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The Cutting Edge
Volume XXVIII, Number 1, January, 2021
News and Notes | Leaps and Bounds
| Germane Literature | Season's Pick | Annotate your copy
MONIMIACEAE. As must be well known to our users, the Manual always endeavors to cite the most recent taxonomic revision for each family and genus, with the following caveat (from p. 249 of Vol. 1): “Citation of a revision does not necessarily imply that the author of the Manual treatment endorses its taxonomic concepts, or has utilized it in any significant way.” In truth, the cited revisions have been consulted (if not embraced) by the authors/and or editors in the vast majority of cases. However, occasionally we have been unable to obtain a seemingly relevant work. This has been a particular problem with South American (especially Argentinian and Brazilian) doctoral dissertations which, in recent decades, have become quite ambitious, often revising important genera over their entire neotropical ranges. It has been our experience that many of these dissertations are never effectively published, and can be impossible to obtain via the Internet or through the interlibrary loan system. An example is the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Brazil) dissertation of one Ariane Luna Peixoto, comprising a comprehensive revision of the genus Mollinedia: though obligatorily cited in the Manual Monimiaceae account (2007) by the late Jorge Gómez-Laurito, neither Jorge nor your editors ever actually set eyes on the thing. But lately a copy was somehow acquired by the MO library, and now, after all these years, we have it in hand! First things first, we got the date wrong in the Manual: it is correctly 1986, not 1987. In fact, that may be the only annotation Manual users may wish to implement, but let’s carry on. The author accepts a total of 70 spp. for Mollinedia, which is near the upper limit of the ample range indicated in the Manual. She does not provide a single key to spp., rather three separate keys, according to major geographical regions (this is, of course, unacceptable for a taxonomic revision, and perhaps one reason this work was never published). Curiously (and more than a little suspiciously), not a single sp. is common to any two of the three regions, which are: Mexico and Central America (with 11 spp.), northern South America (22 spp.), and southeastern and southern Brazil (37 spp.). As to Costa Rica: we are not experts on Mollinedia, but would be comfortable in stating that there are at least three sharply distinct spp. in the country, as per Jorge’s Manual treatment. This author distinguishes five, only one of which, M. costaricensis Donn. Sm., corresponds exactly to a Manual concept. Three additional spp. are discriminated from Jorge’s notion of Mollinedia viridiflora Tul., using names appearing as synonyms thereof in the Manual: M. guatemalensis Perkins, M. minutiflora Standl. & L. O. Williams, and M. pinchotiana Perkins [with M. viridiflora sensu stricto limited to southern Mexico (Oaxaca)]. Of course, Peixoto could not have known about Mollinedia macrophylla J. F. Morales & Q. Jiménez (now correctly M. maxima J. F. Morales & Grayum), which had not yet been discovered, but she compensates with the addition of M. mexicana Perkins, otherwise attributed only to southern Mexico (Veracruz) and Guatemala. And finally: we strongly suspect that the invalid name “Mollinedia laevis Standley, in sched.” assigned by Peixoto to synonymy under the Panamanian M. stipitata J. A. Duke, must be the same as “M. laeta Standl., nom. ined.,” another synonym of M. viridiflora, according to the Manual; we have no idea who is right about this, as to either the spelling or the synonymy. So, how much faith should we have in this revision? Until we have put it to the test, we cannot say for sure. Our experience has been that revisions by authors based in Argentina or Brazil often make short shrift of the Mesoamerican region. This one appears to be no exception: relatively few Costa Rican collections are cited, all of which are historical (Oersted through Schubert) and from just three herbaria (A/GH, BR, and F). Put us down as skeptical, then, but we promise to give it a try! And by the way: the unpublished Flora mesoamericana draft treatment of Monimiaceae by David H. Lorence (PTBG), posted online in 2011
agrees with Peixoto’s revision (though it is not cited) in accepting Mollinedia minutiflora as distinct (and present in Costa Rica, whence the type), but synonymizes both M. mexicana and M. stipitata under M. viridiflora (which is also attributed to Costa Rica). In other respects, it largely corresponds to the Manual account of the family.
