www.mobot.org Research Home | Search | Contact | Site Map  

North America
South America
General Taxonomy
Photo Essays
Training in Latin

Wm. L. Brown Center
Graduate Studies
Research Experiences
  for Undergraduates

Imaging Lab
MBG Press
Climate Change
Catalog Fossil Plants
Image Index
Rare Books

Res Botanica
All Databases
What's New?
People at MO
Visitor's Guide
Jobs & Fellowships
Research Links
Site Map


Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

Main | Family List (MO) | Family List (INBio) | Cutting Edge
Draft Treatments | Guidelines | Checklist | Citing | Editors

The Cutting Edge

Volume X, Number 1, January 2003

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

Aliscioni, S. S. 2002. Contribución a la filogenia del género Paspalum (Poaceae: Panicoideae: Paniceae). Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 89: 504-523.

Parsimony analyses of morphological and anatomical characaters for 47 spp. suggest that Paspalum is paraphyletic, with respect to both Axonopus and Thrasya. Molecular studies have already shown Thrasya to be nested within Paspalum [see The Cutting Edge 9(1): 4-6, Jan. 2002], but not Axonopus.

Blanco, M. A. 2002. Notes on the natural history of Cyclopogon obliquus (Orchidaceae: Spiranthinae) in Costa Rica. Lankesteriana 5: 3-8.

Here the author recounts the first Costa Rican discovery of Cyclopogon obliquus (J. J. Sm.) Szlach. [also known as Pelexia obliqua (J. J. Sm.) Garay], which he found at (of all places) the Estación Biológica La Selva [see The Cutting Edge 9(1): 2, Jan. 2002]. This “enigmatic“ sp. is so widespread, yet at the same time so seldom collected, that it has been described anew almost every time it has been found; indeed, the author was at one point on the verge of doing so himself. Because all other spp. of both Cyclopogon and Pelexia are neotropical, the author suspects a neotropical origin for C. obliquus, which has turned up also in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guadeloupe, Cuba, Sri Lanka, Java, and Hong Kong. The plants at La Selva appear to be at least facultatively autogamous, as is the case with the invasive African orchid Oeceoclades maculata (Lindl.) Lindl., now widespread in the Neotropics. Illustrated with an excellent, composite line drawing by the author.

Diggs, G. M., Jr. & B. L. Lipscomb. 2002. What is the writer of a flora to do? Evolutionary taxonomy or phylogenetic systematics? Sida 20: 647-674.

We've given lip-service to this subject in these pages [see, e.g., The Cutting Edge 6(1): 1-2, Jan. 1999], but these authors have really gone the whole nine yards. We are thus gratified to learn that their meticulously reasoned approach for the impending Illustrated flora of East Texas coincides, in most important details, with the policy we have fumbled our way toward for the Manual, e.g.: to reference breaking phylogenetic information; to reject clearly polyphyletic groups (such as Liliaceae s. l.); to lump small groups (as Najas in Hydrocharitaceae), when their relationships have become clear; to arrange all taxa alphabetically, within the next highest taxon; to retain the traditional nomenclatural system and a ranked, hierarchical system of classification; and to maintain dubious traditional taxa when their cladistic reclassification is still not finalized (as in Lamiaceae, Scrophulariaceae, and Verbenaceae). More problematic is the issue of paraphyletic taxa, which these authors have opted to accept. This is a highly complex subject, occupying a considerable portion of this article. While there are indeed solid arguments (mainly centering on nomenclatural stability and the classification of fossils) for retaining paraphyletic taxa, we disagree with some of the authors' logic. For example, in discussing the case of Araceae (supposedly paraphyletic with respect to Lemnaceae), the authors reason that “to lump the two families [Araceae and Lemnaceae] and have their genera mingled in a taxonomic treatment accomplishes little and seems to result in a loss of clarity and evolutionary information.“ Similary, they argue that lumping the paraphyletic Portulacaceae with the nested Cactaceae “would only obscure the many differences between these useful and easily recognized groups.“ We find it odd that the authors are so worried about obscuring phenetic differences, but so little concerned with obscuring relationships! We would take the opposite stance: the differences between these taxa (e.g., Portulacaceae and Cactaceae) are glaringly obvious (as these authors themselves admit), even if not reflected in the classification; the classification should instead reflect the underlying cladistic relationships, which are not nearly so obvious. Evolutionary information is lost, it seems to us, by suppressing hard-won insights on relationships for the sole purpose of emphasizing morphological differences that are already self-evident; or, to paraphrase Bob Thorne (RSA), “relationships are more important than differences.“ Having said all of that, we must open ourselves to charges of hypocrisy by admitting that all of the above-mentioned taxa (Araceae, Lemnaceae, Cactaceae, and Portulacaceae) will be accepted at family rank in the Manual-but for practical, rather than theoretical, reasons (a consideration also acknowledged in this paper).

