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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume VI, Number 3, July 1999

News and Notes | Recent Treatments | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature

Asmussen, C. B. 1999. Toward a chloroplast DNA phylogeny of the tribe Geonomeae (Palmae). Pp. 121--129 in, A. Henderson & F. Borchsenius (eds.), Evolution, variation, and classification of palms. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 83: 1--324+.

A "well-resolved but poorly supported phylogeny" derived from parsimony analysis of rpl16 intron sequences confirms Geonoma as monophyletic (100% bootstrap support), but shows Calyptrogyne as "embedded in the clade of Calyptronoma and Pholidostachys" (in our view, it is Pholidostachys that is "embedded"). The author observes that "the inclusion of Chelyocarpus from subfamily Coryphoideae in the clade of Geonomeae species prevented a conclusive statement about the monophyly of the tribe Geonomeae." This gets our vote as the botanical understatement of the year.

Atwood, J. T. 1998. Seven new species of Maxillaria from Panama and Costa Rica. Selbyana 19: 254--264.

Disappointingly (for us!), just one of these new orchids is Costa Rican. That would be Maxillaria cacaoensis J. T. Atwood, known only by the type collection (A. Mora 60), from 1100 m elevation on Cerro Cacao, in the Cordillera de Guanacaste. The new sp. belongs to the Maxillaria cucullata Lindl. complex, within which it is most similar to the Nicaraguan M. mombachoensis J. T. Atwood. A dichotomous key separates the four spp. of this complex occurring in Costa Rica and Panama. Features a composite line-drawing of M. cacaoensis.

---- & R. L. Dressler. 1998. Clarifications and new combinations in the Phragmipedium caudatum complex from Central America. Selbyana 19: 245--248.

The neotropical Phragmipedium caudatum complex, or Phragmipedium sect. Phragmipedium (Orchidaceae), is here reinterpreted as comprising four morphologically and geographically distinct spp. Three of these are South American, the fourth ranging (as far as we can tell) from Chiapas to western Panama. Mesoamerican material has historically been treated under the name P. caudatum (Lindl.) Rolfe or its synonym, P. warszewiczianum (Rchb. f.) Garay, both now restricted to a sp. of Peru and Bolivia. A name for the Mesoamerican sp. comes from an unexpected source: lectotypification of Cypripedium humboldtii Warsz. ex Rchb. f. on a syntype from Chiriquí (a second syntype was from Peru!) sets the stage for the new combination Phragmipedium humboldtii (Warsz. ex Rchb. f.) J. T. Atwood & Dressler. Simultaneously, two subspp. of P. humboldtii are christened with the new combination P. humboldtii subsp. exstaminodium (Castaño, Hágsater & J. Aguirre) J. T. Atwood & Dressler, founded upon a Chiapan collection that differs from Panamanian specimens in having flowers without a staminode and with longer stamen filaments. The authors note abstrusely that "the Southern range of this subspecies [exstaminodium] is unclear"; thus, the subspecific affinity of Costa Rican plants is apparently unknown.

---- & D. E. Mora de Retana. 1999. Family #39 Orchidaceae: tribe Maxillarieae: subtribes Maxillariinae and Oncidiinae. In W. Burger (editor), Flora costaricensis. Fieldiana, Bot. n. s. 40: 1--182.

Orchidaceae becomes the 45th family to be tackled for Flora costaricensis in this, the 10th installment of the series. Understandably, this is the first partial family treatment yet published. Both of the subtribes here covered are exclusively neotropical: Maxillariinae, with four genera and 117 spp. in Costa Rica, and Oncidiinae, with 35 genera and 112 spp. Of the total of 39 genera in Costa Rica, 30 are represented by just 1--3 spp.; the others are Maxillaria (107 spp.), Oncidium (28 spp.), Macroclinium (10 spp.), Trichocentrum (8 spp.), Cryptocentrum, Lockhartia, Sigmatostalix and Trichopilia (6 spp. each), and Brassia (4 spp.). Some 51 spp. are at least nominally endemic, including (by our count) 23 spp. of Maxillaria, 6 spp. of Macroclinium, and 5 spp. each of Oncidium and Trichocentrum; many additional spp. are shared only with western Panama. One genus, the monotypic Hybochilus, may be a Costa Rican endemic. Three spp. (Maxillaria camaridii Rchb. f., Sigmatostalix adamsii Dodson, and Trichopilia tortilis Lindl.) are included hypothetically, and two others (Maxillaria cf. obscura Linden & Rchb. f., M. cf. planicola C. Schweinf.) are given provisional names.

