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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XII, Number 2, April 2005

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

COURSE IN NICARAGUA. Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora joined forces with Manual contributor (Verbenaceae) Ricardo Rueda (HULE) and INBio botanists Alexánder Rodríguez and Daniel Solano in helming a course entitled “Identificación, evaluación y monitoreo de la biodiversidad,” staged in Depto. Río San Juan, Nicaragua, from 14–24 February. Focusing on the methodogical aspects of biodiversity assessment, the group installed six Gentry-type transects, which yielded an average of 98–109 spp. of “plants” (we assume this means trees). The site was a private reserve, the Refugio Bartola, at about 30 m elevation in Municipio El Castillo, in an area of relatively high rainfall (ca. 4000 mm per year) not far from the Río San Juan. Not surprisingly, the group encountered numerous spp. not previously recorded from Nicaragua (according to the Flora de Nicaragua), including: Alseis costaricensis C. M. Taylor (Rubiaceae), Ceiba rosea (Seem.) K. Schum. (Bombacaceae), Dichapetalum moralesii Prance (Dichapetalaceae), Eugenia basilaris McVaugh (Myrtaceae), Licaria debilis (Mez) Kosterm. (Lauraceae), Maytenus guyanensis Klotzsch (Celastraceae), Pouteria silvestris T. D. Penn. and Pradosia atroviolacea Ducke (Sapotaceae), and Ruptiliocarpon caracolito Hammel & N. Zamora (Lepidobotryaceae). Several of these signify endemics lost to Costa Rica, e.g., Alseis costaricensis, Dichapetalum moralesii, and Pouteria silvestris. Many plant spp. were observed to be more or less abundant on one side of the river than the other. The course was bankrolled by the Darwin Project, involving INBio, CATIE, and the University of Wales in Bangor. The 14 student participants comprised 10 Nicaraguans and four Costa Ricans. Insect (scarab beetle) biodiversity was also addressed, with the assistance of INBio entomologists Ángel Solís and Braulio Hernández. The botanical vouchers were prepared by Ricardo Rueda and deposited at HULE. For more information on this and other interesting topics, together with photos, check out INBio’s newsletter at the following site:


ACRONYM FOR LA SELVA HERBARIUM. We don’t know the details of how it happened or when, but the modest herbarium at OTS’s Estación Biológica La Selva now has its own, official acronym, LSCR, duly accounted for in the Index herbariorum Web site:


Costa Rica now can boast six herbaria with official acronyms, the others being CATIE, CR, INB, JVR (for the herbarium at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma, in Heredia), and USJ. Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora is indicated by Index herbariorum as curator of LSCR.

EDITORS AT LARGE. He’s back! Manual co-PI Barry Hammel arrived at MO on 5 April for a stay of nearly two months, during which time he will concentrate mainly on producing a Clusiaceae treatment for Flora mesoamericana (from which a Manual treatment will be distilled). Barry is accompanied by Isabel Pérez, and together they stopped en route at US to work a bit in the herbarium. His counterpart, Nelson Zamora, is currently in Europe on a 10-day trip that will feature stopovers in London (K) and Scotland. Nelson will be seeking a second round of funding for the Darwin Project (see the first paragraph of this column), and also tying up some taxonomic loose ends, especially with regard to a forthcoming revision of Dussia (Fabaceae/Faboideae).

NEW PALM SITE. Arecaceae authority Andrew Henderson (NY), having embarked on the treacherous path toward a revision of the large and pesky palm genus Geonoma, has posted his results to date on the Web, for review and commentary, at the following URL:


His most significant conclusions relevant to us affect the sp. called Geonoma oxycarpa Mart. in co-PI Mike Grayum’s Manual treatment. Henderson subsumes all of our material into a more broadly circumscribed entity bearing the name Geonoma pinnatifrons Willd., that is further resolved into six subspp. Costa Rica is home to two of these subspp., the names of which are as-yet-unpublished combinations based on Geonoma binervia Oerst. and G. mexicana Liebm. (both cited in the Manual as synonyms of G. oxycarpa). The name Geonoma oxycarpa itself is the basis for another unpublished combination, intended for a subsp. restricted to Haiti.

NEW ORCHID UTILITY. A comprehensive index of scientific names covering all 26 installments of Manual Orchidaceae co-contributor Carlyle Luer’s essential Icones pleurothallidinarum series is now available on the Internet at the following site:


The PDF is gratis. According to Manual correspondent Mario Blanco (FLAS), to whom we owe this tidbit, the index was compiled independently by one Peter Wondergem, of the Netherlands (whose name does not appear anywhere on the document).

SOME VACATION! Hats off to Manual Marantaceae contributor Helen Kennedy (UBC), who somehow survived the tsunamis at Phuket, Thailand, relatively unscathed, even though she was apparently in the ocean when they hit.

VISITORS IN COSTA RICA. MO doctoral candidate and Menispermaceae specialist Rosa Ortiz-Gentry was in Costa Rica as we wrote this, enjoying the field companionship of Reinaldo Aguilar, and Francisco Morales and Orlando Vargas. In such capable hands, there was little doubt that Rosa would succeed in obtaining all the material she desired, which she did. Manual Rubiaceae contributor Charlotte M. Taylor (MO) visited Costa Rica briefly in April, mainly in connection with her work on the La Selva flora project [see The Cutting Edge 11(3): 2-3, Jul. 2004]. Manual Acanthaceae co-contributor Lucinda McDade (PH) paid a short visit to INB during 8–10 February.


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