Dressler, R. L. 2002. The major sections or groups within Sobralia, with four new species from Panama and Costa Rica, S. crispissima, S. gloriana, S. mariannae and S. nutans. Lankesteriana 5: 9-15.

Manual Orchidaceae coordinator Robert L. Dressler continues to break new ground for Flora mesoamericana, even as his Manual treatment is in press. The four new Sobralia spp. mentioned in the title are Panamanian endemics, with the exception of S. crispissima Dressler, widepread from southern Mexico to Panama. One Costa Rican specimen of S. crispissima is cited, from the northern Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca, along the road from Turrialba to Siquirres (Dodson 2516, SEL); however, a second, more recently annotated specimen at MO hails from the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca, along the trail to Cerro Chirripó (Gamboa R. 549). Sobralia crispissima has been confused with S. lindleyana Rchb. f. (which, presumably, also occurs in Costa Rica), but differs inter alia in its longer leaves and shorter petals; the two spp. are distinguished in a key couplet. Keys are also provided to separate the “sections, anomalous groups and species“ of Sobralia and the spp. of sect. Globosae Brieger (with only the mysteriously restored S. lancea Garay attributed to Costa Rica). Sobralia crispissima is depicted only by a close-up, color photo of a flower.

Fernández-Alonso, J. L. 2002. Estudios en Labiatae de Colombia III. Novedades en Lepechinia Willd., Salvia L. y Satureja L. Anales Jard. Bot. Madrid 59: 344-348.

The description of Satureja discolor (Kunth) Briq. var. manaurensis Fern. Alonso, so far known only from the Colombian slope of the Serranía de Perijá, establishes the autonymic variety for all other populations of S. discolor (which occurs in Costa Rica). The sp. is known alternatively as Gardoquia discolor Kunth, or Clinopodium foliolosum (Benth.) Govaerts [see The Cutting Edge 8(2): 8, Apr. 2001].

Fryxell, P. A. 2002. An Abutilon nomenclator (Malvaceae). Lundellia 5: 79-11.

As a first step toward a taxonomic revision of the large (ca. 160 spp.) genus Abutilon, bibliographic and typological information is provided (when available) for more than 500 names at sp. and infraspecific rank, as well as 25 at supraspecific rank. Five new combinations are validated (none pertinent to Costa Rican floristics), and more than 70 lectotypes and two neotypes are designated.

Gituru, R. W., Q.-F. Wang, Y. Wang & Y.-H. Guo. 2002. (1546) Proposal to conserve the name Sagittaria guyanensis (Alismataceae) with that spelling. Taxon 51: 575-576.

