. There remain several small mysteries: was the mixture on the type specimen of Xylophragma unifoliolatum (Espinoza 250) perpetrated in the field by the collector, or in the herbarium by mounters…or someone else? Perhaps significantly, the original collection was determined as X. seemannianum (by Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora) way back in 1993, while Espinoza 253—collected at the same site on the same date—was determined in 1994 (by Manual Verbenaceae collaborator Ricardo Rueda) as Aegiphila deppeana (and is, in fact, the Manual voucher for that sp.!). Those facts suggest a later herbarium snafu. What about the unusually small flowers on the fertile branches of X. unifoliolatum? Barry did find two other Xylophragma collections, from the same general area, with comparably small flowers but trifoliolate leaves; moreover, a few flowers on the type specimens of X. unifoliolatum actually do have corollas that extend into the lower portion of the mensural range indicated for X. seemannianum. Also: how to explain the apparent organic connection in the protologue photo of X. unifoliolatum? Via careful comparison with the actual specimen involved, Barry was able to establish that the picture was carefully “photoshopped” to convey the desired impression, which clearly had never existed in reality. And: what is the story with J. F. Morales 9299? That we do not know, and may never know. Finally: was this a case of deliberate deception, or merely an unfortunate error? Of course, we are ignorant of that as well, but neither scenario is particularly flattering to the authors of the supposed new sp. Having said all of the above, it is now far too late for us to make any significant changes to our “in press” Manual Vol. 4, wherein the spurious taxonomic status of Xylophragma unifoliolatum will be acknowledged only in a footnote.
This revision (which is looking finer all the time!) features synonymy, typology, lengthy descriptions, and distribution summaries at all ranks, a dichotomous (and indented!) key to spp., conservation assessments, “notes,” distribution maps, specimen citations, a section entitled “Excluded Name,” and an index to exsiccatae (but none to names). The brief introductory portion considers taxonomic history and morphology. Lectotypes are designated for six names (although, oddly, Xylophragma unifoliolatum is not among them), and all seven spp. are depicted in composite line drawings.
Karremans, A. P. & S. Vieira Uribe. 2020. Pleurothallids neotropical jewels – Volume 1. A. P. Karremans & S. Vieira Uribe.
Full disclosure: we have not seen this new publication in its entirety, only critical excerpts, so cannot provide complete details. Orchidaceae subtribe Pleurothallidinae Lindl. ex G. Don, endemic to the New World, boasts an estimated 5500 spp., representing about 20% of the worldwide family total. The present contribution, “the result of a joint effort between researchers and growers…worldwide,” professes to incorporate “the most up-to-date classification of the subtribe.” Featured in this opening salvo are 17 genera and “some 500” spp., illustrated by “over one thousand” color photos. We are ignorant of the total number of genera in the subtribe, but doing the math based on the sp. totals suggests that we can expect 10 more volumes in this series! The genus entries may be ordered alphabetically in this volume, but we doubt that will prevail throughout the series. For each genus, we get synonymy, typology (for accepted names only), etymology, notes regarding circumscription, and a distribution summary. We cannot say for sure whether coverage is comprehensive at sp. rank, but we think not. One new genus name, five new sp. names, and 13 new combinations are validated, of which two each of the new spp. and new combinations pertain to Costa Rica. Our two new spp., both putatively endemic, known only by the type, and characterized as “tiny,” are: Anathallis transtalamancana Karremans & Chinchilla, compared to A. endresii (Luer) Pridgeon & M. W. Chase and A. grayumii (Luer) Luer (both treated in Pleurothallis in Manual Vol. 3), from 1700–1750 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of the eastern Cordillera de Talamanca; and Specklinia tubelliflora Karremans & M. Díaz, compared with S. calyptrostele (Schltr.) Pridgeon & M. W. Chase (also treated as Pleurothallis is the Manual), from 1500–1550 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca. The two new combinations germane to Costa Rica, both in the genus Muscarella, raise more questions for us. Muscarella cryptophyta (Barb. Rodr.) Bogarín & Karremans, based on Lepanthes cryptophyta Barb. Rodr., is attributed to Costa Rica and various South American countries, but we could find no other evidence for its occurrence (under any name) in Tiquicia (nor do these authors elaborate). Muscarella divexa (Ames) Karremans & S. Vieira-Uribe is based on Pleurothallis divexa Ames, a name that was synonymized under P. aristata Hook. [i.e., Muscarella aristata (Hook.) Luer] in Manual Vol. 3; these authors exclude M. divexa from the synonymy of M. aristata and attribute the former sp. to “Costa Rica and Colombia”—begging the question of whether M. aristata sensu stricto remains a member of the Costa Rican flora. That question may well be answered (and similar ones raised!) in portions of this book that we have not seen. Some new typifications are ventured in this work (e.g., Lepanthes cryptophyta is lectotypified), but we do not know the total number. For more information on this new publication, click on the following link:
Kirkbride, J. H., Jr. & J. H. Wiersema. 2020. Neotypification of Manettia reclinata (Rubiaceae). Taxon 69: 386–389.
