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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

Areces-Berazain, F. & J. D. Ackerman. 2020. A revisión of Thespesia and allied genera in tribe Gossypieae (Malvaceae-Malvoideae). Brittonia 72: 62–110.

Let’s cut right to the chase: this revision offers nothing that is new to us. The genus Hampea, while included in a dichotomous “Key to the genera allied to Thespesia,” was otherwise “excluded because it has been subjected to several revisionary studies…that have resolved most taxonomic issues.” We would beg to differ but, in any case, the genus in this group of greatest interest to us is missing in action. Most of the taxa that made the cut are native to the Old World and/or Oceania, with only the pantropical Thespesia populnea (L.) Sol. ex Corrêa occurring (naturally, it would seem) in Costa Rica. Status quo, y’all! The genera are presented in alphabetical order, as are their constituent spp., and all the requisite attributes of a standard revision are on full display. Need we say more?

Cedeño-Fonseca, M., O. O. Ortiz, A. Zuluaga & M. A. Blanco. 2020. New records of Araceae for Costa Rica and Panama. Phytoneuron 2020-39: 1–8.

Well, you win some and you lose some, as the saying goes, but in this case Costa Rica is a winner overall: while Panama robs Costa Rica of two endemic spp., the Costa Rican flora gains four spp., robbing Panama of three endemics in the process. The two erstwhile Costa Rican endemics are Monstera costaricensis (Engl. & K. Krause) Croat & Grayum and M. epipremnoides Engl., both reported here from appropriate habitats in western Panama on the basis of a single collection each. The three spp. lost to Panamanian endemicity are: Anthurium curvispadix Croat (compared to A. hoffmannii Schott), collected once at 1800–1900 m on the Pacific slope of the eastern Cordillera de Talamanca; Anthurium palosecense Croat & O. Ortiz (compared with A. talamancae Engl., i.e., A. cuspidatum Mast. in the sense of the Manual), collected once at 700–800 m on the Atlantic slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca (Fila Matama); and M. integrifolia Zuluaga & Croat (compared with M. anomala Zuluaga & Croat and M. standleyana G. S. Bunting), based on four collections from 1500–1650 m on the Atlantic slope of the Cordilleras Central and de Talamanca. It should be noted that, although one of the paratypes of M. integrifolia was Costa Rican [see under “Zuluaga” in The Cutting Edge 25(1), Jan. 2018], that specimen is here redetermined as Monstera epipremnoides. The fourth and final addition to the Costa Rican flora is Monstera spruceana (Schott) Engl., with four Costa Rican collections cited from 50–1350 m on the Altantic slope of the Cordillera de Guanacaste and the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Tilarán and on the Península de Osa. Southward from Costa Rica, M. spruceana ranges widely to Bolivia, Venezuela, the Guayanas, and Brazil. While Monstera spruceana was attributed to Costa Rica in the Manual Araceae treatment (2003) by co-PI Mike Grayum, the entity so named there has since been rebranded as M. anomala [see under “Zuluaga,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 25(1), Jan. 2018]. Monstera costaricensis, M. epipremnoides, M. integrifolia, and M. spruceana are all illustrated with color photos of living material.

Chomicki, G., H. Schaefer & S. S. Renner. 2020. Origin and domestication of Cucurbitaceae crops: insights from phylogenies, genomics and archaeology. New Phytol. 226: 1240–1255.

This is an interesting and informative paper that presents current perspectives, germane to the first clause of its title, for 33 spp. of cultivated Cucurbitaceae of varying importance. That said, we are most intrigued by some of the names accepted by the authors, two in particular: Melothria mannii Cogn., for the sp. that was called Posadaea sphaerocarpa Cogn. in the Manual treatment (2009) of the family; and Sicyos edulis Jacq. for the Chayote, dubbed Sechium edulis (Jacq.) Sw. in the Manual (and just about everywhere else throughout recorded history). This paper being principally agronomic in scope, its authors do not include authority names anywhere, nor do they offer much explanation for their chosen taxonomies. A previous paper involving two of these authors [see under “Schaefer,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 17(4), Oct. 2010] suggested that the African Cucumeropsis mannii Naudin and the neotropical Posadaea sphaerocarpa were not only conspecific, but that the genera to which they were assigned would be better submerged in Melothria. At the time, we speculated that “because the binomial Melothria mannii Cogn. already exists, …our guy will become M. sphaerocarpa.” In view of the priority dates involved, we can only conclude that Cucumeropsis mannii (1866) and Melothria mannii (1881) must be conspecific, perhaps even homotypic, and indeed, it is conceivable that “(Naudin) Cogn.” should be the correct authority citation for the latter (although its protologue does not cite Naudin’s prior name). Regarding the Chayote, we are even more in the dark: is the entire genus Sechium now to be subsumed within Sicyos, or only Sechium edule? As far as we can determine, no combinations in Sicyos have yet been validated for any of the five other spp. that were treated under Sechium in the Manual.

Condit, R., S. Aguilar & R. Pérez. 2020. Trees of Panama: a complete checklist with every geographic range. Forest Ecosyst. 7(42): 1­13.

The authors claim to have produced a checklist accounting for 3043 tree spp. in Panama, representing 752 genera and 141 families. This paper presents analyses (mostly graphed and/or tabularized) of various parameters, including taxonomic composition, geographic ranges, and plant height. Tables purporting to enumerate the 20 most “speciose” families and genera actually list just 15 of each, which may not bode well for other aspects of this study. For the record, the top four families are Rubiaceae (with 348 tree spp.), Fabaceae (258), Melastomataceae (229), Lauraceae (116), and Primulaceae (101); while the top four genera are Miconia (with 107 tree spp.), Palicourea (92), Ardisia (65), Piper (63), and Inga (54). Clearly, the circumscriptions of these taxa (especially Primulaceae and Palicourea) heed recent advances in molecular systematics (and we’re betting that the authors have yet to see the Flora mesoamericana Piperaceae treatment!). The actual downloadable checklist is somewhat hidden as part of a set of supplemental data (right side, top of column,“Download dataset ~672 kB”) on this URL


Also this following website gives the same list but shows just one family at a time:


Cornejo, X. & C. Bonifaz. 2020. Pelliciera benthamii (Tetrameristaceae): a new status and lectotypification of an overlooked Neotropical mangrove. Harvard Pap. Bot. 25: 47–49.