No taxonomic novelties are published here, that task having been dispatched in preliminary papers; however, four neotypes and eight lectotypes are designated, as well as one epitype. Includes descriptions of each subtribe and separate keys to genera, superb, composite line-drawings for "more than 92% of the species," and an index to scientific names. All keys are bracketed and indented in the conventional manner, a welcome departure from previous installments. The inclusion of Goniochilus and Hybochilus in the key to Leochilus spp. is helpful. However, there is no description or discussion of tribe Maxillarieae, and no key to subtribes; it cannot be established, from this source, if Maxillarieae has other tribes besides Maxillariinae and Oncidiinae, and, if so, whether they are represented in Costa Rica. Perhaps these gaps will be filled in future contributions. Also somewhat frustrating is the brevity of distribution data and the dearth of specimen citations, along with a mild tendency to quote such unreliable sources as sight records and hearsay (perhaps inevitable in Orchidaceae, much collected by hobbyists who often disdain the preparation of proper herbarium specimens). For example, on p. 150: "[Dressler] has...heard of a superior form of O. ornithorhynchum said to have originated in Costa Rica." As a result of such observations, the oft-repeated (and usually unqualified) phrase "reported from..." becomes ambiguous.

Despite our minor qualms, this is a landmark work, and we look forward with relish to the publication of future parts. It is remarkable to have in hand, for the first time, detailed and comprehensive treatments of these difficult genera (particularly Maxillaria and Oncidium), complete with keys and illustrations (and an index to scientific names!). We should add that authors other than Atwood and Mora are responsible, in full or in part, for several generic treatments: Germán Carnevali (Cryptocentrum), Franco Pupulin (Macroclinium pro parte, Trichocentrum pro parte), and Joaquín B. García-Castro (Leucohyle pro parte). Interestingly, this number is dedicated to the obscure A. R. Endres, an early collector whose stock has risen considerably in recent years. [N.B.: the very recently published Maxillaria cacaoensis J. T. Atwood (see first entry, this section) squeaks in as an addendum.]

Bayer, C. & L. J. Dorr. 1999. A synopsis of the neotropical genus Pentaplaris, with remarks on its systematic position within core Malvales. Brittonia 51: 134--148.

Tragedy strikes as Costa Rica loses one of its very few ostensibly endemic angiosperm genera. Pentaplaris, traditionally classed in Tiliaceae, has been regarded as an isolated genus with a single sp., P. doroteae L. O. Williams & Standl., restricted to a small area on the Pacific versant of Costa Rica near Palmar Norte. Long known only by Paul Allen’s type collection, P. doroteae was refound in 1989 by Manual personnel, following which several additional collections were prepared. Now, two new, Amazonian spp. of Pentaplaris are described: P. huaoranica Dorr & C. Bayer, from Ecuador, and P. davidsmithii Dorr & C. Bayer, from Peru and Bolivia. Features a revised generic description, distribution map, key to spp., lengthy descriptions of all three spp., comprehensive specimen citations, composite line-drawings of all three spp., SEM micrographs of pollen, and a photo of P. doroteae (by co-PI Barry Hammel) in situ. The promised remarks on the systematic position of Pentaplaris conclude little, beyond the acknowledgment that the genus belongs properly in the Malvaceae (as according to the next entry). Within that freshly bloated taxon, Pentaplaris is most closely related not to taxa formerly treated as Tiliaceae, but rather to subfamilies Bombacoideae and Malvoideae (based on "in press" cladograms of Bayer and colleagues).

----, M. F. Fay, A. Y. de Bruijn, V. Savolainen, C. M. Morton, K. Kubitzki, W. S. Alverson & M. W. Chase. 1999. Support for an expanded family concept of Malvaceae within a recircumscribed order Malvales: a combined analysis of plastid atpB and rbcL DNA sequences. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 129: 267--303.