The epithet was originally spelled (by Kunth, in 1816) guayanensis, but was changed by Buchenau (in Das Pflanzenreich, 1903) to guyanensis, “to ease pronunciation...especially for native speakers of European languages.“ That is a pretty sorry excuse for altering the spelling of an epithet, not to mention contrary to the Code, as pointed out in this proposal; indeed, the authors of the proposal present more and better reasons against the proposed conservation than for it. Their only argument in favor is a rather weak one, that the spelling guyanensis has been used (according to their research) in marginally more works (44 vs. 39) than the original version; however, we learn little about the relative importance of these works. With regard to recent Mesoamerican floras, guyanensis was used in Flora mesoamericana, but guayanensis in Flora de Nicaragua (and in our Manual draft). In the absence of a compelling case for conservation, priority should always prevail. We'd vote to nix this one!

González-Elizondo, M. S., M. González-Elizondo & S. G. Smith. 2002. Eleocharis obtusetrigona (Cyperaceae) new to North and Central America. Acta. Bot. Mex. 60: 7-11.

These reports, from Texas, Veracruz, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica, are the first of Eleocharis obtusetrigona (Lindl. & Nees) Steud. from outside South America; Mesoamerican material of this sp. had previously been misidentified as E. acutangula (Roxb.) Schult., E. cellulosa Torr., or E. mutata (L.) Roem. & Schult. A dichotomous key separates E. obtusetrigona from these and one other similar spp. The lone Costa Rican specimen cited, Lot et al. 1214 (MEXU), is from Las Cóncavas, the site of the Jardín Botánico Lankester, where this sp. could conceivably have been introduced. A detailed, formal description of E. obtusetrigona is provided, together with full synonymy.

Guaglianone, E. R. 2001. Contribución al estudio del género Rhynchospora (Cyperaceae) V. Sección Longirostres en América austral. Darwiniana 39: 287-342.

Rhynchospora sect. Longirostres Kunth, a member of subgen. Haplostylis (Nees) Pax, comprises 19 spp., best represented in the Neotropics. Indeed, 16 spp. are restricted to the New World, while just one is restricted to the Old World (the remaining two spp. being cosmopolitan). Although this work focuses on South America, specimens are cited from throughout the range of most spp. The section is most diverse in South America and temperate North America, with just three spp. here attributed to Costa Rica: Rhynchospora corymbosa (L.) Britton (represented by the cosmopolitan var. corymbosa), R. pedersenii Guagl., and R. triflora Vahl. We also have several Costa Rican records for Rhynchospora trispicata (Nees) Schrad. ex Steud., which is treated in Jorge Gómez- Laurito's Manual draft (and was attributed to Costa Rica in Flora mesoamericana). However, Rhynchospora pedersenii, widespread from Mexico to Paraguay, is a new one for us, with a single Costa Rican record, from near Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí (Wilbur 37116, MO; determined in TROPICOS as R. corymbosa). Rhynchospora pedersenii is a nomen novum, based on R. gigantea Link var. latifolia H. Pfeiff. [non R. latifolia (Baldwin) W. W. Thomas]; one new sp. and two new combinations are also validated here, but do not concern us. Features synonymy, typology, and more or less lengthy descriptions at all levels, a (non-indented) key to spp., separate keys to infraspecific taxa, specimen citations, distribution maps, fine, composite line drawings of most spp., and indices to exsiccatae and scientific names.

Gustafsson, M. H. G., V. Bittrich & P. F. Stevens. 2002. Phylogeny of Clusiaceae based on rbcL sequences. Int. J. Pl. Sci. 163: 1045-1054.

This study, involving 31 spp. of Clusiaceae and 21 outgroup spp., confirms a close relationship of this family to Podostemaceae, previously suggested by other molecular investigations. Indeed, Clusiaceae is paraphyletic if it does not include Podostemaceae, which is nested within the former family as the sister group of subfam. Hypericoideae. The authors decline to impose a formal new classification, pending additional studies involving a larger sample; however, they express a disinclination to sink Podostemaceae into Clusiaceae and thereby “create a highly heterogeneous unit that would be hard to identify macromorphologically.“ They instead lean toward “a solution that perhaps is more appealing,“ i.e., to retain Podostemaceae and divide Clusiaceae into three families: Hypericaceae (Hypericum and Vismia, in Costa Rica), Calophyllaceae (Calophyllum, Mammea, Marila, and perhaps Clusiella), and Clusiaceae s. str. (the remaining genera). Several similarities between the superficially very different Podostemaceae and Clusiaceae s. l. are mentioned (presence of secretory organs, tenuinucellate ovules, and xanthones).