The name Pelliciera rhizophorae Planch. & Triana var. benthamii Triana & Planch. was not even mentioned in the Manual Tetrameristaceae treatment (2015) by Quírico Jiménez, because it was scuttled more than 60 years before and had never been accepted in any major regional floras. Yet, here the name is not only resurrected, but promoted to sp. rank, for an entity distinguished by (among other things) pink to red (vs. light green, white, or cream) floral bracts and “often pink” (vs. pure white) petals and said to inhabit the “Pacific coast of Panama and Caribbean basin.” That vague and general expression of the geographic range, coupled with the fact that no specimens (other than the type) are cited, opens the door to a possible occurrence of Pelliciera benthamii (Triana & Planch.) Cornejo in Costa Rica (which lies partly in the Caribbean basin). Indeed, the Manual description of P. rhizophorae strongly suggests the occurrence of P. benthamii in the country, particularly in terms of the floral colorations specified above. That said, a quick check of relevant databases failed to reveal any Costa Rican specimens with pink to red floral bracts or pink petals, so, at least for the time being, we will maintain the name Pelliciera rhizophorae for all of our material. The Nicaraguan material of Pelliciera is all from the Atlantic slope and has red “bracteolas,” perhaps corresponding with P. benthamii as per these authors. Curiously (and suspiciously) the genus is so far unknown from the Atlantic slope in Costa Rica, but shows up again on that slope of Panama, but without the colored bracts, i.e., as P rhizophorae as per these authors. Go figure. In any case, the Manual Tetrameristaceae treatment need be tweaked only to augment by one the sp. totals for the family and Pelliciera.

——, H. Schaefer & M. H. Nee. 2020. Tecunumania stothertiae (Cucurbitaceae): a new species from western Ecuador and a new generic record for South America. Phytotaxa 446: 199–204.

Tecunumania has heretofore been considered a monospecific genus, endemic to Mesoamerica (including Costa Rica). This new sp. (which does not otherwise concern us) doubles the total for the genus, and extends its geographic range into South America.

Davis, C. C., L. C. Marinho & A. M. Amorim. 2020. Andersoniella: a new genus of neotropical Malpighiaceae. Harvard Pap. Bot. 25: 51–56.

The new genus of the title, honoring late Malpighiaceae specialist William R. Anderson (1942–2013), comprises three spp. previously included in Lophanthera and ranging (collectively) from southern Mesoamerica to Colombia and Amazonian Brazil. This leaves Lophanthera sensu stricto as limited to "South America, east of the Andes." Cladistically speaking, Andersoniella is more closely related to Spachea than to Lophanthera, and is distinguished from both in its diagnosis. Just one sp. has been recorded from Costa Rica: the ostensibly endemic Andersoniella hammelii (W. R. Anderson) C. Davis & Amorim (formerly Lophanthera hammelii W. R. Anderson), which is here said to occur also in Nicaragua (though we can find no evidence for that assertion). Interestingly, we first determined our early La Selva collections of that sp. as a Spachea! Includes a dichotomous key to the three spp. of Andersoniella, as well as an excellent composite line drawing and color photos from life of A. hammelii.

Debouck, D. G., N. Chaves-Barrantes & R. Araya-Villalobos. 2020. Phaseolus albicarminus (Leguminosae, Phaseoleae), a new wild bean species from the subhumid forests of southern central Costa Rica. Phytotaxa 449: 1–14.

Well, this solves a mystery: a name that has been used covertly by these authors for several years [see under “Debouck,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 26(1), Jan. 2019] is finally validated, albeit with modified authorship. Phaseolus albicarminus Debouck & N. Chaves (the second author here appearing for the first time) becomes the latest Costa Rican endemic, restricted to a small area on the Pacific slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca at ca. 1600–2000 m elevation. Just three collections are cited, all made by this crew. As far as we can determine, the Costa Rican sp. total for Phaseolus now stands at 14. This latest new sp. is compared most closely—in narrative style, and by means of a table, a dichotomous key, a composite line drawing, and numerous color photos—with Phaseolus angucianae Debouck & Araya, P. hygrophilus Debouck, and P. oligospermus Piper [the first two of which are likewise Costa Rican endemics described since the publication of the Manual Fabaceae treatment (2010) by co-PI Nelson Zamora]. A distribution map (for Phaseolus albicarminus only) is provided.

Ferrucci, M. S. 2020. Revisión taxonómica de Urvillea (Sapindaceae, Paullinieae): un género americano/Taxonomic revisión of Urvillea (Sapindaceae, Paullinieae): an American genus. Bol. Soc. Argent. Bot. 55: 53–130.

