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The Cutting Edge Volume VII, Number 1, January 2000
News and Notes | Recent Treatments | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature
NEW BLOOD. MO has hired a new Costa Rica Project Coordinator, Elisa Horsch,
a recent graduate of Hendrix College in Little Rock. Elisa, independent and efficient,
has already made considerable headway with the backlog (comprising at least two major
shipments) that has accumulated since the departure, a few years back, of Xochitl
Munn-Estrada. Specialists who have not received new material in the past few months
should expect to, in the near future.
OBITUARIES. We are sorry to have to announce the passing, on 16 December, 1999, of
our esteemed colleague, MO curator William G. D'Arcy, following a lengthy illness.
Bill, an internationally respected authority on Solanaceae, had signed on to contribute
the treatment of that family for the Manual, but was forced to withdraw as his illness
progressed. Lynn Bohs (see below) has taken on the project, having received as
much help from Bill as he was able to provide. Manual co-PI Barry Hammel has Bill
to thank for his first real introduction to tropical botany; Bill was
in charge of the Flora of Panama project when he hired Barry as the MO field
collector in Panama, in 1978. As well as for his work on Solanaceae, Bill will be
remembered for his success at bringing the Flora of Panama to completion.
From Southern California comes news of the death, on 9 December, 1999, of venerable
Fabaceae specialist Velva Rudd. Known to Manual co-PI Mike Grayum since ca.
1974, when she wrapped up an illustrious career at the Smithsonian and settled into
semi-retirement in the tiny herbarium at California State University, Northridge (SFV),
Velva had worked in recent yearswith Manual co-PI (and fellow leguminologist) Nelson
Zamora. A seasoned world traveler, she toured Costa Rica just a few years ago, while
well into her 80's.
The botanical world was further shaken by the death, on 8 January, 2000, of Warren H. ("Herb") Wagner : colorful and celebrated professor of botany at the University
of Michigan, member of the National Academy of Sciences, early champion of hybridization as a
major source of new plant spp., and noted proto-cladist (inventor of the Wagner groundplan-divergence
algorithm). Herb's Costa Rican ties go back to at least 1967, when he co-coordinated an OTS field
course on the biology of tropical pteridophytes, with several other prominent pteridologists. He
collaborated frequently with Costa Rican pteridologist Luis Diego Gómez.
APG SYSTEMATICS COURSE. INBio hosted eminent plant systematist Peter Stevens--MO associate,
distinguished professor at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, and member in good standing
of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group [see The Cutting Edge
6(1): 5--6, Jan. 1999]--
for a 10-day course (4--14 Jan.) entitled "Systematic Botany: Costa Rica, January 2000." The course,
held at Estación Maritza in Parque Nacional Guanacaste, was offered to a select group of
curators, parataxonomists, specialists, and avid botanical workers, including Felipe
Chavarría, María Marta Chavarría, Roberto Espinoza, and
Alejandro Masís (Area de Conservación Guanacaste); Alfredo Cascante
(CR); and Reinaldo Aguilar, Jose González, Luis González,
Barry Hammel, Francisco Morales, Alexander Rodríguez, and Nelson
Zamora (INB). Several invitees were, unfortunately, unable to attend: Quírico
Jiménez and Alexander Rojas (INB); Luis Poveda (JVR); and Jorge
Gómez-Laurito (USJ). As Peter so humbly and graciously put it: "If others have learned
as much as I, the course was a success." All in attendance agreed that it was a resounding success.
With great patience, enthusiasm, and an impressive knowledge of plant taxa (many of which
he had never seen alive before), Peter brought us up to date on how the families of flowering
plants represented in Costa Rica fit into the modern scheme of phylogeny, according to the growing
consensus from many different DNA and morphological, phylogenetic studies. We have now resolved, at
the very least, to include a list of families and orders, according to this consensus, in the
appropriate place in the Manual (Introduction, Vol. 1). When realignments are feasible and
sufficiently corroborated, we will implement the indicated changes (e.g., the removal of taxa with
cymose inflorescences from Verbenaceae to Lamiaceae).