Hall, J. C., K. J. Sytsma & H. H. Iltis. 2002. Phylogeny of Capparaceae and Brassicaceae based on chloroplast sequence data. Amer. J. Bot. 89: 1826-1842.

Parsimony and likelihood analyses of sequence variation using two chloroplast regions strongly support the monophyly of Brassicaceae s. l. (including Capparaceae), excluding the genus Forchhammeria (with two spp. occurring in Costa Rica), which appears most closely associated with Resedaceae. The remainder of the genera sampled fall into three well supported clades, corresponding to Brassicaceae, Capparaceae subfam. Capparoideae, and Capparaceae subfam. Cleomoideae; however, the last-mentioned clade is sister to Brassicaceae, rendering Capparaceae paraphyletic. The authors discuss three classificatory options: recognition of a single family, Brassicaceae s. l., already embraced by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group [see The Cutting Edge 6(1): 5-6, Jan. 1999], or of two or three smaller families. Arguing that “subsuming all of Capparaceae or just Cleomoideae within an expanded Brassicaceae obscures the many clear morphological characters that leave Brassicaceae a practical and cohesive family,“ they advocate the recognition of three families: Brassicaceae s. l., Capparaceae, and Cleomaceae (the last including only Cleome and Podandrogyne, among Costa Rican genera). This paper claims to incorporate the largest sampling of Capparaceae of any molecular study to date, and “is the first to intentionally sample the diversity of the family with respect to Brassicaceae.“

Henderson, A. J. 2002. Phenetic and phylogenetic analysis of Reinhardtia (Palmae). Amer. J. Bot. 89: 1491-1502.

The prevailing classification of Reinhardtia as a genus of six spp. is upheld emphatically by principal component and cluster analysis of morphological data. Seven distinct groups could be recognized within Reinhardtia gracilis (H. Wendl.) Burret, a sp. for which three vars. are accepted by the author; the only var. occurring in Costa Rica, R. gracilis var. rostrata (Burret) H. E. Moore, is characterized by both “normal-fruited“ and “large-fruited“ groups (with the latter restricted to Panama and Colombia). A cladogram is presented in support of the author's contention that speciation in Reinhardtia “has taken place from large- to small-size plants, from north to south, and from higher to lower elevations.“ Includes distribution maps.

--. & E. Ferreira. 2002. A morphometric study of Synechanthus (Palmae). Syst. Bot. 27: 693-702.

Statistical analyses of morphological variation within and between the two spp. of Synechanthus disclose some interesting patterns, but lead to no classificatory changes. Synechanthus fibrosus (H. Wendl.) H. Wendl. exists in three geographically disjunct populations, from Mexico to Costa Rica, that can be distinguished by discriminant analysis. Synechanthus warscewiczianus H. Wendl. is relatively invariable over latitude (Nicaragua to Ecuador), but manisfests altitude-correlated variation on three isolated Panamanian peaks (Cerros Campana, Gaital, and Jefe); these populations, comprising unusually small plants, are also distinguishable (from one another, as well as from larger plants) by discriminant analysis. Includes distribution maps.

Hu, J.-M., M. Lavin, M. F. Wojciechowski & M. J. Sanderson. 2002. Phylogenetic analysis of nuclear ribosomal ITS/5.8S sequences in the tribe Millettieae (Fabaceae): Poecilanthe-Cyclolobium, the core Millettieae, and the Callerya group. Syst. Bot. 27: 722-733.