This author’s 2000 Universidad Nacional de Córdoba [Argentina] doctoral dissertation, a revision of Urvillea and the New World spp. of Cardiospermum (Sapindaceae), was cited under both genera in Manual Vol. 8 (2015), even though we had not been able to obtain a complete copy of the work (our general experience with South American theses). So now, the first installment (we are still waiting on Cardiospermum!) finally sees the light of day. Never mind, though, there are no substantive changes for Costa Rica: the widespread Urvillea ulmacea Kunth remains our only representative of its genus, and the virtually congruent geographic ranges of the genus and U. ulmacea are essentially unchanged. That said, the generic sp. total has increased slightly (from 17 to 20), four new synonyms are proposed, and nine names (including two synonyms of U. ulmacea) are lectotypified. Features synonymy, typology, and technical descriptions at all ranks, a dichotomous (though non-indented) key to spp., distribution and (for spp.) phenology summaries, common names, etymology, extensive specimen citations, distribution maps, and brief discussions. The sp. entries are ordered alphabetically within each of the two sections recognized by the author: one (the autonymic section, with Urvillea ulmacea as its type) with 15 spp., the other with five spp. The well-illustrated introductory part expounds upon taxonomic history, morphology, distribution, and phylogenetic relationships. No new taxon names or new combinations are validated in this paper for Urvillea, although the author has figured in several of each during the past few decades. Each sp. is illustrated with (minimally) an excellent composite drawing.

Fiaschi, P., P. P. Lowry II & G. M. Plunkett. 2020. Studies in Neotropical Araliaceae. III. Resurrection of the New World genus Didymopanax Decne. & Planch., previously included in Schefflera (Araliaceae). Brittonia 72.

This one we did not see coming. Although certain statements in previous articles from this group can now be read as having foreshadowed (at least as one possibility) the formal re-establishment (in the paper under review) of Didymopanax as a genus distinct from Sciodaphyllum, it was a late and unsavory surprise for us. We first learned of this development obliquely, from a careful perusal of a prior article [see under “Lowry,” this column] resurrecting Sciodaphyllum from the ashes of Schefflera. The Manual Araliaceae draft treatment (helmed by Francisco Morales) had accepted the name Schefflera (as have most regional floristic works up to the present) for a genus circumscribed to include past and future members of Didymopanax (as well as many other things). Assuming that all the spp. treated by Chico under Schefflera would wind up in Sciodaphyllum, our plan was to switch to the new classification at the last moment—if time allowed—by simply changing the genus name and demoting all the sp. names in Schefflera to synonymy under their counterparts in Sciodaphyllum. Time did allow, as it turned out, but the paper that delivered most of the awaited new combinations in Sciodaphyllum omitted one for Schefflera morototoni (Aubl.) Maguire, Steyerm. & Frodin—our first clue that something was not right. And the present paper confirms the awful truth: Didymopanax morototoni (Aubl.) Decne. & Planch. rides again, one of 37 spp. in a genus ranging from southern Mexico and circumscribed exactly as according to a recent revision of the “Didymopanax group of Neotropical Schefflera” [see under “Fiaschi,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 25(3), Jul. 2018]. Too bad for us that the cart came before the horse! The last-minute re-emergence of Didymopanax sealed the deal for the Manual treatment; time did not permit the removal of Schefflera morototoni to a separate genus, and all the attendant modifications that would have been required, so the best we could do was to retain Schefflera in Chico’s original sense and add the combinations in Sciodaphyllum as synonyms. This paper provides a list of all the accepted sp. names (along with their synonyms) in Didymopanax, validating new combinations as needed, as well as a list of excluded names (one of which, by the way, is Didymopanax pittieri Marchal, which applies to a sp. occurring in Costa Rica that is now assigned to Sciodaphyllum).

Henderson, A. 2020. A revision of Attalea (Arecaceae, Arecoideae, Cocoseae, Attaleinae). Phytotaxa 444: 1–76.

Applying his tried-and-true methodology of character analysis parsed in accordance with the Phylogenetic Species Concept, the author succeeds in pruning the sp. total for this neotropical genus from 65 (as according to the most recent revision) to 30. Consistent with most previous treatments (including that of the Manual), just one sp. is attributed to Costa Rica. However, its name has been changed, vis-à-vis the Manual, from Attalea rostrata Oerst. to A. butyracea (Mutis ex L. f.) Wess. Boer. This author had previously applied the name A. butyracea to our material, citing A. rostrata in synonymy, but we had (out of an abundance of caution) maintained the latter as distinct on the basis of an ostensible difference in petiole length. Although there is no indication that the author studied the original material (if any exists) on which either name is based, he did examine a wide range of specimens from throughout the geographic area concerned. Moreoever, he directly addresses the Manual usage and the petiole issue in particular, concluding that “the confusion here is over the problem of distinguishing sheaths from petioles.” Attalea butyracea it is, then. Features synonymy, typology, and technical descriptions at all ranks, a dichotomous (though non-indented) key to spp., distribution summaries, taxonomic notes, discussions of “subspecific” (better “intraspecific”?) variation, distribution maps, a section on “excluded and doubtful names,” and an index to scientific names. Specimens (other than types) are not cited in the text, but all of those studied are enumerated (with locality and morphology data) in a supplemental file. The illustrated introductory portion addresses taxonomic history, problems with this particular genus, hybridization, phylogeny, sp. concepts, methodology, distribution, and morphology. Most spp. (including A. butyracea) are depicted in color photos from life.

Jaramillo-Vivanco, T. S. & H. Balslev. 2020. Revision of Otoba (Myristicaceae). Phytotaxa 441: 143–175.

