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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 3, July 2004

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

PLANTAS VASCULARES. Although pteridophytes will perhaps never be covered by the Manual as we know it, we nevertheless decided to include them in our key to “grupos mayores” (Vol. 2: 1–2), just in case we might someday get around to them. That decision has already come to haunt us (see this column in our last issue). Now, Manual correspondent and pteridologist Alan R. Smith (UC) points out a second problem in the very first statement in the first lead of the first couplet of that key, wherein we characterize pteridophytes as (in translation) “plants that are disseminated [we won’t go there again!] by means of unicellular spores…” Strictly speaking, this is not true, as the spores of some ferns may be two- or even four-celled upon release. The evidence for this (including Alan’s own work) is strongest for some genera of Grammitidaceae, especially Terpsichore. Alan also calls our attention to the megaspores of the heterosporous pteridophytes (Azollaceae, Isoëtaceae, Marsileaceae, Salviniaceae, and Selaginellaceae) which, though initially unicellular (for a very short time), germinate endoscopically and contain a multicellular gametophyte by the time they have attained the propagule stage. Okay, so we fudged just a little!

ALSTROEMERIACEAE. Artist Willow Zuchowski, of Monteverde, maintains that her illustration on p. 49 of Manual Vol. 2 is mislabeled as Bomarea hirsuta (Kunth) Herb.; according to Willow, the sp. depicted is actually B. caldasii (Kunth) Asch. & Graebn., and was always represented as such by her. We assume (in the absence of a herbarium voucher) that Willow is correct, and the details of the illustration certainly appear to back her up; however, we cannot be sure, after so many years, whether our switcheroo was deliberate (perhaps we once thought the drawing better resembled B. hirsuta) or accidental.

POACEAE. INBio curator Francisco Morales has reacquainted us with Art. 62.4 of the Code, which reads as follows: “Generic names ending in -anthes, -oides or -odes are treated as feminine and those ending in -ites as masculine, irrespective of the gender assigned to them by the original author.” Although we did heed this article in determining the correct gender (feminine) of the orchid genus Mormodes, we failed to take into account the last part, dealing with -ites endings. Chico’s interest in this stems from his recent work on Apocynaceae, with genera such as Anechites, Echites, and Mesechites, all properly masculine (though often treated incorrectly as feminine). Checking through our already-published Manual volumes, we find just three errors traceable to our partial ignorance of Art. 62.4, all in Poaceae (authored, ironically, by Chico), and all in the genus Zeugites. The accepted name Zeugites americana must be corrected to americanus, while Z. a. var. mexicana and its synonym, Z. mexicana, are both properly mexicanus. Also subject to this rule is Phragmites, but the sp. epithets used in the Manual have the same endings in both masculine and feminine gender, and are thus unaffected. We promise to keep Art. 62.4 in mind for future volumes of the Manual! In our defense, virtually every major regional flora has gotten these endings wrong.



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