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The Cutting Edge
Volume X, Number 2, April 2003
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BASELLACEAE. J. F. Morales (INB).
This small, caryophyllalean family is represented in Costa Rica by three spp.
of Anredera, including the exotic A. cordifolia (Ten.) Steenis,
conspicuously naturalized in the Valle Central. The two native spp.,
A. ramosa (Moq.) Eliasson and A. vesicaria (Lam.) C. F. Gaertn.,
are both very local and rarely collected. William Burger's
Flora costaricensis treatment (Fieldiana, Bot. n. s., 13: 222, 227.
1983) included only A. ramosa [as Boussingaultia ramosa (Moq.) Hemsl.].
CAPRIFOLIACEAE. Alexánder Rodríguez (INB).
Caprifoliaceae of yore lives on in the Manual, Adoxaceae and the like
notwithstanding. Just three genera and six spp. are recorded from Costa
Rica: Lonicera (1 sp.), Sambucus (2 spp.), and Viburnum
(3 spp.). Lonicera japonica Thunb. ex Murray (our only member of
Caprifoliaceae s. str.) and Sambucus mexicana C. Presl ex DC. are
both known only from cultivation, while Viburnum venustum C. V. Morton
is the sole Costa Rican endemic. Sambucus canadensis L. and S.
mexicana are maintained as distinct spp., contrary to other recent
The Cutting Edge 2(2): 4-5, Apr. 1995], with compelling reasons given.
CLETHRACEAE. J. F. Morales (INB)
This is not a new submission, but rather a wholesale revision of Chico's
original manuscript [see
The Cutting Edge 5(3): 2, Jul. 1998]. The latter account recognized just
four spp. of Clethra (the only genus) in Costa Rica: C. gelida
Standl., C. mexicana A. DC., C. pyrogena Sleumer and C.
suaveolens Turcz. The sp.-total for the country now balloons to nine,
thanks to Chico's improved understanding of the genus, stimulated in part
by previously overlooked or recent literature, especially a 1996 University
of Wisconsin master's thesis by Luz María González-Villarreal
entitled Clethra (Clethraceae) section Cuellaria in Mexico:
taxonomy, ecology and biogeography. Three of the four original spp.
remain substantially intact (although C. gelida and C. pyrogena
can no longer be claimed as Costa Rican endemics). However, Chico's inclusive
concept of C. mexicana dissolves into various more narrowly defined
entities including, in Costa Rica, C. costaricensis Britton and
C. lanata M. Martens & Galeotti (the name Clethra mexicana
itself is no longer used for Costa Rican material). Also added to the flora
are Clethra consimilis Sleumer (including C. coloradensis C. W.
Ham.), C. hondurensis Britton, C. licanioides Standl. & Steyerm.,
and C. talamancana C. W. Ham. (the last being our sole endemic).
Clethra is mainly montane in Costa Rica; all of its spp. are restricted
to elevations above 700 m, except for C. costaricensis and C.
hondurensis, both of which descend to below 100 m in the Sarapiquí
lowlands and elsewhere.
SCHLEGELIACEAE. J. F. Morales (INB).
This small group of woody, mainly epiphytic plants has (like Paulownia)
been kicked back and forth between Bignoniaceae and Scrophulariaceae. Lately,
however, it has come to be accepted as a family in its own right [e.g., by the
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group; see
The Cutting Edge 6(1): 5, Jan. 1999], and was already so treated by
William Burger (F) and Kerry Barringer (BKL) in Flora
costaricensis (Fieldiana, Bot. n. s., 41: 69-77. 2000). Two of the
four genera occur in Costa Rica: Gibsoniothamnus, with six spp., and
Schlegelia, with four. Two spp. of Gibsoniothamnus are
undescribed and given provisional names; these are also the only spp. of
the family indicated as Costa Rican endemics (although each of the other
Gibsoniothamnus spp. is shared only with Panama). The four
Schlegelia spp. are all comparatively widespread. With the addition
of G. grandiflorus A. H. Gentry & Barringer and the two undescribed
spp., Chico has doubled the number of Gibsoniothamnus spp. attributed
to Costa Rica by Burger and Barringer; otherwise, the two versions are in
substantial overall agreement.
STERCULIaceae. Alexánder Rodríguez (INB).
Malvaceae in the strict, traditional sense will prevail in the Manual, in
all of its paraphyletic glory, with Bombacaceae, Sterculiaceae, and
Tiliaceae each dealt with separately. That said, Alex's Sterculiaceae
account, hot off the presses, treats 32 spp. in 11 genera, of which
Melochia (with 7 native spp.) is the most diverse, followed by
Theobroma (5 spp.) and Sterculia (4 spp.). Three spp. are
endemic to Costa Rica: Ayenia mastatalensis Cristóbal & N.
Zamora, Pterygota excelsa (Standl. & L. O. Williams) Kosterm., and
Sterculia allenii E. L. Taylor (the last still undescribed, and the
only provisionally named sp. in the treatment). One sp., the widespread
Melochia kerriifolia Triana & Planch., is included hypothetically,
and the Old World genus Dombeya makes the cut by virtue of the
cultivated D. wallichii (Lindl.) K. Schum. Theobroma bicolor
Bonpl. and the commercial T. cacao L. are both arguably indigenous
in Costa Rica.
VITACEAE. J. F. Morales (INB).
This contribution benefits greatly from the recent Flora Neotropica
Monographs installment by Julio Antonio Lombardi [see
The Cutting Edge 8(2): 10, Apr. 2001]. Three genera and 17 spp. are
here treated as indigenous to Costa Rica, with a single sp. each in
Ampelocissus and Vitis and all the rest in Cissus.
One sp. (of Cissus) is undescribed and provisionally named, and is
also the only member of the family indicated as endemic to Costa Rica.
The commercial grape, Vitis vinifera L., occasionally planted on a
small scale, is mentioned in the generic discussion for Vitis.
VOCHYSIACEAE. J. F. Morales (INB).TOP
This smallish, mainly neotropical family of woody plants is represented
in Costa Rica by two of its eight genera, Qualea and Vochysia.
Four spp. of Vochysia are recorded from the country, but just one of
Qualea, the latter being undescribed and named provisionally. All
of our spp. are restricted to the lowlands (below 1000 m), and none is endemic.