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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 XI, Number 2, April 2004

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

ARALIACEAE. J. F. Morales (INB), M. J. Cannon & J. F. M. Cannon. This constitutes an extensive revision by Francisco Morales of the original draft [see The Cutting Edge 3(3): 2, Jul. 1996] submitted by the husband/wife team of Margaret J. Cannon (deceased) and John F. M. Cannon (formerly of BM, but now retired). The Cannonís were engaged to produce a Manual treatment for this family on the strength of their prior completion of a Flora mesoamericana account. However (as stated in a letter to us dated 16 January 1996), they had by that time already returned their borrowed specimens, so that "the full range of Costa Rican material was not available"; furthermore, their acknowledged "lack of first-hand experience of the country and the flora" put them at a distinct disadvantage, particularly in formulating "statements involving the distribution and ecology." With his profound knowledge of the country and access to hundreds of collections not seen by the Cannonís, Chico infuses new life into this project. Five genera with a total of 44 spp. are now formally treated, up from four genera and 36 spp.; the added genus is Tetrapanax, with only the cultivated T. papyrifer (Hook.) K. Koch, of Chinese origin. Dendropanax, with 16 Costa Rican spp., becomes the most diverse genus of Araliaceae in the country, surging ahead of Oreopanax (15 spp.) and Schefflera (11 spp.); in the original draft, both of the latter genera (with 14 and 11 spp., respectively) bested Dendropanax (10 spp.) in this regard. Rounding out the list (in both versions) is the monotypic Sciadodendron. Six spp. (four in Dendropanax and two in Oreopanax) are given provisional ("ined.") names, and at least 10 spp. are ostensible Costa Rican endemics; in the latter category are all save one of the "ined." spp., plus Dendropanax ravenii M. J. Cannon & Cannon, Oreopanax anomalus M. J. Cannon & Cannon, O. oligocarpus Donn. Sm., Schefflera cartagoensis M. J. Cannon & Cannon and S. instita M. J. Cannon & Cannon. No taxa are included hypothetically, and none (apart from Tetrapanax) exclusively on the basis of cultivated plants.

Because the original draft of this treatment neglected to cite vouchers, it is occasionally difficult to compare the usage of names in the two versions. Three names used for accepted spp. in the first draft have been explicitly synonymized in the second: Oreopanax superoerstedianus M. J. Cannon & Cannon (under O. standleyi A. C. Sm.), O. vestitus A. C. Sm. (under O. oerstedianus Marchal) and Schefflera pubens M. J. Cannon & Cannon [under S. systyla (Donn. Sm.) R. Vig.]. Three additional names employed by the Cannonís are abandoned by Chico as apparently having been misapplied to Costa Rican material: Dendropanax oliganthus (A. C. Sm.) A. C. Sm. [to D. gonatopodus (Donn. Sm.) A. C. Sm.]; Oreopanax nicaraguensis M. J. Cannon & Cannon (to one of the provisionally named spp.); and O. obtusifolius L. O. Williams (mainly to O. nubigenus Standl.). On the other hand, Chico has resurrected Dendropanax stenodontus (Standl.) A. C. Sm. [see The Cutting Edge 10(2): 4, Apr. 2003], cited by the Cannonís in synonymy under D. arboreus (L.) Decne. & Planch., as well as Oreopanax oligocarpus, tacitly (on the basis of specimen determinations) considered a synonym of O. capitatus (Jacq.) Decne. & Planch. by the Cannonís. Finally, the new revision boasts four outright additions to the flora, comprising two spp. of Dendropanax (see our last issue, under "Leaps and Bounds"), plus Oreopanax echinops (Cham. & Schltdl.) Decne. & Planch. [see The Cutting Edge 5(2): 1, Apr. 1998] and Schefflera albocapitata M. J. Cannon & Cannon [see The Cutting Edge 10(2): 4, Apr. 2003].

ERICACEAE. J. L. Luteyn (NY), R. L. Wilbur (DUKE) & J. F. Morales (INB). This is another wholesale extensive revision of a previous draft [see The Cutting Edge 8(3): 3, Jul. 2001], one of the products of the first authorís recent extended residence at MO (see under "News and Notes" in our last issue). The manuscript is now almost perfectly adapted to our Manual format. We detect just two significant changes in the taxonomic content: Disterigma trimerum Wilbur & Luteyn has now been added, as well as Vaccinium floccosum (L. O. Williams) Wilbur & Luteyn (see under "Leaps and Bounds," this issue). Moreover, the monotypic genus Utleya is affirmed as endemic to Costa Rica, and we now count 22 spp. that are explicitly indicated as endemic.

MAGNOLIACEAE. J. González (INB). Just three spp. of this archaic family of trees are attributed to Costa Rica: Magnolia poasana (Pittier) Dandy, M. sororum Seibert, and Talauma gloriensis Pittier. Although none is endemic, all are shared only with Panama. The two Magnolia spp. are montane (above 1300 m), but Talauma descends to near sea level. Two recently described taxa have been overlooked [see The Cutting Edge 1(3): 8, Jul. 1994]: Magnolia sororum subsp. lutea A. Vázquez, which is endemic to Costa Rica (the autonymic subsp. apparently being confined to Panama), and Magnolia panamensis A. Vázquez & H. H. Iltis, which should arguably receive formal treatment, since it has been collected "on the Costa Rican-Panamanian border" (in the vicinity of Cerro Echandi). Moreover, some workers (your editors included) believe that there are in fact two spp. of Talauma in Costa Rica. No cultivated taxa are mentioned, although Magnolia grandiflora L. is sometimes planted for ornament, e.g., in the Valle Central. While the traditional Magnolia/Talauma separation is grudgingly maintained, the author cites an anomalous collection from near ChitarŪa (at the north edge of the Cordillera de Talamanca) that appears to combine some diagnostic characters of the two genera (stipules adnate to the petioles, as Talauma, but distinct, longitudinally dehiscent follicles, as Magnolia), blurring the distinction. We expect that plans are underway to track down additional material of this intriguing, unknown taxon.

SYMPLOCACEAE. Ricardo Kriebel (INB) & Frank Almeda (CAS). Symplocos, the only genus in the family, is represented in Costa Rica by a dozen spp., of which two are provisionally named ("ined."). Five spp. are endemic to the country, including both provisional entities, as well as Symplocos naniflora L. M. Kelly & Almeda, S. oreophila Almeda and S. povedae Almeda. Most of the others are restricted to southern Central America. No hypotheticals or cultivated spp. are included.


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