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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 XV, Number 3, July 2008

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

CONVOLVULACEAE.  Two long-standing Ipomoea indets. (M. M. Chavarría 625, INB; M. M. Chavarría & Solano 796, INB), both unicates collected over 10 years ago from near Copey de Dota, have finally found a proper home in I. dumetorum Willd. ex Roem. & Schult., otherwise reported only from the southwestern United States, Mexico, and South America.  This small-flowered sp. most resembles I. piurensis O’Donell, known in Costa Rica only from the Río Tempisque lowlands, but can also be confused with the mid-elevation I. ramosissima (Poir.) Choisy.  From the former it differs by its puberulent (vs. tomentose) seeds, from the latter by its scarious (vs. undifferentiated) sepal margins, and from both by its muricate-based petioles and gland-dotted sepals.  The determination was confirmed via digital imagery by faithful Convolvulaceae correspondent Dan Austin (ARIZ).

CUCURBITACEAE.  Just under the wire for our next volume, Manual co-PI Barry Hammel reports his discovery of a genus new to Costa Rica on flanks of the highest peak on the Península de Nicoya, Cerro Vista al Mar (983 m).  This would be the monospecific Doyerea, previously recorded from Mexico to Nicaragua, and in Colombia, Venezuela, and the West Indies, in the guise of D. emetocathartica Grosourdy.  Barry’s collection, from a canopy vine ascending to at least 20 m on rocky ridges, is sterile, but he is supremely confident of the determination.

EUPHORBIACEAE.  We followed the circuitous route to this one.  It all began during the course of routine editorial correspondence regarding the Manual Euphorbiaceae treatment, by José González (LSCR).   While perusing some Phyllanthus specimens at INB, Manual co-PI Barry Hammel noticed several, generally identified as P. amarus Schumach. & Thonn., that stood out by virtue of their unusually long pedicels.  This material did not otherwise concord with P. niruri L., the only weedy, herbaceous Phyllanthus sp. with comparably long pedicels known from the region.  Not knowing where to turn, co-PI Mike Grayum recalled a cryptic and bothersome notation at the head of José’s manuscript:  “Phyllanthus tenellus Roxb. según Pove está acá, introducida.”  Taking seriously any pronouncement by sage Luis Poveda (JVR), Grayum had already followed up on this claim, but failed to locate any Costa Rican specimens determined as P. tenellus, or any literature records of that sp. (an Old World native) for Costa Rica.  But now, reviewing the relevant literature with Barry’s aberrant specimens in mind, he encountered the following statement:  “The long pendent capillary fruiting pedicels of P. tenellus are diagnostic, and of course no other herbaceous West Indian species has male flowers with five free stamens” (Webster, J. Arnold Arbor. 38: 56.  1957).  Not having bothered to investigate the tiny staminate flowers on the INB specimens, Barry now did so, and bingo!  Everything fell into place.  It turns out that P. tenellus, first collected from Costa Rica in 1990, is one of the more common weedy Phyllanthus spp. in the Valle Central, and grows right under our noses on INBio property!  Subsequent conversations with Poveda revealed that it is also abundant on the campus at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma in Heredia, and that Pove and colleague Pablo Sánchez-Vindas (JVR) had nailed the ID some time ago.  Without their lead, however indirectly communicated, this sp. would very likely have been omitted from the Manual.

ROSACEAE.  The recent visit to INB by family specialist Katya Romolereux (QCA) continues to bear fruit [see The Cutting Edge 15(2): 1, 3, Apr. 2008].  A specimen (J. Quesada et al. 2004, INB) collected at 3000–3150 m elevation near the summit of Cerro Echandi on the Panamanian border was determined by Katya as Lachemilla fulvescens (L. M. Perry) Rothm., formerly known only from South America (Colombia to Bolivia and Venezuela).  We thank INB biologist Daniel Santamaría for this alert.



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