Based on their molecular phylogeny and other (including morphological) evidence, the authors conclude that "the traditional delimitation of families within core Malvales is untenable." They cite "strong support for the polyphyly of Tiliaceae and Sterculiaceae," and add that, of the traditional families, only Malvaceae s. str. is monophyletic. The decision is made to merge Bombacaceae, Malvaceae s. str., Sterculiaceae, and Tiliaceae into a single family, Malvaceae s. l., here subdivided into nine subfamilies. Lumping is preferred to splitting, because the authors feel that "for practical reasons...any increase in the numbers of small families should be generally avoided if possible"; they also note that splitting would leave ambiguously placed genera without clear family affiliations. The name Malvaceae Juss. (1789) is preferred over Tiliaceae Juss. (1789), because the former has already been used in a similarly inclusive sense by numerous august botanists. The affinities of Muntingiaceae are "especially ambiguous," though "almost certainly they are Malvales s. l." Each of the nine subfamilies is discussed, and their characteristics are summarized in tabular form. The placement of genera in previous treatments is indicated in a separate table.

Born, M. G., P. J. M. Maas, R. L. Dressler & L. Y. T. Westra. 1999. A revision of the saprophytic orchid genera Wullschlaegelia and Uleiorchis. Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 121: 45--74.

Each of these exclusively neotropical genera consists of two spp., and all four spp. are widespread, except for the Venezuelan Uleiorchis liesneri Carnevali & I. Ramírez, known only from the type. Uleiorchis has not been recorded from Costa Rica, although U. ulei (Cogn.) Handro has been collected from countries to the north (Honduras) and south (Panama). The two spp. of Wullschlaegelia, confused for many years, are here clearly separated, apparently for the first time. Both occur in Costa Rica: Wullschlaegelia aphylla (Sw.) Rchb. f., at 800--1000 m elevation on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Guanacaste (but also on the Atlantic slope of extreme western Panama at 350--500 m); and W. calcarata Benth., at 100--150 m on both the Pacific (Golfo Dulce region) and Atlantic (near Cahuita) slopes. The brief introductory part includes sections on distribution, ecology, and pollination and dispersal, with SEM micrographs of stem trichomes (diagnostically critical in Wullschlaegelia) and seeds. Also features genus descriptions, keys to spp. in both genera, synonymy, full descriptions and exsiccatae citations, distribution maps, line-drawings of all spp. except U. liesneri, a black-and-white photo of W. calcarata in life, and an index to exsiccatae. Missing is a key to the genera, or any focused discussion on the differences between them; we do learn, obliquely, that Uleiorchis is glabrous, Wullschlaegelia pubescent. N.B.: our change in the spelling of U. ulei (from the authors’ "ulaei") is intentional, as required by Art. 60.11 of the Code.

Brummitt, R. K. 1999. Report of the Committee for Spermatophyta: 48. Taxon 48: 359--371.

The following results are pertinent to Costa Rican floristics: conservation of Allium ampeloprasum L. against A. porrum L. is recommended; the accepted name for the cultivated leek is officially A. ampeloprasum var. porrum (L.) J. Gay. Proposed conservation of several well-known Kunth names in Monnina (Polygalaceae) against prior names in Hebeandra published by Bonpland in a very obscure journal is not recommended; the sole upshot for us is that the familiar Monnina xalapensis Kunth must henceforth be called Monnina evonymoides (Bonpl.) comb. ined. We applaud the Committee’s rationale: "Whenever a revision is undertaken of a large genus on which little work has been done, it is likely that names in use in herbaria will be found to be incorrect"; this tacitly acknowledges the wide gulf in our knowledge of temperate vs. tropical floras. Proposed conservation of Myrica and Gale (Myricaceae) with new types is also not recommended, with the result that Myrica will be restricted to just two temperate spp., while as many as 40 tropical spp. (including at least three in Costa Rica) will be known under the generic name Morella. Being staunch anti-conservationists, we like the decision; however, we must deplore the astonishingly Eurocentric bias embodied in the opinion that a name change of the temperate Myrica gale L. to Gale belgica Dumort. "might offend more people than the transfer of the [ca. 40!] tropical species to Morella." The Committee redeems itself with the sage pronouncement that, "when there is a conflict of interests like this, with fairly well balanced arguments either way, it is best to let simple priority and normal typification decide." Lastly, conservation of Leucaena (Fabaceae: Mimosoideae) with a new type is recommended, preserving the application of the name as widely accepted.

Cascante-Marín, A. 1998 [‘1997’]. La familia Bombacaceae (Malvales) en Costa Rica. Brenesia 47-48: 17--36.

A gussied-up and somewhat revised version of Alfredo Cascante’s (CR) Manual treatment, already reviewed in these pages [see The Cutting Edge 3(2): 4, Apr. 1996]. Significant changes are the recognition of Matisia as a genus separate from Quararibea, and the synonymization of Bombacopsis under Pachira. The very recently described Matisia tinamastiana Estrada & Cascante (see below) did not make the cut. Includes an introduction, composite line-drawings of 14 of the 24 Costa Rican spp., and distribution maps for all.

