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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

Main | Family List (MO) | Family List (INBio) | Cutting Edge
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The Cutting Edge

Volume VIII, Number 2, April 2001

News and Notes | Recent Treatments | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature | Season's Pick

In concordance with William Burger's early Flora costaricensis treatment (Fieldiana, Bot. 35: 3–4. 1971), This small, Indo-Malesian family of trees and shrubs is represented in Costa Rica only by two cultivated spp., Casuarina cunninghamiana Miq. and C. equisetifolia L. According to José's treatment, the former is planted from 900–2000 m elevation, the latter in coastal habitats. We can confirm that at least C. cunninghamiana is grown on plantation scale, and also reseeds, thus meeting at least one of our criteria for the inclusion of exotic spp. in the Manual. No voucher is cited for C. equisetifolia, so we're hoping someone will collect this before our cutoff date.

ELAEAGNACEAE. José González (INB).
Also exotic to Costa Rica, this family qualifies as an element of the flora by virtue of the naturalized, Asian shrub Elaeagnus parvifolia Wall. ex Royle, which occurs at ca. 1600–2000 m elevation in the Cordillera Central, the Cordillera de Talamanca, and the Cerros de Escazú. By some Asian authors, this taxon has been considered a subsp., var., or forma of E. umbellata Thunb.

EREMOLEPIDACEAE. J. Francisco Morales (INB).
Antidaphne viscoidea Poepp. & Endl., widespread and locally abundant in the Costa Rican cordilleras, remains our only representative of this small family of mistletoes, formerly included in Loranthaceae, but now believed more closely related to Opiliaceae or Santalaceae. The family was treated similarly (sub "Loranthaceae sensu lato") for Flora costaricensis by William Burger and Job Kuijt (Fieldiana, Bot. n. s., 13: 31–32. 1983).

FAGACEAE. J. Francisco Morales (INB).
Here is one of those rare cases where we actually lose spp., as Chico's taxonomy, accepting just nine spp. of Quercus for Costa Rica, is more conservative than that of William Burger in Flora costaricensis (Fieldiana, Bot. 40: 59–82. 1977), where 12 spp. were attributed to the country. Four names accepted for spp. considered distinct by Burger are here synonymized under other names also accepted in Flora costaricensis: Quercus pilarius Trel. under Q. corrugata Hook.; Q. rapurahuensis Pittier ex Trel. under Q. oocarpa Liebm.; and Q. tonduzii Seemen and Q. guglielmi-treleasei C. H. Müll., both under Q. seemannii Liebm. We gain a sp. with Quercus eugeniifolia Liebm., tentatively maintained as distinct from Q. seemannii. The synonymization of Quercus brenesii Trel. under Q. cortesii Liebm., a name not previously applied to Costa Rican material, entails no net change in our generic sp. total. The demise of Quercus tonduzii signifies the loss of an endemic oak, leaving only Q. costaricensis Liebm. No other genera of Fagaceae are known from Costa Rica.

GUNNERACEAE. J. Francisco Morales (INB).
This monogeneric, Gondwanan family, segregated from Haloragaceae during the pre-Manual era, is well-known in Costa Rica by virtue of the famous "sombrilla de pobre," Gunnera insignis (Oerst.) A. DC., so conspicuous in montane roadside habitats throughout the country. Less familiar is the smaller and more localized Gunnera talamancana H. Weber & L. E. Mora, not even described until 1958. Neither sp. is endemic.

LEPIDOBOTRYACEAE. J. Francisco Morales (INB).
The oligospecific, African Lepidobotrys and the recently described, neotropical Ruptiliocarpon [see The Cutting Edge 1(1): 12, Jan. 1994] comprise this small family of uncertain affinity, formerly included in Oxalidaceae. The only sp. so far described in the latter genus, Ruptiliocarpon caracolito Hammel & N. Zamora, is a tree of lowland forests, surprisingly widespread in Costa Rica and extending to South America.