Otoba is a genus of 10 spp. (according to this revision) ranging from Nicaragua south to Bolivia and Brazil. Just two spp. were attributed to Costa Rica in the Manual treatment of Myristicaceae (2007) by Quírico Jiménez: Otoba acuminata (Standl.) A. H. Gentry and O. novogranatensis Moldenke. More recently, Otoba vespertilio D. Santam. & J. E. Jiménez was described [see under “Santamaría-Aguilar,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 27(1), Jan. 2020], based mainly on some material (from both Costa Rica and Panama) that had previously been subsumed under O. acuminata. These authors agree in ascribing the three aforementioned spp. to Costa Rica, but, rather surprisingly, add two others: Otoba gracilipes (A. C. Sm.) A. H. Gentry (type from western Colombia), from “bosque muy húmedo” at ca. 0–650 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of the Cordilleras de Guanacaste and Central; and O. latialata (Pittier) A. H. Gentry (type from central Panama), from “bosque muy húmedo” at ca. 0–550+ m on the Pacific slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca and in the Golfo Dulce region. We are rather skeptical of these ostensible new records (as is Daniel Santamaría, currently preparing the Myristicaceae treatment for Flora mesoamericana), especially as regards the alleged occurrence (based on specimens cited here) of two Otoba spp., Otoba gracilipes and O. novogranatensis, at the Estación Biológica La Selva (astute dendrologists and taxonomists working intensively at the site for the past half century have never discriminated more than one). So we think this definitely merits a second look (and Daniel will certainly take care of that), although we do not have immediate access to all the critical material. Features synonymy, typology, and technical descriptions at all ranks, separate dichotomous (though non-indented) keys to spp. based on staminate and pistillate material, representative specimen citations, distribution summaries, evaluations of conservation status, “notes,” enumerations of vernacular names, and distribution maps. There are no indices. The introductory section includes considerations of taxonomic history, morphology and anatomy (with important characters tabularized for all 10 spp.), and biogeography. Six of the spp. (though only Otoba novogranatensis and O. vespertilio, among the Costa Rican ones) are illustrated with composite color photos from life and/or line drawings.

Karremans, A., G. Salguero, D. Bogarín, L. Oses & M. Cedeño-Fonseca. 2020. Illustrations and studies in Neotropical Orchidaceae: the Specklinia brighamii group (Pleurothallidinae) in Costa Rica. Phytotaxa 447: 16–30.

The “Specklinia brighamii group,” as here circumscribed (though never clearly characterized), comprises six spp. “mostly found in Central America.” All six, as it turns out, occur in Costa Rica, though only S. acrisepala (Ames & C. Schweinf.) Pridgeon & M. W. Chase, S. brighamii (S. Watson) Pridgeon & M. W. Chase, and S. simmleriana (Rendle) Luer were recognized (under their corresponding names in Pleurothallis) in the late Carlyle Luer’s Manual Orchidaceae treatment (2003). The remaining three spp., attributed to Costa Rica for the first time in this paper, include one country record and two spp. segregated from Specklinia acrisepala and described as new. The country record is Specklinia alexii (A. H. Heller) Pridgeon & M. W. Chase, collected by the first author in the Los Chiles region (Llanura de Los Guatusos), hard up against the border with Nicaragua—which thereby loses yet another of its relatively few endemic spp. The two new spp. are both endemic to the Atlantic slope of Costa Rica (leaving Specklinia acrisepala restricted in Costa Rica to the Pacific slope, in the northern Fila Costeña, the Valle de General, and the Golfo Dulce region): Specklinia barbelifera Karremans, Salguero & Bogarín occurs at 200–750 m elevation in the northern Cordillera de Talamanca, while S. tirimbina Karremans, Salguero & M. Cedeño has been found from 0–150 m elevation in the Cordillera Central (including both the Estación Biológica La Selva and, as suggested by its epithet, the Reserva Biológica La Tirimbina) and the Llanura de Tortuguero. Features a dichotomous (though non-indented) key to spp., synonymy and typology, technical descriptions, distribution and phenology summaries, specimen citations, and “notes.” All six spp. are illustrated in color by means of “Lankester Composite Dissection Plates.”

Liu, B-B., G.-N. Liu, D.-Y. Hong & J. Wen. 2020. Eriobotrya belongs to Rhaphiolepis (Maleae, Rosaceae): evidence from chloroplast genome and nuclear ribosomal DNA data. Frontiers Pl. Sci. 10(1731): 1–14.

The horticulturally familiar genera of the title comprise (collectively) some 46 spp. occurring naturally in eastern and Southeast Asia. This study reveals that Eriobotrya is paraphyletic with respect to Rhaphiolepis, and as a result, 36 taxa are transferred from the former to the latter genus (which entrains the older name). Our readers may recall that, not long ago, both Eriobotrya and Rhaphiolepis were subsumed (along with a host of other mostly well-known genera) within a protean Pyrus by the notorious GLOVAP crew [see under “Christenhusz,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 25(2), Apr. 2018]. That publication is nowhere mentioned in this paper, though all of the pertinent GLOVAP combinations are duly cited. Nor is the GLOVAP classification adequately refuted: on the contrary, these authors admit that their results “did not resolve the phylogenetic placement” of the Eriobotrya/Rhaphiolepis clade in Rosaceae tribe Maleae Small. Having said all of that, our only interest in this entire affair involves the cultivated loquat, long known as Eriobotrya japonica (Thunb.) Lindl. (the name used in Manual Vol. 7). Not surprisingly, the popular epithet japonica is preoccupied in both Pyrus and Rhaphiolepis, which prompted the new combination Pyrus bibas (Lour.) M. F. Fay & Christenh. (based on a synonym of E. japonica) from GLOVAP. The authors of the present paper, however, have evidently fallen into the age-old trap of believing that a nomen novum assumes the priority of its replaced name. How else to explain their validation of Rhaphiolepis loquata B. B. Liu & J. Wen, as a nomen novum for the loquat and concomitant citation of Pyrus bibas (and its basionym) in synonymy? The latter act, of course, condemns their nomen novum to instant illegitimacy (see ICN Art. 52.1), and suggests that the correct name in Rhaphiolepis for the loquat must be a combination (as yet unpublished) based on Crataegus bibas Lour.

Lowry, P. P., II, G. M. Plunkett, M. M. Mora, A. Cano, P. Fiaschi, D. G. Frodin, R. E. Gereau, Á. Idárraga-Piedrahíta, J. Jiménez-Montoya, J. M. F. Mendoza, D. A. Neill, O. Rivera-Diaz & C. Rodrigues-Vaz. 2019[‘2020’]. Studies in Neotropical Araliaceae. I. Resurrection of the genus Sciodaphyllum P. Browne to accommodate most New World species previously included in Schefflera J. R. Forst. & G. Forst. Brittonia 72: 1–15.