Columbus, J. T. 1999. An expanded circumscription of Bouteloua (Gramineae: Chloridoideae): new combinations and names. Aliso 18: 61--65.

Previous work by the author and colleagues (see Aliso 17: 99--130. 1998) has shown, via cladistic analysis of nuclear ribosomal and chloroplast DNA sequences, that the New World grass genus Bouteloua is not monophyletic. To remedy this situation, the author proposes expanding Bouteloua to accommodate nine satellite genera (with a total of 15 spp.), as preferable to dividing up Bouteloua even further. The rationale seems rock-solid to us: "...by accenting the morphological similarities among the species, the new generic circumscription has a practical advantage over the current classification: species can be more readily and accurately determined to genus, especially in the field, by persons not expert in the group." And isn’t that what it’s all about? For Costa Rica, only one name will change: Pentarrhaphis annua Swallen, a rare sp. of the Guanacaste region, becomes Bouteloua swallenii Columbus.

de Nevers, G. & A. Henderson. 1999. A new Bactris (Palmae) from Central America. Brittonia 51: 77--78.

Material from the Atlantic slope of Costa Rica and Panama previously included in Bactris militaris H. E. Moore is segregated as B. neomilitaris de Nevers & Andrew Hend., restricting B. militaris to a small, unprotected, and much perturbed area at the head of Golfo Dulce, on the Pacific slope of Costa Rica. The two spp. are admittedly "very similar," and distinguished (we think) on rather tenuous grounds, especially considering the very small number of specimens involved (a total of perhaps seven). We might accede to subspecific ranking of these taxa, assuming the alleged differences in leaf length and fruit anatomy hold up. Good photos of a live plant in the field.

Espejo Serna, A. 1997. Fanerogamas. Familia Hernandiaceae. In, Flora de México 7(2): 1--16. Consejo Nac. Flora de México, México, D. F.

This one is a mystery: is this author privy to some secret knowledge, or does he simply have a vivid imagination? Citing no specimens, he attributes both Hernandia sonora L. and H. wendtii Espejo to Costa Rica. This is news to us, and also to Flora costaricensis author William Burger (Fieldiana, Bot. n. s. 23: 129--138. 1990). Hernandia sonora is a peltate-leaved sp., the likes of which we have not seen in Costa Rica; indeed, MO has no specimens of any peltate-leaved Hernandia’s from anywhere in Mesoamerica, and Klaus Kubitzki’s monograph (Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 89: 78--209. 1969) characterized H. sonora as strictly Antillean. Hernandia wendtii, suspiciously similar to our H. didymantha Donn. Sm., was also attributed to Costa Rica in the protologue (Flora de Veracruz 67: 14. 1992), wherein the author (amazingly!) likewise failed to cite specimens from outside Mexico. Finally, Sparattanthelium septentrionale Sandwith and S. amazonum Mart., kept separate by Burger, are here merged under the latter name--perhaps not unreasonably, but with no commentary or explanation. Costa Rica is omitted from the distribution account for S. amazonum s. l., contrary to both Kubitzi and Burger. Mexican distributions are mapped, and some spp. are illustrated with composite line-drawings.

Estrada Ch., A. 1998 [‘1997’]. La familia Lythraceae (Myrtales) en Costa Rica. Brenesia 47-48: 37--53.

Armando Estrada (CR) makes his Manual treatment of Lythraceae [see The Cutting Edge 4(1): 3, Jan. 1997] immediately available with this fundamentally unchanged contribution. Embellished with an introduction, composite line-drawings of all but four of the 14 Costa Rican spp., and distribution maps for all.

---- & A. Cascante. 1998. Matisia tinamastiana (Bombacaceae): una nueva especie arborescente del Pacífico Central de Costa Rica. Brenesia 49-50: 79--85.

