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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XI, Number 2, April 2004

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

PLANTAS VASCULARES. This is indeed an embarrassment! In response to our invitation to report any subtantive errors in published Manual volumes (see this column, last issue), Manual contributor and colleague Jorge Gómez-Laurito (USJ) has called our attention to a major translation error in (horror of horrors) the first couplet of the very first key (to "grupos mayores de plantas vasculares"), in Vol. 2: 1-2. Here, pteridophytes are distinguished from spermatophytes as "Plantas que se disimulan por medio de esporas unicelulares" (as opposed to "Plantas que disimulan por medio de semillas multicelulares"). The original English text employed the verb "disseminate" and, as Jorge points out, "diseminar" is its appropriate Spanish counterpart. We dimly recall having balked at these words as being etymologically related to "semilla," on the grounds that pteridophytes do not have seeds. Nonetheless, Jorge notes that Font Quer’s Diccionario de botánica (1953), our acknowledged arbiter on such matters, does in fact permit the usage of "diseminar" for spores and various other propagules. How we ended up with "disimular" is another matter; it is not merely a poor alternative, but the wrong word altogether, equivalent to the English "to dissemble." We cringe at the prospects for Jorge’s continued investigations and predict that, in time, the Manual will ultimately be revealed as 100% erroneous down to the last period and comma, while spawning a cottage industry of minor publications dedicated to the endeavor. Meanwhile, we forge ahead mindlessly, and in a weak attempt to save face, declare (through our authority as editors) that henceforth we will not report any purely grammatical errors unless of taxonomic or nomenclatural consequence.

ARECACEAE. According to Manual policy, the voucher (Grayum et al. 4476) cited for Bactris militaris H. E. Moore ought to correspond to the autonymic subsp.; instead, it represents B. m. subsp. neomilitaris (de Nevers & Andrew Hend.) Grayum. This is another one of those errors resulting from a last-minute change of heart, in this case, the decision to resurrect the name Bactris militaris de Nevers & Andrew Hend. from abject synonymy and accept it for a taxon of infraspecific rank; in implementing this revision, we neglected to rectify the voucher situation. As a suitable voucher for B. m. subsp. militaris (much rarer, and restricted to the Pacific slope), Aguilar 4222 (INB) will serve quite nicely.

CYPERACEAE. As if their names were not already confusing enough, we somehow contrived to cite the same voucher (Herrera 3572) for both Bulbostylis junciformis (Kunth) C. B. Clarke and B. juncoides (Vahl) Kük. ex Osten. This specimen is properly associated with the latter sp. For Bulbostylis junciformis, an appropriate replacement is Marlon Valerio 55 (CR).

ERRATUM: In our last issue, under "Leaps and Bounds," we stated that the application of the name Alloplectus weirii (Kuntze) Wiehler (Gesneriaceae) to Costa Rican material was decided (by INB curator Ricardo Kriebel) "with the assistance of Alloplectus specialist John R. Clark (SEL)." Clark’s middle initial and institutional affiliation were supplied by the editors, from the by-line of a paper reviewed under "Germane Literature" in the same issue. It turns out that, by a truly preposterous coincidence, there are apparently two John Clark’s that are associated in some way with Gesneriaceae and/or the late Hans Wiehler. And it naturally follows that we got the wrong one! According to Ricardo, his Alloplectus work involved consultation with John L. Clark (US). Our apologies once again.



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