This is a convoluted issue, and in the final analysis, we are left somewhat in the dark. This scholarly work does an admirable job of retracing history, resulting in a solid neotypification of Manettia reclinata L., but lets us down in terms of taxonomy. Linnaeus, it seems, based his original description of M. reclinata entirely on information provided by Colombia-based botanist José Celestino Mutis; however, confusing “Santa Fé de Bogotá” with Santa Fe, New Mexico, Linnaeus wrongly specified the homeland of his sp. as “Mexico.” Because Linnaeus saw no specimens and cited no illustrations, no original material of Manettia reclinata exists, requiring that the name be neotypified. To that end, these authors, unable to locate any actual Mutis specimens of M. reclinata, instead select a color painting, “done from living material” and “identified as ‘Manettia reclinata’ in the Mutis archives at MA.” While this type designation is unassailable, it presents problems for us. In the Manual Rubiaceae treatment (2014), as elsewhere, the name Manettia reclinata was applied to a red-flowered sp. said to range from Mexico to South America and the West Indies. However, Mutis’s color painting (now the type of M. reclinata) depicts a plant with white flowers, which is actually consistent with the Linnaean protologue (how the name ever became applied to a red-flowered sp. is beyond us). Presumably, the name Manettia reclinata can no longer be used for the Costa Rican entity to which it has been applied. So what is the correct name for our plants? This is where these authors drop the ball. The more apt binomial Manettia coccinea (Aubl.) Willd., cited in synonymy under M. reclinata in the Manual (and elsewhere), is illegitimate, so another candidate will have to be sought. Stay tuned! We also remain in the dark regarding the overall geographic range of our red-flowered sp., as well as that of the real Manettia reclinata (though the latter sp. now interests us less). Having said all of the above: the possibility that Manettia reclinata represents a very widespread sp. that is dimorphic for flower color and includes “M. coccinea” cannot be ruled out, based on the information and opinions presented in this paper.
Li, L., S.-W. Chung, B. Li, S.-J. Zeng, H.-F. Yan & S.-J. Li. 2020. New insight into the molecular phylogeny of the genus Liparis s.l. (Orchidaceae: Malaxideae) with a new generic segregate: Blepharoglossum. Pl. Syst. Evol. 306(3, 54): 1–10.
The large and cosmopolitan genus Liparis has been revealed as polyphyletic by molecular studies, but the potential consequences for Costa Rica are as yet unclear. The new segregate genus of the title is strictly paleotropical. At the very least, we can expect significant modifications to the sp. total and overall geographic range of Liparis as indicated in Manual Vol. 3 (2003). Perhaps in our favor is the fact that the generic type sp. is from our hemisphere (North American).
Liu, B.-B., Y.-B. Wang, D.-Y. Hong & J. Wen. 2020. A synopsis of the expanded Rhaphiolepis (Maleae, Rosaceae). PhytoKeys 154: 19–55.
In a recent contribution from this same lab [see under “Liu,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 27(3), Jul. 2020], the genus Rhaphiolepis was “expanded” considerably with the addition of the somewhat larger Eriobotrya. Here, the new taxonomy is formalized in the form of a so-called “synopsis” (which is really more of an annotated checklist). In addition to a revised generic description, the authors provide synonymy, typology, and distribution summaries at all ranks, as well as occasional “notes” and a section on “doubtful names.” Three new forms are described, four new combinations and a new name are validated, and three names are newly synonymized. In their prior paper, the authors had neglected to validate a combination in Rhaphiolepis for the cultivated loquat [formerly Eriobotrya japonica (Thunb.) Lindl.] based on the oldest available synonym, Crataegus bibas Lour., which they instead cited in synonymy under a nomen novum of their own creation. That action condemned their nomen novum to instant illegitimacy, leaving the loquat without a name in Rhaphiolepis. That deficiency has since been remedied, but not by these authors; rather, it was (fittingly) vulturized by others, who had nothing to do with any of this research. Whatever the case, the loquat is now set to go as Rhaphiolepis bibas (Lour.) Galasso & Banfi (but see under “Shaw,” this column). Thirteen names, including Crataegus bibas, are lectotypified in this paper. We cannot help but think that the shadow of Pyrus (scarcely even mentioned here) looms heavily over all of these proceedings…
Lowry, P. P., II & G. M. Plunkett. 2020. Resurrection of the genus Heptapleurum for the Asian clade of species previously included in Schefflera (Araliaceae). Novon 28: 143–170.