RUBIACEAE. This in just under the wire! Pursuant to a recent article in which the name Manettia reclinata L. was neotypified and applied to a sp. with white flowers [see under "Kirkbride," this column, in The Cutting Edge 27(4), Oct. 2020], MO curator (and Manual Rubiaceae coordinator) Charlotte M. Taylor set about determining what should be the correct name for the red-flowered sp. long known as M. reclinata in Costa Rica (and elsewhere). The details are highly convoluted, so we will cut to the chase: according to Charlotte's sleuthing, the correct name for "Manettia reclinata" in the sense of her Manual account (2014) should be M. uniflora Kunth, the geographic range of which extends from Mexico to Peru and Venezuela (whence the type), the Guyanas, and northern Brazil. All the synonyms cited under M. reclinata in the Manual now apply to M. uniflora. It would appear as though Manettia reclinata will become the correct name for the South American (Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela) sp. presently known as M. coccocypseloides Wernham. The beat goes on!
SAPINDACEAE. In the process of posting Manual Vol. 8 online, co-PI Cecilia Herrera became aware of two authority citations that we apparently got wrong in our hard-copy edition: “Paullinia alata G. Don” is correctly P. alata (Ruiz & Pav.) G. Don (based on Semarillaria alata Ruiz & Pav.), while “Paullinia ingifolia Rich., en Juss.” is correctly P. ingifolia Rich. ex Juss. The corrections in TROPICOS were implemented by other parties, after we had done our editing. Sorry, can’t win ‘em all!
SOLANACEAE. A few years ago [see under “Leaps and Bounds” in The Cutting Edge 24(2), Apr. 2017], we reported circumstantial evidence suggesting that the correct name for “Solandra sp. A” of the Manual Solanaceae treatment (2015) was Solandra longiflora Tussac. The evidence in question was late family specialist William G. D’Arcy’s 1991 determination of A. Chacón 268, a specimen collected at virtually the same site as (and just two days before) the Manual voucher for S. sp. A. Now that evidence may be qualified as rather more than circumstantial, based on Manual co-PI Barry Hammel’s recent comparison of the CR duplicates of the Chacón specimen and the Manual voucher (G. Herrera 3338). They agree in all critical details!
WINTERACEAE. Manual correspondent and Monteverde resident Willow Zuchowski recently turned her attention to this family, and quickly detected some problems with the Manual treatment (2015) by Cristina Formoso. Of foremost concern are the sp. total and geographic range of the genus Drimys. It turns out that, unbeknownst to your (and Cristina’s) editors, Drimys sensu lato (i.e., with “ca. 45 spp.,” as indicated in the Manual) was debunked quite some time ago. According to Doust & Drinnan (2004; Amer. J. Bot. 91: 321–331)—a paper that was not reviewed in these pages and neither cited nor accounted for in the Manual—such a broad concept of Drimys could not be supported as monophyletic; more exactly, Drimys sensu lato is paraphyletic, with respect to five other established genera. The resolution was to segregate the much larger, Old World contingent of Drimys into a different genus, under the existing name Tasmannia. And although we have been oblivious of the situation until now, this classification has become widely embraced in the intervening years. The result, for the Manual, is that the sp. total for Drimys shoud be pruned to “ca. 8 spp.,” and its geographic range truncated after “Arg.” Another, more minor, problem has to do with the scale bars in the Manual illustration of Drimys granadensis L. f. The middle scale bar on the right-hand side should read “10 mm,” not “1 mm,” and the one below it is also off somehow. We wish to emphasize that Cristina (whose manuscript was submitted many years ago) is not to blame for any of these errors, which are ours alone. And we thank Willow for bringing them to our attention!