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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 1, January 2004

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

[N.B.: This new column serves the function of publicizing corrections to significant errors in already-published Manual volumes that have been discovered by your editors, or that have been brought to our attention by contributors or users. We will not use this space to rectify minor typographical errors, such as misspellings, wrong font or incorrect indentation. We will also not use it to amend or augment geographic or elevational distributions or phenological data. New country records (including major in-country distribution records) and taxa new to science will continue to be reported under "Leaps and Bounds" and "Germane Literature," as appropriate. Here, we will limit ourselves to correcting errors that impact on such significant matters as the usage of names and the identification of taxa (and it bears emphasizing that we will address, in this context, only errors, not new developments). We hope that this column will be only an occasional feature, perhaps even a one-shot deal. At the same time, we implore our readers to report any errors they may find in our published volumes, even including minor typographical errors and the like (which we will keep on file for future editions).]

ALLIACEAE. The voucher cited for Allium schoenoprasum L. (chives) actually represents A. cepa L. (onion). The story behind this error is somewhat comical, and speaks volumes about the ambiguity of common names. Allium schoenoprasum was a last-minute addition to the Manual (these late modifications seem to be a disproportionate source of errors); it was originally just mentioned in the family discussion, with citation of its local common name, "cebollín." Subsequently, co-editor Cecilia Herrera suggested that cebollín should receive full, formal treatment in the Manual, citing its ubiquity in Costa Rican markets, and volunteered to prepare the required voucher (in the number series of her husband, Luis Flores). Alliaceae contributor Mike Grayum agreed to this arrangement, despite never having noticed chives himself in Costa Rica. Notice them he finally did, during his most recent visit last August, flowering in a small pot in Ceciliaís office. But when Grayum wondered aloud whether her potted plant might have yielded the Manual voucher for A. schoenoprasum, Cecilia appeared taken aback: no, she said, the plant on her window-ledge was a miniature form of cebollín that was rare in Costa Rica; true cebollín was a much larger plant. Grayum at once retreated to the INB herbarium, to discover (what he should already have known) that "true" cebollín, as the term is generally applied in Costa Rica, is merely a "tierno" stage or form of A. cepa (i.e., green onions or scallions). So disregard the voucher cited for A. schoenoprasum in the Manual (Cecilia has promised to prepare another one), but the description and key are correct as they stand. More to the point, had the truth been known, A. schoenoprasum would never have been granted formal inclusion in the first place!

ARACEAE. The same voucher is cited for both Xanthosoma dealbatum Grayum and X. wendlandii (Schott) Schott. This specimen (Grayum et al. 4016) correctly represents the former sp. For. X. wendlandii, substitute "(Grayum & Alfaro 11608; INB, MO)." This type of error can be traced to the use (by the contributor) of one complete sp. entry (generally, the first in the alphabetical sequence) as a template for all the others in a genus, coupled with the failure to overwrite some portions; thus, the redundant information would always correctly apply to the first sp. Hats off to Flora mesoamericana assistant Teri Bilsborrow, who encountered this error during the course of her databasing activities for that project.

BROMELIACEAE. The sp. called Bromelia plumieri (E. Morren) L. B. Sm. in the Manual is correctly Bromelia karatas L. In perpetrating this error, we failed to delve deeply enough and overlooked the following important paper:

Grant, J. R. & G. Zijlstra. 1998. An annotated catalogue of the generic names of the Bromeliaceae. Selbyana 19: 91-121.

Here, on p. 102, the complicated nomenclatural history of this entity is disentangled. Linnaeusís Bromelia karatas dates from 1753; an avowed substitute, Karatas plumieri E. Morren (1872), was later created to avoid a tautonym. However, it turns out that Karatas is an obligate synonym of Bromelia (they have the same type), prompting the combination B. plumieri (E. Morren) L. B. Sm. (1967); unfortunately, the last-mentioned name is illegitimate because it is based on the same type as the prior B. karatas, the name that must be used.

We thank Jason R. Grant (NEU), Manual contributor (though not of Bromeliaceae!), for bringing this mistake to our attention.

CYMODOCEACEAE. In the discussion under Halodule wrightii, "Halophila beaudettei" should read "Halodule beaudettei." This is is not a typo, but a mental lapse, the result of a late editorial embellishment by Manual co-editor Mike Grayum; family contributor (and fellow co-editor) Barry Hammel is absolved of all blame on this one. Grayum has to admit that he still struggles to keep these names straight, and even bungled them in the initial rendition of this paragraph.

POACEAE. Our review of the third installment of the Catalogue of New World grasses (Poaceae) in our last issue [see The Cutting Edge10(4): 13-14, Oct. 2003] was so superficial that we missed two important genus-level taxonomic changes potentially impacting spp. occurring in Costa Rica. In that work, Coelorachis and Hackelochloa are combined in a single genus (along with several other entities) under the name Mnesithea Kunth. Although the last-mentioned name has generally been restricted to a single Indomalesian sp., the study that led to its broader application dates from 1986 (Veldkamp et al., Blumea 31: 287-307). Coelorachis and Hackelochloa are represented in Costa Rica by one sp. apiece; these would become Mnesithea aurita (Steud.) de Koning & Sosef and M. granularis (L.) de Koning & Sosef, respectively, should the new classification gain wide acceptance. The second proposed change affects a familiar economic sp., "zacate violeta," long known scientifically as Vetiveria zizanioides (L.) Nash. Vetiveria is lately considered a synonym of Chrysopogon Trin., with the binomial C. zizanioides (L.) Roberty available for zacate violeta. Although the taxonomic merger of Chrysopogon and Vetiveria was formalized in 1960, it was not taken serious until the following publication (also overlooked by us) appeared:

Veldkamp, J. F. 1999. A revision of Chrysopogon Trin. including Vetiveria Bory (Poaceae) in Thailand and Malesia with notes on some other species from Africa and Australia. Austrobaileya 5: 503-533.

Had we been aware of these developments a year ago, we would have at least made sure to include the appropriate names in Chrysopogon and Mnesithea as synonyms in the Manual, and to have cited the pertinent papers.



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