The breakup of Schefflera by this group marches on, with the progress to date conveniently summarized in the opening paragraphs of this latest contribution. The damage has already been done for the affected spp. that are native to Costa Rica and vicinity, all of which now reside in Sciodaphyllum, or (in one case) Didymopanax [see under both "Fiaschi" and "Lowry," this column, in The Cutting Edge 27(3), Jul. 2020]. Here, the "Asian clade" of traditional Schefflera is rebranded with the validation of 256 new combinations and one nomen novum in Heptapleurum which, with 317 spp., instantly becomes the largest genus in Araliaceae. We mention this only because Heptapleurum absorbs some genus names familiar in the horticultural realm (e.g., Brassaia and Tupidanthus), as well as at least two spp. that are cultivated for ornament in Costa Rica (and elsewhere): Heptapleurum actinophyllum (Endl.) Lowry & G. M. Plunkett [formerly Brassaia actinophylla Endl., or Schefflera actinophylla (Endl.) Harms] and H. arboricola Hayata [formerly Schefflera arboricola (Hayata) Merr.]. Although four distinct subclades of the "Asian clade" had been discriminated, the authors decided to combine them in a single genus for pragmatic reasons. To complete the taxonomic overhaul of Schefflera sensu lato, just two groups—both neotropical (though not pertinent to Costa Rica) and requiring new genus names—remain to be dealt with. That process is said to be "currently underway." When all is said and done, the once gargantuan (with more than 600 spp.) and pantropical Schefflera will have been reduced to just eight spp. "from the Pacific Islands".
McGinty, E. M. & E. H. Roalson. 2020. Generic reorganization and nomenclarutal synopsis of the Andean clade (Cleomaceae). Phytotaxa 456: 256–268
Say it isn’t so! Two more new Cleome segregates? Sadly, the table-leg shortening continues in this group. And what is the life-span of a genus concept? Well, six years, in the case of Andinocleome [see under “Iltis,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 21(2), Apr. 2014], which here coughs up one of its spp. (nine remain) to the newly created Cochranella E. M. McGinty & Roalson. The last-mentioned genus is monospecific, comprising only the once-and-future Cleome pilosa Benth., which—according to a synoptic cladogram presented by these authors—is removed from the remainder of Andinocleome and sister to the genus Podandrogyne. The other new genus, also monospecific, is strictly South American. In the final analysis, these things matter little to us, because Cleome pilosa is the only member of the Costa Rican flora that would be affected and, in any case, the impending Manual treatment of Cleomaceae will reject all of these splinter genera in favor of Cleome sensu lato. This paper provides a dichotomous (though non-indented) key to the four genera of the “Andean clade” (but no keys to spp.), descriptions and distribution summaries for the genera (but not the spp.), synonymy and typology at all ranks, and occasional “notes.” Numerous lectotypes are designated for 17 names (including two synonyms of Cleome pilosa), and selected floral and seed features are illustrated with line drawings.
Melo, A. L., S. M. Athiê-Souza, L. S. D. Oliveira & M. F. Sales. 2020. Typifications and new synonyms of South American species of Sebastiania (Euphorbiaceae), including nomenclatural clarification of the generic type. Brittonia 72: 232–240.
The generic type of Sebastiania, a Brazilian sp., is lectotypified. Neither that, nor anything else in this paper, has consequences for Costa Rican floristics.
Monteiro, F. K. S., T. F. Daniel & J. I. M. Melo. 2020. Nomenclatural updates in Dyschoriste and Hygrophila (Acanthaceae). Phytotaxa 453: 130–136.
The only item in this paper of any significance to us is the acceptance by its authors (at least, some of them) of the name Hygrophila guianensis Nees for a distinct sp., apparently ranging throughout the Neotropics. In the Mesoamerican region, that name has been widely synonymized (e.g., by the second author of this paper!) under H. costata Nees & T. Nees, a trend that will prevail in the impending Manual treatment of Acanthaceae. South American authors have distinguished the two entities on the basis of the “shape, width and base of the leaves.” Among the disparate countries from which H. guianensis “has been reported” (according to this paper) are four Mesoamerican ones, but neither Nicaragua or Costa Rica.
Morales, C. O. 2020. Mis memorias sobre Robert L. Dressler (1927–2019): botánico y ser humano extraordinario. Revista Biol. Trop. 68: 1016–1024.
