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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XXVII, Number 3, July 2020

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

ACANTHACEAE. In these times of restricted movement, we really need an open-border policy for what to include in this column! Justicia carnea Lindl. is already mentioned, but not fully treated, in the Manual draft of Justicia by collaborator Carrie Kiel (RSA). This sp. is native to southern Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina, and was known to be rarely cultivated and perhaps even escaped in Costa Rica (in the vicinity of Monteverde). Esteban Jiménez—who fortunately has been able to spend much of his pandemia-time in the field—recently sent us these readily identifiable photos (vouchered by J. E. Jiménez 5233,USJ) from Bosque de La Hoja (Las Chorreras), San Rafael de Heredia. Given that he found it to be abundant in the depths of said forest patch, and not obviously planted there or in the yards of nearby houses, he knew that, if not native, it was at least well established. Had we known of this population in time, we certainly would have been obligated to treat the sp. in full, as an introduced and escaped ornamental. Obviously, its use as an ornamental is well-deserved, but it should be cultivated prudently, and nowhere near patches of forest, if the intention is to maintain the “natural” beauty of same. While this particular forest does have lots of native species, probably the most abundant tree is the introduced Ciprés [Cupressus lusitanica Mill. (Cupressaceae), or whatever the hell it is]. So, not much harm done there!

TURNERACEAE (or PASSIFLORACEAE, if you must). Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora has recently decided to reclaim a sp. that was abandoned by one of its early champions. Based on various floral details, he now discriminates two distinct spp. from Erblichia odorata Seem., as circumscribed according to Manual Vol. 8 (2015) and most other germane works of the past 60 years. These entities differ most obviously in petal color: yellow in the one that best corresponds to the type of E. odorata, vs. orange, red-orange, or “papaya” in the other. It turns out that these taxa had already been differentiated in the same manner 80 years ago, by none other than Paul Standley and Julian Steyermark (1940; Publ. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Bot. Ser. 22: 351–356), who validated the combination Erblichia xylocarpa (Sprague & L. Riley) Standl. & Steyerm. (now embraced by Nelson!) to be used for the orange-flowered sp. (which, they indicated, also differs by having styles that are glabrous at the base, vs. “spreading-villous” in E. odorata). According to those eminent authorities, Erblichia xylocarpa was limited to northern Mesoamerica (southern Mexico to Honduras), and E. odorata to southern Mesoamerica (Costa Rica and Panama). Somewhat mysteriously, however, the 1961 Flora of Guatemala Turneraceae treatment—co-authored by Standley!—synonymized E. xylocarpa under E. odorata, and the most recent (1979) revision of Erblichia by María Mercedes Arbo (CTES) followed suit (albeit with no rationale proffered in either case). And there the matter stood until our man Nelson happened on the scene. Time will tell how this new lead develops; it may well be that Nelson follows the same path as his predecessors and ultimately sees fit to reinter Erblichia xylocarpa. But for the time being, we can provide the following “Manualese” data for the two provisional Erblichia spp., based on Costa Rican herbarium specimens that report petal coloration. Erblichia odorata (14 collections—see for example Reinaldo Aguilar’s Flickr site): “Árbol, 7–20(–30) m; bosque húmedo y muy húmedo, bosques primarios, remanentes de bosque y orillas de caminos, 50–900 m; ambas verts. Cord. de Guanacaste, vert. Pac. Cord. de Tilarán, N llanuras de Guanacaste (P.N. Santa Rosa), Pen. de Nicoya, region de Puriscal, cuenca del Río Grande de Candelaria, Pen. de Osa. Fl. ene.–mar., oct.” Erblichia xylocarpa (four collections—see for example: Zamora et al. 7611): Árbol, 8–18 m; bosque húmedo y muy húmedo, bosques primarios y orillas de ríos, 550–1100 m; ambas verts. Cord. de Guanacaste. Fl. abr.–jun.” It should be mentioned that many (indeed, the majority) of Costa Rican Erblichia specimens are in bud, fruiting, or sterile, and thus cannot be determined to sp. based solely on the information provided on labels. And by the way: the Manual voucher for Erblichia odorata was (by chance) correctly determined!


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