This we saw coming, at least in its broad strokes, from correspondence with the first author and previous articles published by this group (or portions thereof!). And we were fully prepared to embrace—even at the eleventh hour—the new classification described in the title for the impending Manual treatment of Araliaceae, until an unforeseen development (signaled in this very paper) prevented us from doing so [for greater insight, see under “Fiaschi,” this column]. Sciodaphyllum, as envisioned by these authors, comprises 131 spp., 109 of which require new combinations that are all here validated in the names of “Lowry, G. M. Plunkett & M. M. Mora.” The introductory paragraphs reveal that the erstwhile New World members of Schefflera will eventually be apportioned among five genera (though only two pertain to Costa Rica), but we learn little else from this contribution. There are no cladograms, no keys, and most significantly, no description of Sciodaphyllum (something that we might have required for our now-abandoned overhaul of the Manual account). It also bears mentioning that—as revealed by various new combinations that are either made or not made—the sp.-level taxonomy of these authors differs in some details from that of the Manual treatment. But at this stage of the game, we cannot worry about that.

Lozada-Pérez, L., N. Ramírez-Marcial & C. A. González-Martínez. 2020. Ruehssia sumiderensis (Apocynaceae), a new species from Chiapas state, Mexico. Phytotaxa 440: 69–80.

Although this title did not seem promising for Costa Rica, the authors do toss us a crumb. Our readers may recall that a recent proposal [see under “Espírito Santo,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 26(4), Oct. 2019] to restrict the genus Marsdenia (Apocynaceae) to a small number of Asian spp. while resurrecting the obscure name Ruehssia for the affected New World spp. failed to provide new combinations in the latter genus for any of its Costa Rican representatives. Here we get one, Ruehssia laxiflora (Donn. Sm.) Gonz.-Martínez & Lozada-Pérez, for the sp. that will be treated as Marsdenia laxiflora Donn. Sm. in our impending Manual Vol. 4 (it is unlikely that we will even be able to cite the Ruehssia name in synonymy). Adding R. laxiflora to the pre-existing Ruehssia macrophylla (Humb. & Bonpl. ex Schult.) H. Karst. (for Marsdenia macrophylla Humb. & Bonpl. ex Schult. of the Manual) leaves eight spp. of Marsdenia sensu lato in Costa Rica alone that are still in need of a name in Ruehssia.

Michelangeli, F. A. & D. Santamaría-Aguilar. 2020. A new species of Blakea (Melastomataceae: Blakeeae) with pendulous flowers from Costa Rica. Phytotaxa 442: 11–19.

Blakea ricardoi Michelang. & D. Santam. (its epithet honoring Manual collaborator and Melastomataceae co-author Ricardo Kriebel), the new sp. of the title, is a Costa Rican endemic, known only from the type collection. In Manualese, we would render its vital details as follows: “bosque pluvial, bosques primarios, 1400–1500 m; vert. Carib. N Cord. de Talamanca (Fila Matama). Fl. oct.” Because it is assigned to a group of spp. that includes Blakea austin-smithii Standl., B. chlorantha Almeda, and B. penduliflora Almeda, we surmise that B. ricardoi belongs to Blakea in the traditional sense of Manual Vol. 6 (2007), rather than the segment of that genus formerly (as in the Manual) segregated under the name Topobea. Illustrated with an excellent composite line drawing, SEM micrographs of pubescence details, and color photos of living material.

Miller, J. S. & T. B. Croat. 2020. In memoriam: Robert Louis Dressler (1927–2019). Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 105: 139–142.

This is an unusually detailed and absorbing account of the life of the late, great orchidologist and Manual Orchidaceae coordinator Bob Dressler. Who knew (or even suspected), that he had an early interest in snakes? Shades of Jack Fowlie! Some of this detail may have come from a recent memoir written (at least in part) by his wife Kerry, which we have not seen. Anyhow, this one is recommended reading for anyone interested in going beyond the usual dry, academic specifications.

Nesom, G. L. 2020. Taxonomic decisions at generic rank in tribe Astereae (Asteraceae) for the Global Compositae Database. Phytoneuron 2020-24: 1–6.

Here the author discusses a variety of controversial taxonomic circumscriptions, mostly involving Old World taxa. However, we are interested only in his comments regarding Conyza vs. Erigeron. Both genera will be accepted as distinct in the forthcoming Manual Asteraceae treatement by Álexánder Rodríguez (as they were in the recent Flora mesoamericana Asteraceae volume), and we now kick ourselves for not having prevailed upon Alex to dump Conyza—which we had long regarded as one of the most overtly bogus angiosperm genera still standing. This paper reinforces that view in spades: “Species identified as Conyza have arisen independently within Erigeron at least two times, and the diagnostic feature of Conyza, short-ligulate ray flowers, applears elsewhere sporadically throughout Erigeron.” Moreover, the type of Conyza “is in the same clade as…various Erigeron species of Mexico and South America.” And so forth, concluding with “all of these [Conyza] species are treated as Erigeron in the GCD.” The last-mentioned acronym references the so-called “Global Compositae Database” (of the title), of which we had been contentedly ignorant up till now. For those who may be interested, it can be accessed at:


Nobis, M., T. Głuszak, A. Zemanek & B. Zemanek. 2020. Lectotypification of Warszewiczia pulcherrima (Rubiaceae) with notes on Józef Warszewicz’s plant collection preserved at KRA herbarium from his trips to Central and South America. Phytotaxa 442: 47–51.