More personal reminiscences of Manual Orchidaceae coordinator Bob Dressler, who passed away last year, in Costa Rica, at the age of 92. The author of this eulogy had known Bob for 35 years. We get the usual litany of biographical information, but each contribution of this sort brings something unique to the table. The real eye-opener here is a black-and-white photographic portrait (provided by Bob’s wife Kerry) of an earnest and determined Bob Dressler at the age of eight(!), while he was still living on the family farm (wearing overalls, it appears) in southern Missouri. The author relates several personal experiences involving Dressler, including the discovery (near Tarbaca) of Schiedeella dressleri Szlach. (Orchidaceae) and that of the first known Costa Rican population of Crassula aquatica (L.) Schönland, or of the genus Crassula (Crassulaceae), for that matter. Both events transpired in 1993, the latter (on Cerro de La Muerte) attended by Manual co-PI Barry Hammel (MO). A bibliography of 262 works (including nine books) published by Dressler from 1953–2018 is provided as an “apéndice digital.”
Moya López, C. E. 2019. A review of the nomenclature and types of the genus Acoelorraphe (Arecaceae)/Una revisión de la nomenclatura y los tipos del género Acoelorraphe (Arecaceae). PalmArbor 2019-3: 1–30.
Typification gone wild! Not only is Copernicia wrightii Griseb. & H. Wendl.—the basionym of Acoelorraphe wrightii (Griseb. & H. Wendl.) H. Wendl. ex Becc., the only accepted sp. in its genus—lectotypified, many of its synonyms are lecto- or neotypified, as are several “excluded names”! Typify at every opportunity, and to the exclusion of all other activity, are the lessons to be learned.
Nickrent, D. L. 2020. Parasitic angiosperms: how often and how many? Taxon 69: 5–27.
This article presents (among other things) detailed and sometimes contentious observations on the phylogeny and classification of parasitic angiosperms, often defending the author’s own system against others (mainly, that of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group). We learn a few things from this specialist, for example: “a reasonable alternative to lumping” Aristolochiaceae, Hydnoraceae, and Lactoridaceae would be “to simply elevate Asaroideae” (currently a subfamily of Aristolochiaceae) to family rank. Also, the recognition of Peraceae (including the genus Pera, in Costa Rica) as separate from Euphorbiaceae is necessary to avoid having to subsume Rafflesiaceae in the latter family. Recent work has shown that Lennoaceae is not nested within Ehretiaceae, as previously believed, but sister to that family; hence the recognition of Lennoaceae as a distinct family (as in the Manual) is tenable cladistically. We do disagree with the author’s critique of the APG’s Santalaceae sensu lato (adopted in Manual Vol. 8), which includes (presumably as subfamilies or tribes) several taxa that he has recognized as families (Cervantesiaceae, Santalaceae sensu stricto, Viscaceae, etc.). He states that “it is not clear what real advancement would be achieved by using tribal names instead of family names for the same clades.” We would argue that family names are used much more widely than tribal or subfamilial names (which are generally employed only by specialists), and that, for the purpose of circumscribing genera or families, relationships are more important than differences (where have you heard that before?). We also do not grasp the author’s objection to APG’s exclusion of Opiliaceae from Santalaceae sensu stricto, “especially given the strong support for its sister relationship” to the latter taxon. Yet, under the same circumstances, he maintains Krameriaceae as distinct from Zygophyllaceae and (as mentioned previously) Lennoaceae from Ehretiaceae. The classification of sister taxa is entirely arbitrary and (we would maintain) should be predicated mainly on nomenclatural stability (like Krameriaceae and Lennoaceae, Opiliaceae has generally been recognized as a distinct family).
Nuñez Florentin, M., J. E. Florentín & R. M. Salas. 2020. Integrative taxonomic analyses sheds [sic] light on three historically disputed American Spermacoce species, and a key to the American species of Spermacoce (Spermacoceae, Rubiaceae). Syst. Bot. 45: 585–606.
The Manual Rubiaceae treatment (2014) accepted the name Spermacoce tenuior L. for a sp. occurring in Costa Rica, as does the present paper. The difference is that, whereas Spermacoce riparia Cham. & Schltdl. was cited as a synonym of S. tenuior in the Manual, it is recognized as a distinct sp. by these authors. If we accept their opinion, we must not only delete S. riparia from synonymy, but also remove “SE EUA,” “Bol.,” “Par.,” “Uru.,” and “Arg.” from the overall geographic range of S. tenuior. This paper provides a “Key to the American species of Spermacoce” (perhaps its most useful feature, from a Costa Rican standpoint) and distribution maps, plus revised treaments of the two aforementioned spp. (as well as the United States endemic Spermacoce glabra Michx.), including synonymy and typology, technical descriptions, distribution and phenology summaries, conservation assessments, and (in an appendix) extensive specimen citations. All three spp. are illustrated with excellent composite line drawings and black-and-white photos (mostly SEM micrographs). The introductory part discusses taxonomic history and the results of the authors’ morphometric analyses.
Pace, M. C. 2020. A recircumscription of Goodyera (Orchidaceae), including the description of Paorchis gen. nov., and resurrection of Cionisaccus, Eucosia, and Salacistis. Brittonia 72: 257–267.
