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The Cutting Edge Volume V, Number 4, October 1998
News and Notes | Recent Treatments | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature
ARACEAE. Anthurium chiriquense Standl., a rare sp. believed
endemic to western Panama, has been collected at 2400 m elevation in the
Zona Protectora Las Tablas, on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca,
by parataxonomists Enia Navarro and Annia Picado.
ARECACEAE. Prior to 1980, Cryosophila was the only fan-palm genus
recorded as indigenous in Costa Rica. Since then, native populations of
Acoelorraphe, Sabal, and Colpothrinax have come to
light, in the order given. Sabal was first found in Costa Rica in
1985, when co-PI Grayum and future MO curator George Schatz collected
S. mauritiiformis (H. Karst.) Griseb. & H. Wendl. on forested
coral headlands south of Manzanillo de Talamanca, on the Atlantic coast.
Shortly thereafter, rumors of a native Sabal on the Pacific slope
began to circulate. In 1988, while hunting Cryosophila for his revision
of that genus, Ramblin' Joe Evans, another future MO curator, observed
planted specimens of a Sabal sp. in the vicinity of Gamalotillo de
Puriscal, Prov. San José. This sp. was referred to as guagarón
by local residents, who described it as native to the immediate region.
Skeptics we remained until just last year, when itinerant collector Gerardo
Rivera, discoverer of the northernmost Costa Rican population of Colpothrinax
The Cutting Edge 4(2): 2, Apr. 1997], announced that he had located wild populations
of Sabal in the central Pacific lowlands, not far from Gamalotillo. The
guagarón mystery was resolved definitively this summer when co-PI Grayum
and INBio botanist Quírico Jiménez accompanied Rivera to the
site, ripe with anticipation of a new sp., or at least a country record.
Alas, such was not to be the case, but an excellent and lavishly annotated
flowering collection of Sabal mauritiiformis was made, documenting
for the first time the indigenous occurrence of the genus on Costa Rica's
Pacific versant. As far as we could determine, S. mauritiiformis
is narrowly restricted there to the lower basin of the Río Tulín
or Tusubres, at ca. 40­p;200 m elevation. The plants are highly sought
after for palmito and leaves for thatching, said to last as long
as 20 years; as a result, few wild individuals remain, and this population
(as the Atlantic one) is gravely endangered. We were able to confirm Evans's
report of guagarón as the local name for this sp.; interestingly,
the more common Cryosophila guagara P. H. Allen, called guágara
in the Golfo Dulce region, is here termed súrtuba, a name
usually reserved for Geonoma spp. elsewhere in Costa Rica. Also,
hot off the presses: Quírico Jiménez reports the discovery
of Oenocarpus mapora H. Karst. in the Zona Protectora La Cangreja,
Cantón de Puriscal, Prov. San José. The northern limit of
this sp. was believed to have been in the vicinity of Palmar Norte. At
the same site, he found a new population-just the seventh known-of the rare
calciphile, Cryosophila grayumii R. J. Evans.
BRASSICACEAE. Parataxonomist Evelio Alfaro, inspired by his early
experiences as a porter on Gerrit Davidse's 1983­p;1984 Talamanca
expeditions, continues to impress with his critically gathered and beautifully
prepared plant collections. His recent work at the uppermost elevations
of Costa Rica's highest summit, Cerro Chirripó (3819 m), is yielding
a bonanza of new records. Among his myriad of mystery mustards are Draba
volcanica Benth. and Pennellia longifolia (Benth.) Rollins, both
country records for the spp. and genera concerned (dets. by Manual co-PI
CYPERACEAE. A dwarf, highly compact Cyperus collected by Evelio
Alfaro near the summit of Cerro Chirripó was examined briefly
by MO specialist Gerrit Davidse, who immediately sized it up as a
sp. new to the country, if not to science.
MYRSINACEAE. INBio's Francisco Morales reports that Ardisia densiflora
Krug & Urb., previously believed to reach its southern limit in Nicaragua,
occurs in the Cordilleras de Guanacaste and Tilarán of Costa Rica.
ROSACEAE. Another Evelio Alfaro collection from Cerro Chirripó
represents Alchemilla pinnata Ruiz & Pav., otherwise recorded
from northern Mesoamerica and the Andes; this according to Francisco
Morales, who had included this sp. hypothetically in his Manual treatment
of the family.
RUBIACEAE. A white-flowered Deppea collected by Alexander
"Popeye" Rodríguez (JVR) at El Rodeo, on
the Meseta Central, is D. inaequalis Standl. & Steyerm., known
previously from Chiapas to El Salvador. The determination was made at MO
by visiting specialist David Lorence (PTBG).
SAPINDACEAE. Several collections from the Cantón de Acosta, in the
mountains south of San José, have been identified tentatively by
Francisco Morales as Serjania phaseoloides Standl. & Steyerm.,
described from Guatemala.
SAPOTACEAE. This important and poorly known family, comprising mostly primary
forest trees, continues to yield outstanding novelties. The ditypic, mainly
South American genus Chromolucuma can now be reported for the first
time from Mesoamerica on the basis of two Costa Rican collections of
C. rubriflora Ducke, both from the Pacific lowlands: Francisco Morales
got it in the Zona Protectora La Cangreja, and Popeye in Parque Nacional
Corcovado. Chrysophyllum oliviforme L., a distinctive sp. well known
in southern Florida, the Bahamas, and the Antilles, has somehow popped up
in the Los Mogos region, at the head of Golfo Dulce, where it was collected
by parataxonomist Reinaldo Aguilar.