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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume VII, Number 4, October 2000

News and Notes | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature

Cascante, A. 2000. Additions to the genus Bactris (Arecaceae) of Mesoamerica. Palms 44: 146–150.

The Museo Nacional's long-term botanical exploration of the Cantones de Parrita and Pérez Zeledón [see The Cutting Edge 5(4) 1-2, Oct. 1998] continues to yield prizes. Here, two new understory spp. of Bactris are described, both endemic to the Pacific slope of Costa Rica. Bactris ana-juliae Cascante, compared to B. dianeura Burret and B. hondurensis Standl., is known only from Fila Tinamaste, in the Fila Costeña between San Isidro de El General and Dominical. More widespread (from Zona Protectora Cerros de La Cangreja to the Península de Osa) is Bactris herrerana Cascante, which may resemble B. hondurensis vegetatively (especially in its simple leaves), but is more closely related (by its filiform inflorescence branches) to B. baileyana H. E. Moore and B. glandulosa Oerst. Some collections here distinguished as Bactris herrerana were cited by de Nevers et al. (Proc. Calif. Acad. Sci. 49: 171–210. 1996) under Bactris glandulosa or B. grayumii de Nevers & Andrew Hend. Each new sp. is adequately depicted in a composite line-drawing.

Dressler, R. L. 2000. Mesoamerican orchid novelties 3. Novon 10: 193–2000.

Five new spp. are described in this miscellany, but just two pertain to Costa Rica: Scaphyglottis bicallosa Dressler, closely allied to S. amparoana (Schltr.) Dressler, is from ca. 1100–1200 m elevation in the Valle del Reventazón, while Sobralia purpurea Dressler is described from a cultivated plant apparently obtained near the Continental Divide in the northern Cordillera de Talamanca. This brings to 160 the total of new Orchidaceae spp. described from Costa Rica since ca. 1993. But we lose one of our two Arpophyllum spp., and gain a subsp., with the new combination Arpophyllum giganteum Hartw. ex Lindl. subsp. medium (Rchb. f.) Dressler. Chysis costaricensis Schltr. is reduced to synonymy under the South American C. bruennowiana Rchb. f. & Warsz., and some additional notes on this little-known genus are provided. Includes keys to all spp. and subspp. of Arpophyllum and all spp. of Chysis (including an undescribed Costa Rican sp. known only by a Rafael Lucas Rodríguez painting), plus composite line-drawings of all five new spp., and some others.

Henderson, A. 2000. Bactris (Palmae). Fl. Neotrop. Monogr. 79: 1–181.

This landmark revision of one of the most diverse and ubiquitous neotropical palm genera accepts 73 spp. with 21 vars. From a Costa Rican perspective, there are few substantial changes from the 1996 treatment of Mesoamerican Bactris by de Nevers et al. [see The Cutting Edge 4(1): 4, Jan. 1997], the most significant being the addition of the recently published Bactris neomilitaris de Nevers & Andrew Hend. [see The Cutting Edge 6(3): 6, Jul. 1999]. Also, the reinterpretation of the indigenous South American taxon hitherto called Bactris macana (Mart.) Pittier as a var. of B. gasipaes Kunth consigns our cultivated pejibaye to the autonymic var. of the latter sp. Otherwise, the seven new spp., one new var., two new combinations, and one new name published here do not affect us, nor do any of the seven lectotypes and nine neotypes newly designated. Three new, endemic Costa Rican Bactris spp., one described by Grayum [see The Cutting Edge 6(4): 5, Oct. 1999] and and two by Cascante (see above), did not make the deadline for this revision. Special features include both taxonomic and regional keys to spp., comprehensive specimen citations, range maps for all spp., superb line renderings of floral and fruit details, and indices to exsiccatae and scientific names. The introductory part includes brief discussions of history and various aspects of morphology, ecology, and distribution, along with 18 black-and-white photos depicting growth habit, inflorescences, and infructescences. Several previous attempts at infrageneric classifications of Bactris are dismissed as largely artificial, and no such classification is adopted here, pending cladistic analyses. Hence, the sp. entries are conveniently alphabetical.