The Museo Nacional’s project in the central Pacific region of Costa Rica [see The Cutting Edge 5(4): 1--2, Oct. 1998] yields yet another prize. Matisia tinamastiana Estrada & Cascante, a prominently buttressed emergent tree to at 40 m tall, is known only from a small area at 500--700 m elevation, between Zona Protectora Cerros de La Cangreja (Cantón de Puriscal) and Fila Tinamaste (Cantón de Pérez Zeledón, along the road from San Isidro de El General to Dominical). All four stations are in Prov. San José. The new sp. is distinctive in its caducous calyces, which separate from the flower after pollination, leaving the oddly oblate fruits naked (rather than covered by the accrescent calyx, as in all other Costa Rican congeners). In this respect it resembles and is compared with the South American Matisia bicolor Ducke and M. palenquiana (A. Robyns) W. S. Alverson, both said to differ in flower color. Matisia tinamastiana is both common and conspicuous where it occurs, but is of little commercial importance to local residents (boding well for its future). The authors speculate that the sp. has been overlooked because of its limited geographic range and largely deforested habitat, discouraging botanical exploration. Illustrated with two full pages of composite line-drawings. A companion article [Solera S., P. & I. Carpio M.. 1998. Descripción anatómica del xilema de Matisia tinamastiana Estrada & Cascante (Bombacaceae). Brenesia 49-50: 99--102] describes wood anatomy, but ventures no conclusions.

Freire, S. E. & L. Iharlegui. 1997. Sinopsis preliminar del género Gamochaeta (Asteraceae, Gnaphalieae). Bol. Soc. Argent. Bot. 33: 23--35.

This on-again-off-again Gnaphalium segregate consists of 47 mostly South American spp., with just four in Central America (according to our count, not that of the authors, who tote just three). Only the endemic Gamochaeta irazuensis G. L. Nesom is recorded for Costa Rica; however, our data-base adds G. americana (Mill.) Wedd. A discussion of generic relationships is followed by a dichotomous key to all spp. in the genus and a comprehensive catalogue, with full synonymy, geographic distribution by country, and a voucher citation for each sp. Includes an index to scientific names.

Gómez-Laurito, J. & A. Cascante. 1999. Licaria caribaea (Lauraceae): a new species from the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica. Novon 9: 199--201.

Licaria caribaea Gómez-Laur. & Cascante, known only by a few collections from near sea level in Parque Nacional Tortuguero, is segregated from an inclusive concept of L. excelsa Kosterm. The latter sp. becomes restricted to higher elevations, (600--) 1100--2300 m. A key is provided to separate the two spp., together with a composite line-drawing of L. caribaea.

Henderson, A. 1999. A phylogenetic analysis of the Euterpeinae (Palmae; Arecoideae; Areceae) based on morphology and anatomy. Brittonia 51: 106--113.

Relationships among the six genera in this neotropical subtribe were investigated in this study, employing 44 characters. The principal conclusions were as follows: Prestoea must be maintained as distinct from Euterpe (barring the merger of all six genera); Jessenia is nested within Oenocarpus, and should thus be sunk; Hyospathe and Neonicholsonia are upheld as cladistically tenable genera.

Kappelle, M. & L. van Omme. 1998 [‘1997’]. Lista de las plantas de los bosques nubosos subalpinos de la Cordillera de Talamanca en Costa Rica. Brenesia 47-48: 55--71.

Subalpine, or "elfin," forests have been little studied in Costa Rica partly because, according to the authors, they were omitted from the Holdridge Life-Zone map of the country. This vegetation type is characterized as consisting of dwarf trees, ca. 5--15 m tall, with xeromorphic characteristics attributable to the action of strong winds. In the Cordillera de Talamanca, subalpine forest occupies the zone between oak forests and páramo, i.e., from ca. 3000--3200 m to 3400--3500 m, depending on local conditions. Dominant tree spp. include Buddleja nitida Benth. (Loganiaceae s. l.), Comarostaphylis arbutoides Lindl. (Ericaceae), Escallonia myrtilloides L. f. (Grossulariaceae s. l.), and Weinmannia trianaea Wedd. (Cunoniaceae). This study, conducted at three principal sites, resulted in a vouchered checklist of 195 spp. of vascular plants in 74 families. Woody plants comprised 50.2% of the total spp., tree spp. just 21.0%. The most diverse families were Asteraceae (25 spp.), Ericaceae (10 spp.), Rosaceae (10 spp.), Lomariopsidaceae (8 spp.), Polypodiaceae (7 spp.), and Lycopodiaceae (6 spp.); the most diverse genera were Elaphoglossum (8 spp.), Polypodium (5 spp.), Chusquea, Hypericum, and Lycopodium (4 spp. each).

Luteyn, J. L. 1999. Páramos: a checklist of plant diversity, geographical distribution, and botanical literature. Mem. New York Bot. Gard. 84: 1--278.