Of incidental interest to us is the strong suppost shown for the inclusion of Willardia in Lonchocarpus; Muellera, also sometimes referred to Lonchocarpus, was apparently not included in this study.

Janovec, J. P. & J. S. Harrison. 2002. A morphological analysis of the Compsoneura sprucei complex (Myristicaceae), with a new combination for the Central American species Compsoneura mexicana. Syst. Bot. 27: 662-673.

Critical evaluation of morphological characters, including principal components analysis, succeeds in resolving two more or less distinct entities within the widespread taxon that we have known as Compsoneura sprucei (A. DC.) Warb. The latter name is here restricted to populations in western Amazonian South America; for Mesoamerican plants, the new combination Compsoneura mexicana (Hemsl.) Janovec (based on Myristica mexicana Hemsl.) is validated. The rather subtle differences (involving bark features, leaf shape, details of the staminate flowers, and fruit characters) are presented in tabular and key form. The authors suggest that “the Andes Mountain chain, as a geomorphological barrier to cross-fertilization, dispersal, and gene flow, has played a significant role in the evolutionary and biogeographic patterns exhibited by [Compsoneura].“ A formal systematic treatment of the two-sp. complex includes synonymy, typology, lengthy descriptions, citation of representative specimens, distribution maps, and SEM micrographs of staminate floral features.

Jenny, R. 2002. Mormodes horichii-Neues aus Herrenhausen. Orchidee (Hamburg) 53: 355-357.

Contains information on the 1961 discovery of the rare Mormodes horichii Fowlie (Orchidaceae), as well as a brief biographical sketch of its discoverer, the late Clarence Kl. Horich (1930-1994), with color photos of both plant and man. In German.

Jiménez, Q., F. Rojas, V. Rojas & L. Rodríguez. 2002. Árboles maderables de Costa Rica, ecología y silvicultura. Edit. INBio y Tecnol. 361 pp.

This new work features descriptions and color photos of the 55 most important timber tree spp. in Costa Rica, together with ecological data and information on silviculture. Wood samples are also illustrated. Bilingual (Spanish/English). We have not yet seen this book, but are indebted to first author Quírico Jiménez for this preliminary announcement.

Kron, K. A., W. S. Judd, P. F. Stevens, D. M. Crayn, A. A. Anderberg, P. A. Gadek, C. J. Quinn & J. L. Luteyn. 2002. Phylogenetic classification of Ericaceae: molecular and morphological evidence. Bot. Rev. (Lancaster) 68: 335-423.

A new classification of Ericaceae, based on several character-fields (including DNA sequence data), is formalized. This is of only marginal interest to us, except for the inclusion of the taxa formerly distinguished as Pyrolaceae and Monotropaceae as subfam. Monotropoideae (one of nine subfamilies). Two new combinations and three new taxa are validated, none relevant to Costa Rican floristics.

Liede, S. & A. Tåuber. 2002. Circumscription of the genus Cynanchum (Apocynaceae-Asclepiadoideae). Syst. Bot. 27: 789-800.

Chaos has long reigned over the generic classification of the former Asclepiadaceae (now a subfamily of Apocynaceae), and the results of this inconclusive study will only serve to perpetuate that situation. Sequence analysis of three genetic regions for 105 spp. of Cynanchum and related genera reveals a fundamental split along Old World/New World lines, with Cynanchum s. str. (including the type sp.) restricted to the Old World. Most of the New World Cynanchum spp. appear in a separate clade-paraphyletically, with respect to numerous other genera including Blepharodon, Ditassa, Funastrum, Metastelma, Orthosia, and Tassadia; however, the New World Cynanchum subg. Mellichampia (A. Gray ex S. Watson) Sundell (including C. racemosum Jacq.) appears with the Old World clade, where it is paraphyletic with respect to the sole sp. of Metalepis studied. Metastelma and Orthosia are characterized as clearly distinct from Cynanchum, in whatever context; Ditassa is “possibly“ polyphyletic. While anticipating “extensive renaming especially in the New World 'Cynanchum' segregates,“ the authors wisely refrain from such activity at the present time, citing their limited data-set. For the time being, they recommend that New World workers use generic names other than Cynanchum (Metastelma, Orthosia, etc.), whenever these are available; when they are not, then the name “Cynanchum“ should be be placed in quotes(!).

