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The Cutting Edge
Volume VII, Number 4, October 2000
News and Notes | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature
CYPERACEAE. While studying duplicates left behind by Belgian cyperologists Paul Goetghebeur and Konraed Camelbeke [see The Cutting Edge 6(3): 1, Jul. 1999], Jorge Gómez-Laurito (USJ), discovered the first Costa Rican herbarium records for Cyperus elegans L. and Rhynchospora globularis (Chapm.) Small (presumably var. recognita Gale). Both spp. were reported in Flora mesoamericana (Vol. 6, 1994) as extending south to Nicaragua, with C. elegans attributed to Costa Rica by a literature citation. Unfortunately, labels have yet to be returned, so no further information is available.
JUNCACEAE. This is one of those herbarium leaps, which are often just as exciting as field discoveries. While preparing his Manual treatment of this family, co-PI Barry Hammel encountered a new record for the Mesoamerican flora that had gone unnoticed for 17 years. Luzula vulcanica Liebm. was collected at 3775 m elevation on the northeast flank of Cerro Chirripó, Costa Rica's highest summit, by Adelaida Chaverri in 1983 (1161, CR), and correctly identified the same year by Luis Diego Gómez. Neither Flora mesoamericana (Vol. 6, 1994) nor Henrik Balslev's recent monograph (Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 68: 1–168. 1996) picked this up. The sp. is otherwise known from Mexico (north of Flora mesoamericana territory) and South America (Colombia to Peru). Its stoloniferous rhizomes, short, rigid leaves and small inflorescences with very short peduncles distinguish L. vulcanica from its Costa Rican congeners.
LORANTHACEAE. Hammel & Cano 19571 (INB, MO), from 0–300 m on the Península de Nicoya, has been provisionally determined by INBio expert Francisco Morales as Struthanthus cassythoides Millsp. ex Standl., previously believed to range from Mexico to Nicaragua. According to Chico, the identification of Nicaraguan material from Dpto. Rivas is similarly tentative.
ORCHIDACEAE. Oeceoclades maculata (Lindl.) Lindl., the only New World representative of an otherwise African genus, is an aggressively spreading sp. that appeared only recently in Panama. On that basis, it was included speculatively in the Manual Orchidaceae treatment, but was on the verge of being deleted for lack of a voucher. To the rescue, with a twelfth hour stay of execution, Manual co-PI Barry Hammel, who discovered a thriving population near Estación Maritza, Parque Nacional Guanacaste, at ca. 600 m elevation on the Pacific slope of the northern Cordillera de Guanacaste. Here the plants are "very abundant," terrestrial and often on rocks, along quebradas in what appears to be very pristine moist forest. In the collector's words, "the plants look to have been there for millennia, not just a few years." Living plants gathered in the field on 7 January flowered, somewhat pitiably, in the Valle Central on 24 August. Upon examination of images and additional flowering material from Maritza provided by María Marta Chavarría, the identification was confirmed and herbarium specimens were prepared. Also involved in this endeavor were Manual Orchidaceae coordinator Bob Dressler (FLAS/MO), Guanacaste guru Dan Janzen (PENN), and orchid ecologist James Ackerman (UPRRP), who has published on the interesting biology of this sp.
POACEAE. Several collections made by Manual Poaceae contributor Francisco Morales in the Cerro Caraigres region, on the Pacific slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca, have been determined by agrostologist Gerrit Davidse (MO) as Agrostis avenacea J. F. Gmel., an Australian introduction not previously recorded from Mesoamerica.