This handsome volume delivers exactly what is promised in the title. Checklists of páramo lichens, mosses, hepatics, and vascular plants, though unvouchered, feature limited synonymy and are annotated to indicate distribution by country and elevation. Separate gazetteers of páramo localities are presented for several South American countries, plus one for Costa Rica and Panama. An introductory section defines and describes páramos, and discusses páramo ecology, human impact, and conservation issues. This section is richly illustrated with black-and-white as well as color photos, some of historical interest and most of aesthetic appeal. Includes contributions by Steven P. Churchill (MO), Mauricio R. Gavilanes A. (Quito, Ecuador), S. Rob Gradstein (GOET), Dana Griffin III (FLAS), and Harrie J. M. Sipman (B)

Miller, J. S. 1999. New Boraginaceae from tropical America 1: new species of Bourreria and Tournefortia from Costa Rica and a note on the publication of Cordia collococca. Novon 9: 230--235.

Both Bourreria rinconensis James S. Mill. and Tournefortia isabellina James S. Mill. are known only from their types, collected on the Osa Peninsula and near San Vito de Coto Brus, respectively. The new Bourreria is compared with the Central American B. quirosii Standl. and the South American B. cumanensis (Loefl.) O. E. Schulz, and a key to Bourreria spp. occurring in Costa Rica (but omitting B. oxyphylla Standl.) is provided. The new Tournefortia belongs to sect. Cyphocema I. M. Johnst., a group of strictly vining spp. also including (in Central America) T. maculata Jacq. and T. volubilis L. These three spp. are separated by means of a key. Excellent composite drawings of both new spp. The date and place of publication of the name Cordia collococca L. are corrected.

Morales, J. F. 1998. Bromelias de Costa Rica. Inst. Nac. de Biodiversidad, Sto. Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica. 176 pp.

This slick, flashy, and highly authoritative little volume is part of a new series of fully bilingual (Spanish/English) field guides, "Colección Guías de Campo de Costa Rica," currently being published by INBio. If the two contributions reviewed here (see also under Rojas) are any indication, this series is sure to be wildly successful. The production standards are professional, far exceeding those of previous INBio publications. In size, format, quality, and (we expect) target readership, these books have much in common with the famed Golden Guides® series. This bromeliad guide is not comprehensive, but includes 80 of the ca. 200 spp. recorded for Costa Rica. Each sp. treated is vividly illustrated with a technically accurate and aesthetically appealing full-page watercolor by Anita W. Cooper, an American illustrator formerly resident in Costa Rica; on the facing page is information on morphology, flowering phenology, and distribution within and outside Costa Rica, with occasional supplementary notes. The introductory part features a glossary (illustrated by parataxonomist Francisco Quesada) and discussions of bromeliad habitats, symbioses, and taxonomy. The basis for the sequencing of the plates is not readily apparent to us, and does not seem to be explained anywhere in the text; the arrangement is neither alphabetical nor taxonomic, nor (consistently) according to flower or bract color. In view of this, an index to scientific names would have been extremely useful. Also, a comprehensive checklist of Costa Rican bromeliads would have been a nice touch. Despite these caveats, this elegant little guide should enable any user to easily identify, or at least narrow down, any sp. of bromeliad likely to be encountered in Costa Rica.

----. 1999. A synopsis of the genus Odontadenia. Series of revisions of Apocynaceae XLV. Bull. Jard. Bot. Belg. 67: 381--477.

This is a fine piece of work, really a full-scale revision rather than a synopsis. The exclusively neotropical Odontadenia comprises 20 spp. of lianas, here grouped in two subgenera: subg. Odontadenia, with 8 spp. in three sections, and subg. Anisolobus (A. DC. )Woodson, with 12 spp. in four sections. One section (of subg. Anisolobus) and three spp. (all South American) are described as new. Nothing is new for Costa Rica, with Odontadenia macrantha (Roem. & Schult.) Markgr., O. verrucosa (Willd. ex Roem. & Schult.) K. Schum. ex Markgr., and O. puncticulosa (Rich.) Pulle our only spp. The taxonomic part features a key to subgenera and sections, keys to the spp. of each section, moderately detailed sp. descriptions, informative discussions, extensive specimen citations, a composite line-drawing of each sp., and indices to exsiccatae and scientific names. An introductory section focuses on taxonomic history, morphology, and intergeneric relationships.

----. 1999. New species of Stemmadenia and Tabernaemontana (Apocynaceae) from Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia. Novon 9: 236--239.