The operations specified in the title of this article are predicated upon molecular-phylogenetic studies in which this author played no role; thus, this verges on a GLOVAP sort of endeavor (we make this point not as a critique of the author, rather in defense of the much-maligned GLOVAP crew; people do this stuff all the time!). Recognition of the splinter genera mentioned in the title is rationalized with the argument that the alternative—“to greatly expand the circumscription of Goodyera”—is “an untenable proposal that would subsume eight currently accepted genera.” If, as we suspect, those eight genera include the likes of Aspidogyne, Kreodanthus, Ligeophila, and Microchilus—none of which were accepted in the Manual Orchidaceae treatment (2003)—then put us down for expansion! However, it seems likely (the author provides no cladogram) that Erythrodes—which was accepted in the Manual, and included the four last-mentioned genera—would also be absorbed in Goodyera sensu lato, which complicates matters. As far as we can tell, all the taxonomic innovations proposed in this paper involve Old World taxa, with no effects for Costa Rica (apart from the implied fragmentation of Erythrodes in the sense of the Manual). A key to the genera of the “Goodyera alliance,” as according to the author’s new classification, would have been nice, as well as a description of Goodyera sensu stricto (now characterized by “commonly marked, often basal leaves, and flowers with a short-footed, stout column”). We glean that the last-mentioned entity comprises about 75 spp., and is excluded from some relatively minor areas (Mozambique, Madagascar, New Caledonia) once occupied by its more broadly construed counterpart. Those so inclined may now annotate their copies!
Persson, N. L., I. Toresen, H. L. Andersen, J. E. E. Smedmark & T. Eriksson. 2020.. Detecting destabilizing species in the phylogenetic backbone of Potentilla (Rosaceae) using low-copy nuclear markers. AoB PLANTS 12(3, plaa017): 1–13.
What a bass-ackwards way to say that you are testing for monophyly! Anyway, this study confirms that several familiar (particularly in North America) genera, including Duchesnea, Horkelia, and Ivesia, are firmly nested within Potentilla, and that maintaining them as distinct “would mean that hundreds of species...would have to be formally transferred to new genera.” This sounds the death knell particularly for Duchesnea, which belongs to the same clade as the type sp. of Potentillla (the Old World native P. reptans L.). Thus, the Manual treatment of the former Duchesnea indica (Andrews) Teschem. (a rare weed in Costa Rica) as Potentilla indica (Andrews) Th. Wolf is vindicated. Incidentally, the strawberry genus Fragaria, which has sometimes been associated with this group [see, e.g., under “Mabberley,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 17(2), Apr. 2010], was not included in this study, and is scarcely mentioned here.
Pretz, C. & R. Deanna. 2020. Typifications and nomenclatural notes in Physalis (Solanaceae) from the United States. Tax
Inevitably, a few accepted names of spp. recorded from Costa Rica are impacted (very mildly) by this typification-fest. These are: Physalis angulata L., P. philadelphica Lam. (merely mentioned in the Manual as very sporadically cultivated), and P. pubescens L., for each of which several synonyms are lecto- or neotypified. So much for that.
Pupulin, F., D. Bogarín & A. P. Karremans. 2020. Una nueva especie de Cischweinfia (Orchidaceae: Oncidiinae) de Costa Rica, con hábito y flores muy pequeñas/A new species of Cischweinfia (Orchidaceae: Oncidiinae) from Costa Rica, with very small habit and flowers. Orquideológia 37: 4–16.
According to the most recent definitive account [see The Cutting Edge 12(3): 4, Jul. 2005], the smallish, mainly South American genus Cischweinfia was represented in Costa Rica by just two spp., consistent with the (2003) Manual treatment of the genus (although one of the names had changed). Now we can add a third: Cischweinfia gersonii Pupulin, Bogarín & Karremans, known only from the type, collected at 1400–1450 m elevation on the Pacific slope (though quite near the Continental Divide) of the Cordillera Central, in the Zurquí region. The new sp., “anomalous within its genus due to the almost absent callus on the lip…as well as in the morphology of the column and the pollinarium,” is not compared to either of its congeners in Costa Rica, rather to the Ecuadorean Cischweinfia pygmaea (Pupulin, J. Valle & G. Merino) M. W. Chase (described originally in the genus Ada). Honored by the epithet is one Gerson Villalobos, discoverer of the novelty and co-collector of its type. Profusely illustrated with both drawings and photos.
Quintanar, A., P. Barberá, A. Buira & C. Aedo. 2020. (2729) Proposal to conserve the name Andropogon ischaemum (Bothriochloa ischaemum) (Gramineae) with a conserved type. Taxon 69: 198–199.