Källersjö, M., G. Bergqvist & A. A. Anderberg. 2000. Generic realignment in primuloid families of the Ericales s. l.: a phylogenetic analysis based on DNA sequences from three chloroplast genes and morphology. Amer. J. Bot. 87: 1325–1341.

The chloroplast genes atpB, ndhF, and rbcL were analyzed separately, together, and in combination with morphology, using various approaches. The results, as reflected in six cladograms published here, portray both Myrsinaceae and Primulaceae as paraphyletic, but provide good support for Theophrastaceae and a monogeneric Maesaceae. Rather than unite the four families (which strikes us as reasonable), the authors opt for a "better alternative" that retains the traditional taxa. This decision necessitates changes in the circumscriptions of Myrsinaceae, Primulaceae, and Theophrastaceae, mainly involving the transfer of several herbaceous genera from Primulaceae to Myrsinaceae (thereby trashing the facile notion of Myrsinaceae as the "tropical, woody counterpart" of Primulaceae). Among the new recruits in Myrsinaceae is Anagallis, the only Costa Rican representative of traditional Primulaceae, meaning that we lose a family from the flora. Horticulturists will be thrilled to learn that both Cyclamen and Lysimachia are also now in Myrsinaceae. We wonder: is maintaining these established family names worth the cost of separating such genera as Cyclamen and Dodecatheon into different families? Brief diagnostic descriptions are provided for the recircumscribed families.

Kappelle, M., L. van Omme & M. E. Juárez. 2000. Lista de la flora vascular de la cuenca superior del Río Savegre, San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica. Acta Bot. Mex. 51: 1–38.

The study area comprises about 10,000 ha in the Reserva Forestal Los Santos, at 2400–3491 m elevation on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca, mainly in the watershed of the Ro Savegre. The vouchered and annotated checklist (Apéndice 1) accounts for 626 spp. of vascular plants in 121 families, with 123 spp. of pteridophytes, 1 gymnosperm sp., 385 spp. of dicots, and 117 spp. of monocots. The most diverse families are Asteraceae (57 spp.), Orchidaceae (51 spp.), Rubiaceae (26 spp.), Elaphoglossaceae (23 spp.), Polypodiaceae (23 spp.), and Poaceae (19 spp.), while the most sp.-rich genera are Elaphoglossum (23 spp.), Polypodium (14 spp.), Epidendrum (12 spp.), Peperomia (12 spp.), Asplenium (9 spp.), Blechnum (9 spp.), and Ocotea (9 spp.). Herbaceous plants make up 56.2% of the total, trees just 22.4%. The area is mapped and well discussed in terms of topography, climate, history, and vegetation, with the characterization of 12 vegetation types.

Kirkbride, J. H., Jr. 1999. Barnebydendron, a new generic name (Fabaceae, Caesalpinioideae, Detarieae, Brownea group). Sida 18: 815–818.

The name-change is now complete for the scarlet-flowered tree, rare in Costa Rica, dubbed Phyllocarpus septentrionalis Donn. Sm. in Paul Allen's The Rain Forests of Golfo Dulce (1956). The first stage of the transformation was taxonomic, with Rupert Barneby's (1996) demonstration that the Central American P. septentrionalis is conspecific with the South American P. riedelii Tul., an earlier name (Brittonia 48: 174–187). Now nomenclature rears its ugly head, with the generic name Phyllocarpus Riedel ex Tul. here unmasked as an illegitimate homonym of the earlier Phyllocarpus Riedel ex Endl. (a synonym of Deguelia). Apparently, Endlicher's Phyllocarpus did not correspond to what Riedel had intended, provoking Tulasne to redescribe the genus based on different (Riedel's) material, thereby creating the later homonym. Kirkbride's remedy is a new generic name, with the new binomial Barnebydendron riedelii (Tul.) J. H. Kirkbr. for our tree. No allusion is made to the possibility of conserving Tulasne's long-established usage over Endlicher's forgotten application (which may explain why this paper was published here, rather than in Taxon).