Two of the three novelties described here occur in Costa Rica, both belonging to the genus Stemmadenia. Stemmadenia abbreviata J. F. Morales is known only from the type, collected by Manual co-PI Barry Hammel at the Estación Biológica La Selva; S. simulans J. F. Morales & Q. Jiménez ranges at ca. 300--1000 (--1400) m elevation along the Pacific slope, from the Zona Protectora Cerros de La Cangreja (Cantón de Puriscal) to the Panamanian side of the Península de Burica. The epithet of the latter sp. alludes to a striking similarity to the South American Tabernaemontana columbiensis (L. Allorge) Leeuwenb., with which it had been confused. Features a fine composite drawing of S. simulans by Manual artist Silvia Troyo.

Piesschaert, F., E. Robbrecht, A. D. Poulsen & E. Smets. 1998. Pyrene and pollen observations in the pantropical genus Geophila (Rubiaceae--Psychotrieae). Nordic J. Bot. 19: 93--100.

The pantoporate pollen of African and Asian specimens of the ostensibly pantropical Geophila repens (L.) I. M. Johnst. contrasts sharply with the inaperturate pollen of most American specimens, suggesting that the neotropical G. repens var. americana Bremek. merits specific rank. This view is supported by the pyrene differences noted previously by Bremekamp, and apparently also by a difference in inflorescence morphology. However, citing limited sampling and a Jamaican specimen with seemingly intermediate pollen morphology, the authors refrain from formally implementing the change.

Prather, L. A. 1999. Systematics of Cobaea (Polemoniaceae). Syst. Bot. Monogr. 57: 1--81.

This neotropical genus of 18 spp. of mostly montane vines is divided into four sections, based on a cladogram (here reproduced) generated by cladistic analysis of ITS sequence data (see Prather & Jansen, Syst. Bot. 23: 57--72. 1998). One of the three traditional sections is synonymized, and two new sections are erected. Just three spp. are accepted without reservation as indigenous to Costa Rica: the endemic Cobaea aschersoniana Brand, plus the more widespread C. minor M. Martens & Galeotti and C. gracilis (Oerst.) Hemsl. (including C. panamensis Standl.). Cobaea lutea D. Don, of Mexico and northern Central America, is vouchered for Costa Rica by a single flower included with Brenes 6468 (F, NY), from near San Ramón; however, an associated fruit appears referable to C. gracilis, and the author discounts this record as probably attributable to a herbarium mixup. Cobaea scandens Cav., well known horticulturally and sparingly escaped in Costa Rica (Prather 1578, TEX; from near Cartago), is apparently native to Mexico. A lengthy introductory section includes discussions of morphology, phylogeny, biogeography, etc.; pollen morphology is emphasized, and numerous SEM micrographs are presented. Also featured is a key to sections and spp., descriptions of the sections, full exsiccatae citations, distribution maps, composite line-drawings of six spp., black-and-white photos of flowers, and indices to exsiccatae and scientific names. Three new spp. are described (none from Costa Rica), and six names are lectotypified. N.B.: the Manual treatment of Polemoniaceae, by Francisco Morales (INB), differs from this revision in regarding Cobaea lutea as a native sp., occurring at 2000--3150 m in the Cordilleras Central and de Talamanca.

Rojas Alvarado, A. 1998 [‘1997’]. Fourteen new species of Elaphoglossum (Elaphoglossaceae) from Mesoamerica. Brenesia 47-48: 1--16.

Three sections and five subsections are represented among these novelties in Elaphoglossum, already the most diverse pteridophyte genus in Costa Rica. Eleven of the 14 new spp. occur in Costa Rica, and seven are endemic: Elaphoglossum cedralense A. Rojas (Cerros de Escazú and La Carpintera), E. coto-brusense A. Rojas (Cordillera de Tilarán, Pacific slope of Cordillera de Talamanca), E. luteum A. Rojas (valley of Río Grande de Orosi), E. maritzae A. Rojas (Estación Biológica La Selva and near Upala), E. nanum A. Rojas (Cerro Chirripó), E. resinosum A. Rojas (Atlantic slope of Cordillera de Talamanca), and E. tarbacense A. Rojas (near Tarbaca, Cerros de Escazú). The total number of Elaphoglossum spp. now recorded for Costa Rica is at least 135. No illustrations.

----. 1999. Helechos arborescentes de Costa Rica. Inst. Nac. de Biodiversidad, Sto. Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica. 173 pp.