Luer, C. A. 2002. Miscellaneous new species in the Pleurothallidinae (Orchidaceae). Selbyana 23: 1-45.

Thirty new spp., one new subsp., and one new combination are validated in this paper, but just two of the new spp. are pertinent to Costa Rica. Pleurothallis haberi Luer, dedicated to our esteemed colleague William Haber, is a diminutive member of subg. Specklinia (Lindl.) Garay [and hence would presumably be treated in the genus Specklinia by Pridgeon and Chase; see Cutting Edge 9(1): 9-10, Jan. 2002]. The 153rd Pleurothallis sp. recorded from Costa Rica, P. haberi is known only by the type collection, from 900 m on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Tilarán in the Monteverde region. The name Zootrophion williamsii Luer is coined for a sp. of Costa Rica and Panama previously known (even in early Manual Orchidaceae drafts) as Z. atropurpureum (Lindl.) Luer; the latter name is now restricted to material from the Greater Antilles and southern Brazil. Both new spp. are depicted in fine, composite line drawings. Unfortunately, Pleurothallis haberi just misses our deadline for inclusion in the Manual; however, we should still be able to accommodate the name-change from “Zootrophion sp. A“ to Z. williamsii.

--. 2002. A systematic method of classification of the Pleurothallidinae versus a strictly phylogenetic method. Selbyana 23: 57-110.

In which the author rejects the “phylogenetic“ classification of subtribe Pleurothallidinae Lindl. (Orchidaceae) recently adduced by Pridgeon and Chase [see The Cutting Edge 9(1): 9-10, Jan. 2002] in favor of his own “systematic“ classification and, for good measure, formally synonymizes all of the new combinations and names validated by those authors. Various errors and false assumptions made by Pridgeon and Chase are also corrected. Although we disagree with the author's theoretical arguments (that the purpose of taxonomy is identification, and that polyphyletic taxa are acceptable if so characterized), he does make a compelling case, on practical grounds, for the provisional maintenance of the status quo. Put it this way: we were quite content with the author's rejection of the final-hour “phylogenetic“ overhaul for his Manual treatment of Pleurothallidinae!

Morales, C. O. 2002. Ecce homo, scientia clarus: Luis Fournier Origgi (1935-2002). Lankesteriana 5: 1-2.

A fond remembrance of the recently deceased Costa Rican plant biologist [see The Cutting Edge 9(3): 1, Jul. 2002], to whom this issue of Lankesteriana is dedicated.

--. 2002. Trichopilia × ramonensis (Orchidaceae), un híbrido natural de Costa Rica. Lankesteriana 5: 17-21.

A natural hybrid between Trichopilia marginata Henfr. and T. suavis Lindl., collected several times in the San Ramón region of central Costa Rica, is officially christened as T. × ramonensis J. B. García & D. E. Mora ex C. O. Morales (the name having been used informally by the indicated authors in 1992). Photographic evidence strongly suggests that the hybrid also occurs in Panama. Illustrated with a composite line drawing.

--. 2002. Notas varias sobre Heliconia rodriguezii (Heliconiaceae) de Costa Rica. Lankesteriana 5: 23-25.

Heliconia rodriguezii F. G. Stiles was described in 1982, but all the original material has remained at USJ for 20 years; the isotypes were finally distributed only this year. Morphological, distributional, and phenological information are provided for this little known sp., endemic to Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo at ca. 800-1550 m elevation. Illustrated with a line drawing.