The title says just about everything. While we have no particular interest in the authors’ lectotypification of an obscure synonym of Warszewiczia coccinea (Vahl) Klotzsch, we are intrigued by their notification of the presence of a significant set (“over 650 sheets…kept separate from the main collection”) of Warszewicz collections at KRA. In the authors’ own words: this set preserves “original specimens of taxa described by Klotzsch and some other plant taxonomists of the 19th century, the original material of which, preserved at B, was destroyed during WW II. Therefore, material at KRA can be used to designate lectotypes for many taxa described by Klotzsch.” Have at it, folks! These authors have already gotten the ball rolling with their lecotypification of Warszewiczia pulcherrima Klotzsch…

Pupulin, F. [“and collaborators”]. 2020. Vanishing beauty: native Costa Rican orchids. Vol. 2. Lacaena–Pteroglossa. Koeltz Bot. Books, Oberreifenberg, Germany.

The first volume of this series was published way back in 2005 [see under “Pupulin,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 13(3), Jul. 2006], and we had begun to think that its principal author had thrown in the towel. But no, here is Vol. 2, with a different publisher, but the same basic features (see our review of Vol. 1). We have not yet beheld the entire tome in the flesh, so cannot provide our usual tedious breakdown; however, we are equipped to mention the highlights, i.e., the taxonomic novelties, which comprise nine new spp. and two new combinations. The new spp. are as follows: Lepanthes sol Pupulin, compared with L. lindleyana Oerst. & Rchb. f., from 1750–1800 m elevation on the Pacific slope of the eastern Cordillera de Talamanca; Lepanthes victoria Pupulin & Bogarín, compared with L. insectiflora C. Schweinf. (which was synonymized under L. tipulifera Rchb. f. in Manual Vol. 3), from 1450–1500 m on the Atlantic slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca; Lepanthes marta-herrae Bogarín & Pupulin (honoring the grower, Marta Herra of Curridabat), compared with L. viridis Pupulin & Bogarín [see the second entry under “Pupulin,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 20(2), Apr. 2013], ostensibly from the Pérez Zeledón region; Masdevallia bellissima Bogarín, Pupulin & Karremans, compared with M. schroederiana hort. ex H. J. Veitch, from 1700–1750 m on the Atlantic slope of the eastern Cordillera de Talamanca; Oncidium coquianum Pupulin & Dälstrom (honoring one Jorge “Coqui” Cambronero), compared with O. storkii Ames & C. Schweinf., from 1550–1600 m on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca; Pleurothallis grandilingua Pupulin, M. Díaz & Pridgeon, compared with P. tonduzii Schltr., from 1450–2000 m on the Pacific slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca; Pleurothallis tapantiensis Pupulin, M. Díaz & Pridgeon and P. gonzaleziorum Pupulin, M. Díaz & Pridgeon (honoring “the González family”), both compared with P. cardiothallis Rchb. f., the first from 1350–1850 m on the Atlantic slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca, the second from 1500–1550 m on the Atlantic slope of the western Cordillera Central; and Prescottia congesta Pupulin (as—erroneously, but correctably—“Ponthieva congesta” in the sp. heading, though only there), compared with Prescottia stachyodes (Sw.) Lindl., from 550–600 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Guanacaste. All but three of the aforementioned novelties are typified by cultivated material, the provenance of which is always (at least in our minds) questionable. The two new combinations validated in this volume are: Laelia lueddemannii (Prill.) L. O. Williams subsp. costaricana (Rchb. f.) Pupulin (based on Bletia undulata (Lindl.) Rchb. f. var. costaricana Rchb. f.), for the taxon treated in Manual Vol. 3 (2003) as Schomburgkia lueddemannii Prill. var. costaricana (Rchb. f.) H. G. Jones; and Pabstiella aperta (Kraenzl.) Pupulin (based on Masdevallia aperta Kraenzl., a name not cited in Manual Vol. 3, though its type is Costa Rican). The possibly endemic (the book is not clear on this) Pabstiella aperta is newly segregated from P. tripterantha (Rchb. f.) F. Barros (i.e., Pleurothallis tripterantha Rchb. f. of Manual Vol. 3), and is apparently the more common of the two entities in Costa Rica, ranging from 500–1800 on both slopes of the Cordillera de Talamanca; Pabstiella tripterantha sensu stricto, though likely more widespread overall (it is based on a Venezuelan type), is known in Costa Rica only from Volcán Turrialba, at 1200–1800 m.

The harvest, from this volume, of nine new spp. inspires us to revive our long-dormant running count (of new orchid spp. described from Costa Rica since the 1994 inception of this newsletter) which, with the addition of two new Specklinia spp. (see under “Karremans,” this column), now stands at 410. The aforementioned dormancy resulted not from our laxity in keeping tabs, rather from a period of relative inactivity (with respect to describing new spp.) on the part of regional orchid specialists, increasingly (and inevitably) subject to the Law of Diminishing Returns.

This book series was originally projected to comprise three volumes [see under “News and Notes,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 11(4), Oct. 2004], and would appear well-positioned to hit that mark (wish we could have been as prescient!).

Ribeiro, P. G., D. S. Seigler & J. E. Ebinger. 2020. New combination and new synonymy in Piptadenia (Fabaceae: Mimosoideae). Phytologia 102: 1–4.

The new combination Piptadenia retusa (Jacq.) P. G. Ribeiro, Seigler & Ebinger (based on Mimosa retusa Jacq.) is validated, and promoted as a replacement for the posterior P. flava (Spreng. ex DC.) Benth. The latter has been generally accepted, for the better part of the past century, as the correct name for a wide-ranging neotropical sp. that occurs in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica. Because the type of Mimosa retusa “consists of only a portion of a leaf,” the authors’ interpretation of it was based solely on the structure of the petiolar gland and the number, prominence, and course of leaflet veins. To us, it seems a bit audacious to propose scuttling a well-established name on the basis of an arguably tenuous interpretation of inadequate material [in some previous works, M. retusa was associated with the sp. now known as Senegalia riparia (Kunth) Britton, a hypothesis that is here refuted]. Many other taxonomists, in this same situation, would have seen fit to propose rejection of the name Mimosa retusa. And of course, whether in the interest or to the detriment of nomenclatural stability, that can still (and, we expect, will) happen.

