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The Cutting Edge Volume VI, Number 3, July 1999
News and Notes | Recent Treatments | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature
APOCYNACEAE. The latest in our new series of rediscoveries is a country record, to boot. Fernaldia speciosissima Woodson was described from Prov. Chiriquí, Panama, solely on the basis of three corollas picked up from the ground. For nearly 60 years it remained known only by the fragmentary holotype, until INBio wizard Francisco Morales somehow identified a fruiting Panamanian specimen at MO as this sp. Just a few days ago (11 July), while botanizing at ca. 300 m elevation near the isolated and picturesque Pacific-slope hamlet of Zoncuano de Acosta (Prov. San José), Chico made the first Costa Rican collection of F. speciosissima. This is the Rosetta stone, the first collection with both leaves and flowers, clinching the determination of the fruiting specimen. Chico reports that the flowers emit an extremely powerful aroma almost identical to that of candied figs (Ficus carica L.).
ARECACEAE. Will fan-palms never quit? Manual collaborator Jorge Gómez-Laurito (USJ) now reports that he has received a collection of what can only be (judging from his description) Cryosophila grayumii R. J. Evans, from near Playa Coyote, near the tip of the Península de Nicoya. This would represent just the eighth known population of this rare calciphile, and the first collection of any Cryosophila sp. (indeed, of any indigenous fan-palm) from the Península de Nicoya.
CYPERACEAE. An April tour of Costa Rica by Belgian cyperologists Paul Goetghebeur and Konraed Camelbeke (GENT) yielded Diplacrum longifolium (Griseb.) C. B. Clarke, a country record for both the genus and sp., collected by the duo near the Puerto Limón airport. Our thanks for this report go to Jorge Gómez-Laurito (USJ), who suspects that this sp., disjunct from Panama, may be a recent introduction.
FABACEAE/PAPILIONOIDEAE. The herbaceous genus Ornithopus has a peculiar distribution, with one sp. (O. micranthus Cav.) in temperate South America (south Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina) and several others in Europe and western Asia. A 1967 collection of an as-yet-unidentified Ornithopus from the summit of Volcán Turrialba by intrepid geographer Arthur Weston has recently been substantiated by veteran parataxonomist Reinaldo Aguilar, who serendipitously gathered the same sp. from the same site. We strongly suspect the Costa Rican population to be adventive, probably representing one of the Eurasian spp., such as O. perpusillus L. (as per specialist Velva Rudd’s provisional determination) or O. sativus Brot. ("good fodder," sez The plant-book). Many Eurasian spp. (e.g., in Caryophyllaceae, Poaceae, etc.) have been introduced in the montane regions of Costa Rica, intentionally or unintentionally, in forage seed mixtures, and Weston’s label indicates that pasturage was close at hand. Thanks to INBio cacique Nelson Zamora for this item.
POACEAE. The widespread Bouteloua curtipendula (Michx.) Torr., not previously reported in Mesoamerica from south of Nicaragua, has recently been collected several times in the Guanacaste region (Península de Santa Elena, Islas Murciélago, Playas del Coco). Panicum altum Hitchc. & Chase, also widespread and recorded from both Nicaragua and Panama, has been found on the Península de Santa Elena by Manual co-PI Barry Hammel. Credit for the determinations, the report, and at least one of the collections to INBio phenom Francisco Morales.