THE MANUAL, AND HOW TO CITE IT. Because we are constantly being asked how the Manual should be
cited or encountering strange attempts at citation), weíve decided to clarify here the proper
way to refer to this work-in-progress. Here is an example (according to Annals of the Missouri
Botanical Garden format): Grayum, M. H. Agavaceae. In, B. E. Hammel, N. Zamora & M. H. Grayum (editors), Manual
de Plantas de Costa Rica. Vol. 1: Monocotiledóneas. Inst. Nac. de Biodiversidad, Santo Domingo
de Heredia, Costa Rica & Missouri Bot. Gard., St. Louis (manuscript).
Of course, once the volume is published, the date can be inserted, together with pagination, and "(manuscript)" deleted.
The situation for dicots is slightly more complicated, inasmuch as they will be covered in three volumes. These may be cited (provisionally!) as follows:
Vol. 2: "Dicotiledóneas" (Acanthaceae--Euphorbiaceae).
Vol. 3: "Dicotiledóneas" (Fabaceae--Myrtaceae).
Vol. 4: "Dicotiledóneas" (Nyctaginaceae--Zygophyllaceae) y "Gimnospermas".
Because of practical considerations, the dicot volumes will probably not be published in numerical/alphabetical sequence; rather, we expect that Vol. 3 will be published first (we have most of these families ready now), followed by Vol. 4, then Vol. 2.
The most recent hard-copy version of our database-generated checklist may be cited as follows: INBio (Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad). 1998. Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica. Inst. Nac. de Biodiversidad, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica. 125 pp.
Citations of Manual contributions posted on the World Wide Web should obviously include the appropriate URL. All future such postings will be announced, and duly cited, in these pages.
ST. LOUIS BY STORM. Manual co-PI Barry Hammel returned to leave his mark yet again on our fair city.
Holed up mainly in the Monsanto Building, he spent most of November conspiring against Cactaceae. He reports
considerable progress with sp. concepts, but wonders if reverting to just Cereus, Opuntia, and
Pereskia might not be the best resolution for genera, in this universe of horticultural beauties and
COSTA RICA THROUGH WIND AND STORM. Manual collaborator Lynn Bohs (UT) blew into town (18 Jan.--4 Feb.),
and is chained to a table in the cold, cold herbarium (INB), slaving away at Solanaceae and making great strides.
She raged at Hammel for leaving her with only food and water, while he lounged at the beach last weekend. As
compensation, a trip to the Península de Osa to gather bits of Solanaceae DNA, and a bout of tree-hugging
(see Canellaceae, under "Leaps and Bounds"), are promised for the weekend of 29--30 Jan.
THE APPLE IN AUTUMN. November found Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora hard at work in the herbarium at NY,
learning ever more about Costa Rican legumes, etc. (see under Capparidaceae and Fabaceae in "Leaps and Bounds").
ORCHIDMANIA. Our survey of Cutting Edge literature reviews dating back to the inception of our newsletter (January,
1994, but covering much literature from 1993) reveals that an astounding total of at least 122 new spp. of Orchidaceae
have been described from Costa Rica during the past 6--7 years. This does not include nomina nova, new combinations,
nor four new spp. of dubious provenance (but likely from Costa Rica), one illegitimate name, one new forma, and one
new hybrid. Manual Orchidaceae coordinator Bob Dressler and collaborators (John Atwood, Eric Hágsater,
Dora Emilia Mora, and, especially Carlyle Luer) are responsible (at least in part) for 111 of the 122 new sp.
descriptions. Thus, at least 10% of the Costa Rican orchid flora consists of spp. recently described as a direct result of work
toward the Manual, and related or overlapping ongoing efforts such as Flora mesoamericana and the Flora de Nicaragua
(which share some contributors). This does not even include new orchid spp. described between 1987 (our official starting date)
and 1993, of which there are no doubt many. Progress? You bet! And many other families have benefited in a similar manner.
POP QUIZ. During the course of our routine literature reviews, we have noted a disturbing tendency, in recent years, for journals to abandon distinctive and familiar names, often with considerable regional flavor, in favor
of sound-alike generic names, many virtually interchangeable. See how many of the following journals you can identify by their
former (i.e., more familiar) names. The answers are on the final page!
1. International Journal of Plant Sciences
2. Journal of Plant Biology
3. Journal of Plant Research
5. Plant Biology
6. Plant Ecology
7. Systematics and Geography of Plants