This impressive little field guide is another in INBio’s new bilingual Golden Guides®-style series, described previously under the first Morales entry. What distinguishes the Rojas and Morales guides (and, presumably, all the other INBio field guides) is that, unlike many of the "Golden Guides," they are impeccably authoritative, written by "cutting edge" taxonomic specialists, working tirelessly in the field and publishing prolifically in technical journals. These books are the real deal, straight from the horse’s mouth; the Costa Rican equivalent of Herbert S. Zim has yet to come out of the woodwork. Every one of the 47 spp., two hybrids, and five varieties of Costa Rican tree-ferns is treated fully in this contribution, by INBio fern curator Alexander Rojas. All taxa are illustrated with color photographs of passable to excellent quality, mostly by the author, except for three rare taxa, for which paintings are substituted. The trouble with tree-ferns is that most spp. look pretty much alike in general aspect; the devil is in the details. This problem is addressed by an appendix ("Annex") featuring detailed line-drawings of sporangia and petiolar scales for every taxon, rendered by parataxonomist Francisco Quesada, whose work has greatly improved of late. The text for each species includes a general description (with critical diagnostic characteristics italicized) and information on distribution within and outside Costa Rica. A richly illustrated introduction covers such topics as diversity, morphology, family distinctions, conservation, and uses; the volume ends with a (non-illustrated) glossary and bibliography. The plates are ordered logically according to taxonomic hierarchy (outlined on pp. 26--28), alphabetically by family, with genera alphabetical within families, and spp. within genera. We could not find any taxonomic definition of tree-ferns (not all of which are arborescent), even though this book tacitly embraces a taxonomic circumscription of the group. Also, as an appendix, a brief enumeration of some important synonyms might have been worthwhile; for example, a knowledgeable user, noting the absence of Cyathea albomarginata R. C. Moran, has no way to know that the author regards this name as synonymous with C. holdridgeana Nisman & L. D. Gómez. Tree-ferns are a diverse but highly technical group, refractory (unlike bromeliads) to treatment in a pocket-guide format; thus, despite Alexander’s laudable efforts, this book may function best as a supplementary, rather than primary, identification source.

Sánchez González, J. 1998. Tachia parviflora Maguire & Weaver (Gentianaceae): un nuevo registro para Costa Rica. Brenesia 49-50: 87--88.

The first Mesoamerican record of the once exclusively South American genus Tachia, originally reported in these pages [The Cutting Edge 3(2): 5, Apr. 1996], is officially reiterated here. The only significant update is that the specific identity has now apparently been established beyond the shadow of a doubt. Tachia parviflora, known previously from Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia, has now been collected at ca. 900--1400 m elevation from two peaks on the Pacific slope in Prov. San José: Cerro Nara (Cantón de Dota) and Cerro Toro (Cantón de Tarrazú).

Strong, M. T. & R. Kral. 1999. (1413) Proposal to conserve the name Scirpus miliaceus (Cyperaceae) with a conserved type. Taxon 48: 387--389.

If we get the drift, acceptance of this complicated proposal would mean that the sp. presently called, in some works (e.g., Flora mesoamericana), Fimbristylis littoralis Gaudich., would revert to being known as F. miliacea (L.) Vahl (a usage prevailing almost exclusively until 1954 and, especially in North American floras, persisting to this day). Our view: lectotypification of Scirpus miliaceus was accomplished in 1954 and is "perfectly correct," in the words of these authors, precluding the application of the name Fimbristylis miliacea to F. littoralis. Case closed! Why legitimize the efforts of workers who operate in defiance or ignorance of the Code, and, in so doing, provide an incentive for future workers to behave likewise? Once again, this is a recipe, not a solution, for nomenclatural instability.

Thiede, J. & U. Eggli. 1999. Einbeziehung von Manfreda Salisbury, Polianthes Linné und Prochnyanthes in Agave (Agavaceae). Kakteen Sukk. 50: 109--113.

Citing recent cladistic and molecular studies showing Agave to be paraphyletic with respect to the other three genera mentioned in the title, the authors formally place the latter in synonymy under Agave. This action requires 24 new combinations and names, just one of which marginally affects us: the commercial tuberose (cultivated in Costa Rica), known as Polianthes tuberosa L. since the beginning of nomenclatural time, abruptly becomes Agave tuberosa (L.) Thiede & Eggli. In German (with English abstract).



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