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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XIX, Number 1, January 2012

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

ACANTHACEAE. While hunting for acanths with Lucinda and Carrie (see “News and Notes,” this issue), we came across a roadside weed scattered throughout the Puriscal region, abundant in the oil palm plantations, and again common in the canyon of the Río Grande de Térraba. Although this abundantly flowering and fruiting, scandent herb is obviously closely related to the well-known ornamental (and occasionally escaped) Asystasia gangetica (L.) T. Anderson, Manual co-PI Barry Hammel was reluctant to believe it could be the same sp., as its flowers are only about one-third the size of the those of the cultivated plants. Nevertheless, a quick search of sources revealed a likely name: A. gangetica subsp. micrantha (Nees) Ensermu. We await confirmation from Lucinda, but the evidence is mounting that this is indeed our baby. The oldest Costa Rican specimen (2005) of this taxon we have come across among the acanth indets at INB is J. F. Morales 12426, from the San Carlos lowlands. But it turns out that our colleague and friend Luis Poveda (JVR), who last year brought to our attention an invasive Acanthaceae from the San Carlos pineapple fields (but then with only sterile material in hand), has independently come to virtually the same conclusion, having later found and identified fertile material. Pove also reports that this taxon has been around for quite some time in Costa Rica (based on older herbarium specimens). Nevertheless, it would appear that its expansion (explosion?!) in the central Pacific region and southern Valle de General is quite recent.

ARACEAE. MO curator and Araceae high priest Tom Croat has brought our attention to the collection Barringer et al. 3500 (F), representing the very distinctive Monstera membranacea Madison. Tom’s determination is uncontestable, and we are in full agreement. The interesting part is that this specimen (not previously seen by us) is from the Atlantic slope, at 20–70 m elevation in the Baja Talamanca region (between Bribri and Sixaola), whereas this sp. (nearly endemic to Costa Rica) is otherwise known only from the Pacific slope. This report (as the following) might just as well go under “Annotate Your Copy.”

MARANTACEAE. The widespread aquatic Thalia geniculata L. was reported in Helen Kennedy’s (UBC) Manual treatment (2003) as ranging in Costa Rica from 0–100 m elevation. However, our good friend Mario Blanco (CR) reports that he recently collected it considerably higher up (640 m) at Lago Cote, in the Cordillera de Guanacaste (Blanco 4126, USJ), and subsequently discovered an earlier collection (Gómez-Laurito 14060, USJ) from the same site. Thus we would suggest amending the Manual distribution statement as follows: “0–100(–650) m; vert. Carib. Cord. de Guanacaste (Lago Cote), Llanuras de San Carlos, [etc.].” We will also take this opportunity to welcome Mario back to Tiquicia, where he is now teaching at the Universidad de Costa Rica after obtaining his Ph.D. at the University of Florida.


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