Nickrent, D. L., A. Blarer, Y.-L. Qiu, D. E. Soltis, P. S. Soltis & M. Zanis. 2002. Molecular data place Hydnoraceae with Aristolochiaceae. Amer. J. Bot. 89: 1809-1817.

The title just about says it all. Combined analyses of six different genes suggest that the odd parasitic family Hydnoraceae, often associated with Rafflesiaceae, belongs instead to a clade here termed Aristolochiaceae s. l. (including Lactoridaceae). This clade is in turn sister to Piperaceae and Saururaceae. Because the relationships within Aristolochiaceae s. l. could not be resolved, the internal classification of the group remains in limbo. Perhaps of greater interest to us is the authors' incidental mention of an earlier paper, not seen by us, in which Prosopanche costaricensis L. D. Gómez & Gómez-Laur. (the only Central American representative of Hydnoraceae) was placed in synonymy under P. americana (R. Br.) Baill.

Pupulin, F. 2002. Exploring for orchids. Orchids 71: 1016-1019.

To illustrate the point that “exploration is still an integral part of botanical work,“ the author relates his now familiar tale of the discovery of a new orchid sp. at a relatively well botanized site. The subject is Ornithocephalus montealegreae Pupulin, the eighth Costa Rican member of its genus, found at ca. 1100 m elevation near Moravia de Chirripó, on the Atlantic slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca. The new sp. is “easily distinguished...by its long, subfalcate petals and the elliptic, boat-shaped lip terminating in a bicallous apex with two bright yellow, rounded blotches“ resembling pollen masses. A subsequent collection, from 600 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of Volcán Irazú, is cited as a paratype. Illustrated with an excellent, composite line drawing by the author, as well as color photos of living material. This is another novelty that did not make the cut for the Manual.

--. & M. A. Blanco. 2002. A new species of Stellilabium section Taeniorhachis (Orchidaceae) from Costa Rica. Lankesteriana 5: 27-30.

Stellilabium smaragdinum Pupulin & M. A. Blanco becomes the twelfth Costa Rican member of its genus, notorious for being represented in most herbaria by as many (or fewer) specimens as spp. The new sp., known only by the type collected in oak forest at ca. 2400 m elevation near the Continental Divide in the northern Cordillera de Talamanca, is related and compared to S. minutiflorum (Kraenzl.) Garay and the recently described S. erratum Dressler [see The Cutting Edge 9(1): 4, Jan. 2002]. Illustrated with a very fine, composite line drawing by the first author. Another in the growing list of eleventh-hour orchid novelties that the Manual will be unable to accommodate. Taking this new sp., together with Ornithocephalus montealegreae (see previous entry), Sobralia crispissima (see under Dressler, this column), and Pleurothallis haberi and Zootrophion williamsii (see first Luer entry), our running total of new orchid spp. described from Costa Rica since 1993 climbs to 194.

Quinn, C. J., R. A. Price & P. A. Gadek. 2002. Familial concepts and relationships in the conifers based on rbcL and matK sequence comparisons. Kew Bull. 57: 513-531.

Cupressaceae s. str. and Cupressaceae s. l. (including Taxodiaceae) both emerge as monophyletic, with 100% bootstrap support; however, Taxodiaceae is paraphyletic with respect to Cupressaceae s. str. This information vindicates the inclusive circumscription of Cupressaceae in Mary Merello's Manual treatment [see The Cutting Edge 9(4): 2, Oct. 2002].

Salazar, G. A., M. W. Chase & M. A. Soto Arenas. 2002. Galeottiellinae, a new subtribe and other nomenclatural changes in Spiranthinae (Orchidaceae: Cranichideae). Lindleyana 17: 172-176.

The only item here of interest to us is the new combination Pteroglossa roseoalba (Rchb. f.) Salazar & M. W. Chase, based on Pelexia roseoalba Rchb. f. This sp. has most recently been called Eltroplectris roseoalba (Rchb. f.) Hamer & Garay (as in our Manual draft); however, foliar and floral morphology better concord with Pteroglossa, and unpublished molecular data support removal from Eltroplectris.