Rocha, L. 2020. First record of Turnera ulmifolia L. (Turneraceae) as introduced in Brazil. Phytotaxa 449: 195–199.

Annotate your copy of Manual Vol. 8 to incorporate the information in the above title. It is the autonymic var. (the same one occurring in Costa Rica) that is involved.

Rodríguez, A. & D. Santamaría-Aguilar. 2020. Sinopsis del género Sterculia (Sterculioideae, Malvaceae) para Mesoamérica, y la validación taxonómica de tres especies. Harvard Pap. Bot. 25: 13–37.

We have occasionally been frustrated by workers who propose informal names for Costa Rican spp., then fail to validate them for years or even decades. While there is a clear need to employ valid names for such spp., at the same time, one does not wish to tread on the toes of a colleague. But the taxonomic universe cannot be held hostage in this manner indefinitely. One of the more infamous exemplars of this predicament has been the 1989 Harvard University doctoral dissertation of one Elizabeth L. Taylor which, though never published, represents the only modern taxonomic revision of the genus Sterculia. In that work, Taylor proposed 16 names for new taxa, many of which have been accepted by her peers, but she never got around to formally publishing any of them. Nonetheless, in the intervening years, several of Taylor’s names have been validated by other authors in “ex” fashion, including three in the article under review. For Costa Rica, the big news is that we can finally use Taylor’s name Sterculia allenii (attributed to “E. L. Taylor ex Al. Rodr. & D. Santam.”) for the endemic sp. that had been wrongly identified as S. mexicana R. Br. in Paul Allen’s Rain Forest of Costa Rica (1956). Said sp. was treated as “Sterculia sp. A,” out of lingering (if dwindling) respect for Taylor, in the Manual treatment of Sterculiaceae (2015) by the first author of this paper. The other two Taylor names given new life in this article do not pertain to Costa Rica. The rest of this self-described synoptic treatment (we would say that it nearly qualifies as revisionary), which recognizes a total of 10 spp. (two introduced) for the Mesoamerican region, features technical descriptions at all ranks (except for the introduced spp.), a dichotomous (though, sadly, non-indented) key to spp., synonymy and (for accepted names) typology, common names and uses, distribution and phenology summaries, extensive specimen citations, distribution maps, and discussions. There are no indices. The brief introductory part addresses taxonomic history and distribution. The three new spp. are illustrated with composite line drawings, and all four spp. occurring in Costa Rica with composite color plates from life. Apart from the validation of Sterculia allenii, there are no surprises for Costa Rica. The varietal names proposed by Taylor for Sterculia costaricana Pittier and S. recordiana Standl., alluded to in the Manual, are similarly mentioned here, but they are not validated (and it is not clear whether they are even accepted by the authors). And incidentally: even though this article appears in a Harvard journal, there is no indication that Elizabeth Taylor was contacted or in any way involved.

Rojas-Alvarado, G. & A. P. Karremans. 2020. Revision of the Costa Rican species of Myoxanthus (Pleurothallidinae: Orchidaceae). Phytotaxa 448: 1–70.

A prior article by this duo [see under “Rojas-Alvarado,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 24(4), Oct. 2017] raised the Costa Rican sp. total for Myoxanthus to 10, doubling the number included by the late Carlyle Luer in his (2003) Manual account of the genus on the basis of new spp. and new records that had accrued in the interim, while also incorporating a few nomenclatural adjustments. This fully realized revision maintains that sp.-total, adding no taxonomic novelties or new country records, but does implement some more nomenclatural changes. Most significantly, it seems that the name Myoxanthus exasperatus (Lindl.) Luer (merely mentioned in the Manual) has long been misapplied: according to its type, it actually equates with the sp. that has been called (e.g., in the Manual) M. speciosus (Luer) Luer and is, in fact, the earlier name for said sp. Thus the name Myoxanthus speciosus falls into synonymy under M. exasperatus, and the sp. that had been called M. exasperatus (and which does also occur in Costa Rica) requires a different name. Enter the formidable Myoxanthus parahybunensis (Barb. Rodr.) Luer! Curiously, a somewhat analogous development had occurred previously in this genus (see again our review of the prior paper by this team), in which the name Myoxanthus octomeriae (Schltr.) Luer was shown to have been misapplied (e.g., in the Manual) and, as a result, was synonymized under the earlier M. congestus (A. Rich. & Galeotti) Soto Arenas, while M. octomeriae in the sense of the Manual was rechristened as M. cereus (Ames) Luer ex Rojas-Alv. & Karremans. And now we finally learn something about the distribution of Myoxanthus congestus in Costa Rica: bosque húmedo, muy húmedo y pluvial, 550–1900 m; vert. Carib. Cord. Central, vert. Pac. Cord. de Talamanca, Pen. de Nicoya, N Valle de General. So much for bookkeeping! This excellent contribution features synonymy, typology, and technical descriptions at all ranks, distribution maps, a dichotomous (though non-indented) key to spp., distribution summaries, specimen citations, and “notes.” There are no indices. The introductory part includes discussions of morphology, taxonomic history, collecting history (in Costa Rica), and distribution. All of the Costa Rican spp. are abundantly illustrated with line drawings and color photos (especially of floral parts), as are a few extralimital spp., for comparative purposes. Shockingly, just one lectotoype (for the basionym of Myoxanthus parahybunensis) is designated (and no neotypes).

Silva, G. S. & M. M. Souza. 2020. Origin of the cultivated passion fruit Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa and genomic relationships among species of the subgenera Decaloba and Passiflora. Pl. Biol. (Stuttgart) 22: 533–540.

