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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XV, Number 2, April 2008

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

FABACEAE/FABOIDEAE. Recent hard work by Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora has uncovered several new country records in Fabaceae (see also the following entry). Indigofera spicata Forssk., an Old World adventive, can be added to the Costa Rican flora based on a recent collection by INB volunteer Ted Bradley from near his home in Santo Domingo de Heredia. This sp. was already known from Nicaragua.

FABACEAE/MIMOSOIDEAE. Chalk up two more additions to the Costa Rican flora, one outright, the other a taxonomic segregation. The former is Mimosa caesalpiniifolia Benth., previously known only from Brazil, but collected by INB wunderkind Daniel Santamaría near Esparza, in the central Pacific lowlands, under circumstances strongly suggestive of indigenous status. Senegalia multipinnata (Ducke) Seigler & Ebinger, also previously regarded as strictly South American, has been segregated by Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora from Costa Rican (and Panamanian) material generally identified as S. tenuifolia (L.) Britton & Rose [or Acacia tenuifolia (L.) Willd.]. The latter sp., in the strict sense, remains a member of the Costa Rican flora, restricted to dry habitats on the Pacific slope; S. multipinnata occurs in relatively more humid habitats on both slopes.

LECYTHIDACEAE. Nothing new to the country here, just a considerable, though not totally unexpected, range extension within. In the just-published Vol. 6 of the Manual, Couroupita nicaraguarensis DC. is ascribed only to the northern parts of the country (both slopes) and the Península de Nicoya, but "podría ocurrir también en la región de Baja Talamanca, vert. Carib., dado que hay varios registros de las partes bajas de Prov. Bocas del Toro, Pan." We now have a voucher (Hammel et al. 24485) from just there, in beach-front forest very near Manzanillo de Talamanca. Thanks and a tip o' the hat to Ron Hammel, who while vacationing with brother Barry proclaimed, "Hey, come look at these odd, cannonball-like fruits hanging up in that tall tree!" See a photo of those very fruits fallen, and more information about the sp., at Manual Lecythidaceae contributor Scott Mori's (NY) page:


MALVACEAE. This one is really hot off the presses (but a few months too late for the Manual!): Phymosia rosea (DC.) Kearney, hitherto found only in Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador, was just collected in the Cerros de Escazú by Ricardo Kriebel (CAS) and colleagues (Kriebel et al. 5249). Because of the wide disjunction, and the fact that this ornamental sp. has sometimes been cultivated, we cannot help but be mildly suspicious of the record; nonetheless, both Ricardo and co-collector Daniel Solano (INB) insist that the habitat was pristine, and not having been there, we haven’t a case.

MUSACEAE. This report could just as well be filed under "Annotate Your Copy" or “Errata.” Musa textilis Née, a rather insidiously invasive monster, is not new to Costa Rica, let alone a native species. In Vol. 2 of the Manual (containing Musaceae), published in September 2003, it was reported only from the Península de Osa, but already in August of 1994 a specimen (Estrada & Rodríguez 166) had been collected on the Península de Nicoya. The mounted specimen, comprising leaves only (fruits filed separately), was found alone in a slim Musaceae indet. folder at INB, and the determination made just last month. Maybe the specimen hadn't been processed and mounted in time for Vol. 2, or perhaps we just overlooked it. In any case, the second collector, AKA Popeye (INB), reports that he knew this sp., even as a child, from at least that one spot on the Península de Nicoya. Of course he didn't know it as M. textilis, just as an odd, pithy-tasting banana with large seeds! Not so much for an oversight, as for lack of any specimen, can we now also report M. textilis as the commonest, and largest, herbaceous roadside weed along the Caribbean coastal plain, all the way from about Guápiles to at least Manzanillo de Talamanca (Hammel et al. 24489), where it is one of the first plants to take hold in newly cleared and subdivided forest (e.g., along the gravel road south from Punta Uva, leading to the superhighway between Bribrí and Sixaola), making way for other invaders of this once naturally rich coast. Despite its abundance, it may be that Musa textilis is a fairly recent invader in the region, as seems to be the case for its equally pernicious congener, M. velutina H. Wendl. & Drude [see The Cutting Edge 14(3): 13, Jul. 2007].

ORCHIDACEAE. A specimen (A. Rojas 3246) collected in 1996 at 3056 m elevation on the Pacific slope of the southern Cordillera de Talamanca was recently identified by Manual Orchidaceae co-contributor Eric Hágsater (AMO) as Epidendrum stolidium Hágsater (formerly Oerstedella ornata Dressler). This sp. was previously believed endemic to western Panama. Thanks to Francisco Morales (INB) for this alert, as well as the following.

ROSACEAE. Some specimens collected last year by Francisco Morales on Cerro de La Muerte have been determined by visiting specialist Katya Romolereux (QCA; see under “News and Notes”) as Lachemilla mandoniana (Wedd.) Rothm. (e.g., J. F. Morales 14775), until now recorded only from Andean South America (Colombia to Bolivia and Venezuela). Mind-boggling that such a heavily botanized locale continues to yield novelties!


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