Andropogon ischaemum L. is the basionym of Bothriochloa ischaemum (L.) Keng, the accepted name for an Old World sp. that is rarely (just one historical collection) adventive in Costa Rica. It turns out that the previously designated lectotype of A. ischaemum is a specimen of Andropogon gerardi Vitman, a well-known North American sp. Although it runs contrary to traditional nomenclature, the lectotype in question represents original material, and does not conflict with Linnaeus’s brief protologue. Therefore, this proposal is made with a view to maintain nomenclatural stability. Were it to be rejected, “another legitimate name would have to be found for what has been called Bothriochloa ischaemum” (the authors do not suggest a candidate). Worse yet, Andropogon ischaemum would become the correct name for the sp. long known to one and all as A. gerardi.
Raven, P. H., R. E. Gereau, P. B. Phillipson, C. Chatelain, C. N. Jenkins & C. Ulloa Ulloa. 2020. The distribution of biodiversity richness in the tropics. Sci. Advances 6(eabc6228): 1–5.
With 118,308 spp. and “about 750 being added annually,” the “Latin American Region” of the tropics likely harbors “a third or more of all existing vascular plant species,” and “the same may hold true for biodiversity in general.” That said, Southeast Asia, with just 50,000 vascular plant spp. and 364 being added annually, is only a quarter the size of the Latin American and “Afrotropical” regions, and is thus “likely to be proportionately richest in plant diversity, and for biodiversity in general.” Well documented with tables,, a map, and literature citations.
Rossetto, E. F. S. & M. A. Caraballo-Ortiz. 2020. Splitting the Pisonia birdcatcher trees: re-establishment of Ceodes and Rockia (Nyctaginaceae, Pisonieae). PhytoKeys 152: 121–136.
Pursuant to prior molecular work involving the first author of this paper [see under “Rossetto,” this column, in Cutting Edge 26(3), Jul. 2019], the pantropical genus Pisonia is diminished by the formal resurrection of the two Old World genera mentioned in the title. Apart from a reduction (by 21—i.e., approximately half) of its sp. total and minor changes to its global geographic range, Pisonia is not impacted with respect to its Manual treatment. The authors provide a key to the “nine currently accepted genera” of Nyctaginaceae tribe Pisonieae Meisn. which, puzzlingly, includes both Guapira and Neea—suggested in the prior paper cited above as meriting unification. We imagine they will milk yet another publication out of that. As for the curious phrase “birdcatcher trees”: except for the title, it is nowhere mentioned in the article. Our initial assumption was that it described phylogenetic trees, but it is apparently used in reference to the plants themselves. The allusion is not to the spines (our second thought) that are often present in this group, rather to the “sticky anthocarps [that] can travel long distances attached to the feathers of seabirds”—perhaps explaining, at least in part, the dispersal of some Pisonieae (in particular, spp. of Ceodes and Rockia) to remote Indo-Pacific islands.
Sebastian, P., H. Schaefer, R. Lira, I. R. H. Telford & S. S. Renner. 2012. Radiation following long-distance dispersal: the contributions of time, opportunity and diaspore morphology in Sicyos (Cucurbitaceae). J. Biogeogr. 39: 1427–1438.
In our review of another paper involving some of these same authors [see under “Chomicki,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 27(3), Jul. 2020], we noted the use of the name Sicyos edulis Jacq. [rather than Sechium edule (Jacq.) Sw.] for the cultivated Chayote, and wondered: “is the entire genus Sechium now to be subsumed within Sicyos, or only Sechium edule?” We are indebted to Monteverde’s own Willow Zuchowski for tracking down the paper under review, which appears to provide the answer to that question. Our only excuse for having overlooked it is that it deals mainly with spp. of Sicyos in Australasia and Oceania. Nevertheless, a phylogeny of tribe Sicyoeae was elucidated, showing that representatives of several genera sometimes or invariably recognized as distinct “are embedded among species of Sicyos, a clade that itself has 100% bootstrap support.” Among these embedded genera are two that occur in Costa Rica and were accepted as distinct in the Manual Cucurbitaceae treatment (2010): Microsechium and Sechium (as well as two others, Anomalosicyos and Costarica, that were rightfully lumped in Sicyos in the Manual). Combinations in Sicyos are already available for Microsechium palmatum (Ser.) Cogn. and (as mentioned) Sechium edule, the only two Costa Rican spp. that would be affected by the mergers implicit in these results. The authors also reveal that “all the segregate genera that had more than one species…turn out to be polyphyletic.” This result has special consequences for Frantzia, “which traditionally was seen as close to Sechium”—and, indeed, was included in Sechium in the Manual! However, as these results show, Frantzia “instead constitutes a genetically distant lineage…” In summary, for Costa Rica, the following changes would appear to be in order: Microsechium and Sechium should be subsumed in Sicyos, and Frantzia reclaimed as a distinct genus. Just one loose end remains to be tied: although the cultivated Chayote has been treated (e.g., in the Manual) as Sechium edule subsp. edule, the corresponding autonym has not yet been created in Sicyos (i.e., the other subsp., comprising wild, Mexican populations, has not been formally transferred to the last-mentioned genus).