LORANTHACEAE. J. Francisco Morales (INB).
This important mistletoe family is here construed in the narrow sense, excluding Eremolepidaceae and Viscaceae (see under those entries in this section). The total of six genera treated by Chico adds Panamanthus (recently segregated from Struthanthus) to the complement of Loranthaceae s. str. treated (sub "Loranthaceae sensu lato") by William Burger and Job Kuijt in Flora costaricensis (Fieldiana, Bot. n. s., 13: 33–58. 1983). As in Viscaceae, there have been extensive changes in Loranthaceae, and for the same reasons. The sp. total for Costa Rica now stands at 30, compared to just 18 in 1983. Since that time, four new spp. have been published (with one other 'ined.' and one provisionally named), and seven previously described spp. have been added to the country flora. Those spp. newly published (all by Kuijt) are Psittacanthus costaricensis, Struthanthus burgeri, S. quadrangularis, and S. subtilis. Recent country records are: Oryctanthus costulatus Rizzini; Panamanthus panamensis (Rizzini) Kuijt; Phthirusa stelis (L.) Kuijt; Psittacanthus corynocephalus Eichler; Psittacanthus cucullaris (Lam.) Blume; Struthanthus cassythoides Millsp. ex Standl. [see The Cutting Edge 7(4): 2, Oct. 2000]; and S. hartwegii (Benth.) Standl. [see The Cutting Edge 3(1): 3–4, Jan. 1996; as S. rotundatus Rizzini]. The genera with the most spp. in Costa Rica are Struthanthus, with 13, Psittacanthus, with eight, and Oryctanthus, with five. Different names are now applied to five spp. treated in Flora costaricensis: Panamanthus panamensis (included hypothetically by Burger and Kuijt as Struthanthus panamensis (Rizzini) Barlow & Wiens); Phthirusa stelis [included hypothetically by Burger and Kuijt as P. retroflexa (Ruiz & Pav.) Kuijt]; Psittacanthus krameri Kuijt [formerly as P. nodosus (Desr.) G. Don]; Psittacanthus rhynchanthus (Benth.) Kuijt [formerly as P. calyculatus (DC.) G. Don]; Struthanthus cansjerifolius (Oliv.) Eichler [formerly as S. marginatus (Desr.) Blume]; and Struthanthus hartwegii (Benth.) Standl. (included hypothetically by Burger and Kuijt as S. rotundatus). Psittacanthus scheryi Woodson, used for an accepted sp. in Flora costaricensis, is here synonymized under P. ramiflorus (DC.) G. Don. The recently described Psittacanthus chiriquianus Kuijt, known from westernmost Panama, is included on a hypothetical basis. Just five spp. of Loranthaceae are indicated as endemic to Costa Rica: Psittacanthus costaricensis, the provisionally named (and tentatively accepted) Psittacanthus sp. A, Struthanthus acostensis J. F. Morales sp. nov. ined., S. burgeri, and S. quadrangularis. The genus Cladocolea, included speculatively in Flora costaricensis, has so far failed to materialize in Costa Rica.

TOVARIACEAE. J. Francisco Morales (INB).
The weedy, montane shrub Tovaria pendula Ruiz & Pav. is the only Costa Rican member of this monogeneric family, closely related to (and sometimes included in) Capparaceae. The genus has, at most, one other sp.

VISCACEAE. J. Francisco Morales (INB).
Significant additions to this segregate mistletoe family have accrued since the 1983 Flora costaricensis treatment (sub "Loranthaceae sensu lato") by William Burger and Job Kuijt (Fieldiana, Bot. n. s., 13: 59–79). These additions, as well as other changes, have resulted mainly from continued field and herbarium work by Kuijt (some published), together with new discoveries by Chico and other Costa Rican workers. Our only two genera, the morphologically and etymologically very similar Dendrophthora and Phoradendron, were credited with a total of 17 Costa Rican spp. (four and 13, respectively) in Flora costaricensis. The present total of 28 spp. includes nine spp. of Dendrophthora and 19 of Phoradendron. The discrepancy of 11 spp. owes to the recent discovery in Costa Rica of seven spp. new to science, plus five spp. previously described from elsewhere, minus the entity treated by Burger and Kuijt as "Phoradendron sp. aff. undulatum," not explicitly accounted for in Chico's treatment. Four of the seven new spp., all in Dendrophthora, have already been validated by Kuijt: D. davidse, D. haberi, D. talamancana, and D. turrialbae; the three remaining novelties, all in Phoradendron, are pending as "ined." by the same author. The five country records of previously described spp. involve Dendrophthora corynarthron (Eichler) Kuijt [see "The Cutting Edge 8(1): 2, Jan. 2001], Phoradendron herbert-smithii Trel., P. nervosum Oliv. (see under "Leaps and Bounds," this issue), P. woodsonii Trel., and P. vernicosum Greenm. Four spp. treated in Flora costaricensis are now going under different names in Costa Rica: Dendrophthora corynarthron (included hypothetically by Burger and Kuijt as Phoradendron corynarthron Eichler); Phoradendron chrysocladon A. Gray [formerly as P. flavens (Sw.) Griseb.]; Phoradendron nitens Kuijt [formerly as P. obliquum (C. Presl) Eichler]; and Phoradendron robaloense Woodson ex Rizzini (formerly as P. acinacifolium Eichler). Despite all the novelties, just three spp. are indicated as Costa Rican endemics: Dendrophthora haberi (Cordillera de Tilarán and Cerros de Turrubares), D. terminalis Kuijt (Cordillera Central), and D. turrialbae (all major cordilleras). The rare Phoradendron dipterum Eichler, previously recorded from Costa Rica on the basis of a single collection, has been refound at least once.



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