Smith, G. F. & E. M. A. Steyn. 2002. Agave wercklei: a mesoamerican species in South Africa. Bradleya 20: 45-50.

We are surprised to learn that Agave wercklei F. A. C. Weber ex Wercklé (Agavaceae), a narrow endemic in Costa Rica, is grown as an ornamental in South Africa, “where it has the potential of becoming a problem plant.“ Strangely, the authors do not elaborate on the last-mentioned claim, failing even to establish that A. wercklei occurs outside cultivation in South Africa. They do, however, provide a full description, distribution maps (for both Mesoamerica and South Africa), detailed line drawings, and color photos from life. The fruits of A. wercklei are described for (ostensibly) the first time, and the flowers and fruits are illustrated for the first time.

Steinmann, V. W. & J. M. Porter. 2002. Phylogenetic relationships in Euphorbieae (Euphorbiaceae) based on ITS and ndhF sequence data. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 89: 453-490.

Parsimony analyses of both nuclear and chloroplast DNA sequences show Euphorbia to be paraphyletic, with “all other genera currently recognized in the subtribe“ nested therein. These nested genera include Chamaesyce and Pedilanthus (as well as Poinsettia, not “currently recognized,“ at least by these authors). Bucking “the current taxonomic trend...in the direction of splitting Euphorbia,“ the authors instead argue cogently to expand the genus “to encompass all members of the subtribe.“ They note that the splitting option (defining the genus Euphorbia as congruent to the present subgenus Euphorbia) would require changing the names of ca. 1700 spp. (vs. only ca. 100 in the expansion option); indeed, ca. 90% of the spp. currently in Euphorbia would be banished to other genera, often weakly characterized on the basis of cyathial characters. Naturally, we come down on the side of expansion, and while we lament the loss of Pedilanthus, it seems a small price to pay for the elimination of Chamaesyce, a bogus genus if ever there was one (take that, Daryl!).

Szlachetko, D. L. & H. B. Margonska. 2002. Gynostemia orchidalium II. Orchidaceae (Epidendroideae). Acta Bot. Fenn. 173: 1-275.

This is the second installment in a projected four-part series [for a description, see The Cutting Edge 8(1): 9, Jan. 2001]. This contribution does not appear to incorporate any nomenclatural innovations.

Thomson, J. A. & M. E. Alonso-Amelot. 2002. Clarification of the taxonomic status and relationships of Pteridium caudatum (Dennstaedtiaceae) in Central and South America. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 140: 237-248.

Morphological comparisons and “DNA fingerprinting“ reaffirm that Pteridium caudatum (L.) Maxon merits recognition at sp. rank (as according to Flora mesoamericana), even though it has often been treated as a var. of P. aquilinum (L.) Kuhn. The DNA results suggest that P. caudatum is a fertile allotetraploid, with genomic elements characteristic of the southern hemisphere diploid Pteridium arachnoideum (Kaulf.) Maxon, together with elements of some northern hemisphere diploid taxa. The “heterogeneity observed within P. caudatum is consistent with multiple origins through independent hybridization events.“

Yakandawala, D. M. D., C. M. Morton & G. T. Prance. 2001. A phylogenetic study of the Chrysobalanaceae using morphological data. Ceylon J. Sci., Biol. Sci. 28: 1-17.

Cladistic analysis using 50 morphological characters and all 17 genera of Chrysobalanaceae (with Dichapetalaceae as the out-group) indicates that Licania is paraphyletic; the (presumably African) subg. Afrolicania (Mildbr.) F. White & Prance is closer to Chrysobalanus than to the rest of Licania, and should thus be reinstated at generic rank.


© 1995-2021 Missouri Botanical Garden, All Rights Reserved
4344 Shaw Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 577-5100

Technical Support