Shaw, J. M. H. 2020. (2748) Proposal to conserve the name Eriobotrya against Rhaphiolepis (Rosaceae). Taxon 69: 620.
This was inevitable. The author raises a few good points here: Eriobotrya has about twice as many spp. as Rhaphiolepis, although the latter name has priority. In addition, Eriobotrya japonica (Thunb.) Lindl., the loquat, is of some economic importance, with “over 800 cultivars…known,” and a “Google Scholar” search scared up more than six times as many hits for Eriobotrya than for Rhaphiolepis. We have a slightly different view of this, however. In our opinion, the author greatly exaggerates the economic significance of the loquat. Having lived in various parts of the world where it is grown, our experience has been that the loquat is always a very minor crop—generally more of an ornamental street tree—and that the fruits seldom if ever make it to local markets (though we cannot vouch for Japan, where it may be huge). Nor is Rhaphiolepis exactly chopped liver in that regard. In Southern California, for example, at least one sp. of Rhaphiolepis is every bit as widely planted (for ornamental purposes) and well known as the loquat, if not more so. One of the author’s arguments, that the loquat is currently “without a legitimate name in Rhaphiolepis,” has already been neutralized (see under “Liu,” this column). Here is our suggestion to IAPT: either stop wasting time and paper with these ridiculous proposals, or else strike the so-called principle of priority from the Code and replace it with the principle of Google supremacy.
Silva, C., C. Snak, G. Davidse, C. van den Berg & R. P. Oliveira. 2020. Assessing the molecular diversity of Hildaea (Poaceae, Panicoideae): reaching a compromise between the splitter and the lumper. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 192: 121–147.
Hildaea, as some of our readers may recall, is a recently described genus into which several spp. previously (as in the Manual) accommodated in Ichnanthus were segregated, including (in Costa Rica) the former I. nemorosus (Sw.) Döll, I. pallens (Sw.) Monro ex Benth., and I. tenuis (J. Presl) Hitchc. & Chase [see under "Silva," this column, in The Cutting Edge 22(4), Oct. 2015]. The authors of this paper conclude that eight additional names that have been treated as synonyms by most recent authors "should be reinstated and combined in Hildaea." Though only one of these names, Ichnanthus brevivaginatus Swallen, was cited in the Manual (in synonymy of I. pallens), five others have been regarded as synonyms of either I. pallens or I. tenuis. However, because none of the types of any of the names involved is Costa Rican, we cannot speculate on the potential consequences for us. We expect that resolution will come soon, as the authors promise "a detailed taxonomic treatment of Hildaea" that will present "all proposed taxonomic novelties," increasing the sp. total "from six to 14." Incidentally: we learn from this source that "Ichnanthus pallens var. majus (Nees) Stieber," synonymized in the Manual under I. pallens, is correctly (according to the gender of the genus name) I. p. var. major.
Silva, O. L. M. & I. Cordeiro. 2020. axonomic revision of Astraea (Euphorbiaceae). Pl. Syst. Evol. 306(2, 41): 1–62.
This seems to be the season for magnificent revisions that we are prevented from fully exploiting (see also under "Calvo," this column). Astraea, according to these authors, comprises 13 spp. and is "widely distributed in the Neotropical region," though centered in eastern Brazil. Just three relatively weedy spp. extend beyond South America, including Astraea lobata (L.) Klotzsch, the only one recorded from Costa Rica. That said, botanists working in Tiquicia should keep their eyes peeled for the comparably widespread A. surinamensis (Miq.) O. L. M. Silva & Cordeiro (recently segregated from A. lobata), which has turned up elsewhere in the Mesoamerican region (southern Mexico and Honduras, and perhaps also Panama [see under "Silva," this column, in The Cutting Edge 26(3), Jul. 2019]). Features synonymy, typology, and generous descriptions at all ranks, a dichotomous (though non-indented) key to spp., distribution and phenology summaries, distribution maps, assessments of conservation status, "notes," specimen citations, and a section entitled "Incertae sedis" (listing names—mostly nomina nuda—of unconfirmed identity). There are no indices. The introductory portion discusses taxonomic history, morphology and anatomy, chromosome numbers, distribution, phytochemistry, and phytopathology. Lecto- or neotypes are newly designated for 18 names, including five synonyms of Astraea lobata. Each sp. is illustrated with color photos from life and/or a composite line drawing (usually both).
Sinou, C., W. Cardinal-McTeague & A. Bruneau. 2020. Testing generic limits in Cercidoideae (Leguminosae): insights from plastid and duplicated nuclear gene sequences. Taxon 69: 67–86.