The results of the molecular-genetic study refute the notion (of which we have been blissfully ignorant) that Passiflora edulis Sims f. flavicarpa O. Deg. (Maracuyá, in Costa Rica) is of hybrid origin (e.g., involving P. ligularis Juss., Granadilla), suggesting “that this species [sic] is conspecific with P. edulis f. edulis.” We presume that to mean that no changes are required to the Manual treatment of these entities.

Staples, G. W., A. R. Simões & D. F. Austin. 2020. A monograph of Operculina (Convolvulaceae). Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 105: 64–138.

What? Not a “foundation” monograph? Well, what the hey, it looks pretty good to us anyway! This meticulous and opulent treatment recognizes 13 spp. of the pantropical genus Operculina, plus one putative hybrid. Cutting right to the chase, very little here is new for us: as per co-PI Barry Hammel’s (2010) Manual account of Convolvulaceae (executed in consultation with the late third author of this paper), Operculina hamiltonii (G. Don) D. F. Austin & Staples and O. pteripes (G. Don) O’Donell remain the only two spp. of their genus in Costa Rica. That said, there is one minor twist: the authors’ acceptance of a Brazilian var. of O. hamiltonii mandates that all other populations of that sp. be qualified as representing the autonymic var. Furthermore, the effective basionym of O. hamiltonii is neotypified, and the basionym of O. pteripes is lectotypified, as are various synonyms of both names. And that is pretty much the end of the story, where we are concerned. Features synonymy, typology, and generous descriptions at all ranks, a dichotomous (though non-indented) key to spp. (as well as to the subspp. of O. hamiltonii), distribution and phenology summaries, distribution maps, uses, “comments,” comprehensive specimen citations, sections on “insufficiently known” and “excluded” spp., and an index to exsiccatae (but none to names). The well-illustrated introductory pages discuss taxonomic history, phylogenetic relationships, methods, morphology, distribution, and pollination and dispersal. Most of the spp. are depicted using previously published (and sometimes quite old) illustrations.

Taylor, C. M. & J. G. Jardim. 2020. Rubiacearum americanarum magna hama pars XLVI: new species and taxonomic changes in Faramea of Central and South America (Rubiaceae, Coussareeae). Novon 28: 108–142.

The operations involving Faramea in this contribution include lectotypifications, transfers of spp. into and out of the genus, reconsiderations of sp. circumscriptions, and (largely as a consequence of the latter) descriptions of new spp. and subspp. Of the 13 new spp. that are described, just two occur in Costa Rica: Faramea grayumiana C. M. Taylor (named for someone who never collected it!) and F. stoneana C. M. Taylor (honoring late OTS director Donald E. Stone). These names are applied, respectively, to material treated in the first author’s Manual Rubiaceae account (2014) under the names Faramea spathacea Müll. Arg. ex Standl. and F. parvibractea Steyerm., both now restricted to Venezuelan populations. The description of a new South American subsp. of Faramea stoneana consigns Central American material to its autonymic counterpart, and the same may be said of F. suerrensis (Donn. Sm.) Donn. Sm. In both cases, a key couplet is provided to distinguish the two subspp. Finally, the name Faramea multiflora A. Rich. (applied somewhat differently in South America, but status quo for us) is lectotypified. All the new taxa are illustrated with line drawings.

Trofimov, D., P. L. R. Moraes & J. G. Rohwer. 2019. Towards a phylogenetic classification of the Ocotea complex (Lauraceae): classification principles and reinstatement of Mespilodaphne. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 190: 25–50.

In our review of a previous paper involving two of these authors, we had warned of potentially “ominous” future developments for Lauraceae, hinging on indications that the large genus Ocotea, in its traditional sense, was paraphyletic with respect to a host of other widely accepted genera. Speculating on whether the eventual resolution of that problem would entail the enlargement of Ocotea (to include the nested genera) or its fragmentation (to maintain them), we bet on the latter alternative. And sure enough, as here revealed, Ocotea will be cut down to size (lumping “is not an option,” the authors opine, “because the other genera nested in Ocotea in the traditional sense are quite distinctive”). That said, the authors’ analyses were not up to the task of completely overhauling the classification of the complex (mainly due to inadequate sampling), and “the only entity that [they] can separate now with a clear conscience is the one previously recognized as Ocotea subgenus Dendrodaphne.” The members of the last-mentioned taxon “differ considerably from all other taxa in the Ocotea complex, mainly by their large flowers with tongue-shaped, heavily papillose stamens…, with four locules in two pairs, one above the other, and by their distinctly double-rimmed cupules…, with spreading outer margin.” Without further ado, this group is elevated to genus rank under the forgotten name Mespilodaphne Nees & Mart., which is provided with a diagnosis and description. New combinations are validated for all eight accepted spp. of this exclusively neotropical taxon, four of which occur in Costa Rica: the former Ocotea dendrodaphne Mez, O. klepperae van der Werff, O. morae Gómez-Laur., and O. veraguensis (Meisn.) Mez; except for the last, attributed to “Rohwer,” all are in the name of “Trofimov.” The combinations are straightforward, except in the case of O. dendrodaphne, which now becomes Mespilodaphne macrophylla (Beurl.) Trofimov (macrophylla, the older epithet, had been blocked in Ocotea). But let’s back up a bit: the authors erred doubly in validating a combination based on Ocotea klepperae, while citing Ocotea paradoxa Mez in synonymy under Mespilodaphne veraguensis (Meisn.) Rohwer. In reality, Ocotea klepperae is a synonym of O. paradoxa (as duly elucidated in Manual Vol. 6), for which no combination in Mespilodaphne yet exists!

By the way, in case there were any doubters: Lauraceae guru Henk van der Werff (MO), though notoriously resistant to changes of this nature, is clearly on board with this one, having annotated all the relevant material at MO using the appropriate names in Mespilodaphne.



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