The results of this study confirm those of at least one previous study in portraying the genus Schnella, only recently segregated from Bauhinia, as non-monophyletic. The main problem is that the monospecific, Australian genus Barklya is nested among three clades of Schnella. The authors consider two classificatory options: that the single sp. of Barklya “could be recognized as a species of Schnella” (surely the preferable outcome from the standpoint of nomenclatural stability), or that “the two sections of Schnella could be elevated at the generic level and Barklya…retained as a distinct genus.” The authors are inclined toward the second option, because it “seems logical based on the morphological distinctiveness of these three groups,” but withhold formal taxonomic action pending “better phylogenetic resolution and greater sampling.” Regarding the potential consequences for Costa Rican floristics of this splitting option, see under “Trethowan,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 22(2), Apr. 2015.
Sylvester, S. P., R. J. Soreng, W. J. Bravo-Pedraza, L. E. Cuta-Alarcon & D. Giraldo-Cañas. 2020. Poa (Poaceae) of Colombia: a taxonomic revision. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 105: 232–279.
From this unlikely source, we learn of the loss of another Costa Rican endemic sp. In a section entitled "Species Excluded (from Colombia)," these authors debunk a prior report (their own!) of Poa chirripoensis R. W. Pohl from Colombia, but observe that it "occurs in Venezuela in subxeric páramos." Indeed, TROPICOS now records three collections from Venezuela, as well as one from Ecuador (all four determined by the second author of this paper). Oh well, endemism is always a negative hypothesis anyway!
Szlachetko, D. L., M. Kolanowska & S. Nowak. 2019. Orchidaceae: Spiranthoideae – Spirantheae. Vol. II in, D. L. Szlachetko & M. Kolanowska (eds.), Materials to the orchid flora of Colombia. Koeltz Bot. Books, Glashütten, Germany.
We will not belabor this title much, given the subject matter, but it does include a few tidbits for us. One new genus and six new spp. are described here, and four new combinations are validated, but just one of the new combinations is germane to Costa Rica: Stenorrhynchos speciosum (Jacq.) Rich. ex Spreng. var. albidomaculatum (Christenson) Szlach. & Kolan., which embodies a demotion for S. albidomaculatum Christenson [see The Cutting Edge 13(1): 4–5, Jan. 2006)] and its resubordination to the sp. from which it was originally segregated. Although the taxon in question was originally attributed to Costa Rica, the present work states only that it is “known mostly from South American tropics,” and cites only Colombian specimens. The author of Stenorrhynchos albidomaculatum believed it to be “undoubtedly what was described as" Spiranthes colorata N. E. Br. var. maculata N. E. Br., but declined to elevate the latter name to sp. rank (and was not required to do so); however, if he was correct, N. E. Brown’s name would have priority over Christenson’s at varietal rank. Finally: 14 names are lectotypified in this work including at least three pertaining to taxa occurring in Costa Rica: the basionym of Cyclopogon prasophyllum (Rchb.f.) Schltr., plus one synonym each of C. prasophylloides (Garay) Szlach. and Lankesterella orthantha (Kraenzl.) Garay.
Tkach, N., J. Schneider, E. Döring, A. Wölk, A. Hochbach, J. Nissen, G. Winterfeld, S. Meyer, J. Gabriel, M. H. Hoffmann & M. Röser. 2020. Phylogenetic lineages and the role of hybridization as driving force of evolution in grass supertribe Poodae. Taxon 69: 234–277.
Supertribe? Whatever. This paper is tough sledding, at least for us, but we are able to glean a few indications of what agrostologists (some of them, anyway) have been up to of late. As suggested previously [see, e.g., under “Saarela,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 24(4), Oct. 2017], the genus Polypogon is now included in Agrostis, at least as to the type sp. of the former, P. monspeliensis (L.) Desf. (which occurs sparingly in Costa Rica). For some reason that is unclear to us, the last-mentioned sp. is now being called Agrostis alopecuroides Lam., even though the older Linnaean epithet remains available in Agrostis. We are uncertain of the fate of Polypogon elongatus Kunth, the other affected sp. in Costa Rica. These authors also “support the inclusion of Hierochloe in Anthoxanthum,” effected some time ago [see The Cutting Edge 11(1): 11, Jan. 2004]; the combination Anthoxanthum davidsei (R. W. Pohl) Veldkamp already exists (and was cited in synonymy in the Manual) for the sole Costa Rican sp. that had been assigned to the former genus. Finally (from our perspective), Lolium is retained as distinct from Festuca [see, e.g., under “Banfi,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 24(4), Oct. 2017], but Vulpia (accepted in the Manual) is returned (deservedly, we think) to that genus. Five new subtribes are described and numerous new combinations at sp. and subsp. rank validated, but none of that concerns or interests us.