León, J. & L. J. Poveda. Los nombres comunes de las plantas en Costa Rica, ed. P. E. Sánchez-Vindas. Edit. Guayacán, San José, Costa Rica. 870 pp.

As its length would suggest, this impressive volume is much more than a mere listing of names. In terms of content and certain matters of format, it follows and surpasses the tradition of excellence for this kind of work set by Henri Pittier's Ensayo sobre las plantas usuales de Costa Rica (1908). Here, in the main part of the book, Jorge León and Luis Poveda, two of the most knowledgeable and revered contemporary figures in Costa Rican botany, provide generous information on distribution, distinguishing features, and uses for approximately 2000 spp. of Costa Rican plants: native and introduced, herbaceous and arborescent, obscure and well known. These notes are ordered alphabetically by common name, with copious internal cross-referencing; there is also a separate alphabetical list of scientific names with their associated common names in the back, as well as a general index. Names were culled from numerous bibliographic and botanical sources, all discussed and explicitly referenced. The emphasis here is on Spanish common names, but names derived from other sources, including Nahuatl, Jamaican English, and local Amerindian dialects, are compiled in the introductory chapter. The book also features valuable historical and biographical notes, a brief consideration of life zones and climate, illustrations of selected plant spp., and an illustrated glossary of botanical terms. We note that the nomenclature is "cutting edge," and even recently described taxa such as Ruptiliocarpon and Ticodendron are included. This will long stand as an indispensable reference for anyone interested in Costa Rican plants.

Lewis, D. Q. 2000. A revision of the New World species of Lindernia (Scrophulariaceae). Castanea 65: 93–122.

This long-delayed publication of the author's 1984 Master's thesis is billed as "the first time all available New World taxa [of Lindernia] have been comparatively examined" [a claim we can substantiate on the basis of our recent efforts to identify a mystery collection from Costa Rica; see The Cutting Edge 7(2): 5, Apr. 2000]. Here, 14 spp. of Lindernia, in no fewer than six sections, are accepted as occurring in the New World (although two of these spp., Old World accidentals, are not treated formally). This is a singular revision, in that no specimens (other than types) are cited. Taking the range maps in conjunction with the generalized "Habitat and distribution" statements provided for each taxon, only the pantropical weeds Lindernia crustacea (L.) F. Muell. and L. diffusa (L.) Wettst. can definitely be attributed to Costa Rica. However, the following additional taxa are at least potentially present (recorded both to the north and south): L. antipoda (L.) Alston, L. dubia (L.) Pennell var. dubia, L. dubia var. anagallidea (Michx.) Cooperr., L. dubia var. mexicana (S. Watson) D. Q. Lewis (comb. et stat. nov.), and L. rotundifolia (L.) Alston (including L. microcalyx Pennell & Stehlé). Indeed, several of the foregoing names have already been used for recent Costa Rican collections, not seen by the author (recall our tentative determination of the above-mentioned mystery collection as L. microcalyx), and L. dubia was described as "rarely encountered in Costa Rica" (no specimens cited ) in the recent Flora costaricensis treatment of Scrophulariaceae (Fieldiana, Bot. n. s., 41: 1–69. 2000). Incidentally, the sp. (present in Costa Rica) sometimes known as Lindernia thouarsii (Cham. & Schltdl.) Edwin is here excluded as Torenia thouarsii (Cham. & Schltdl.) Kuntze, although the author acknowledges the tenuous separation of Lindernia and Torenia. Features generous descriptions for the genus, 12 spp., and their vars. (but not the sections), a natural key to all 14 spp., a key to the four vars. of L. dubia, and two composite plates of line-drawings. Brief introductory discussions review taxonomic history, morphology, and both generic and infrageneric affinities.
Monro, A. K. 2000. Three new species of Pilea (Urticaceae) from Costa Rica and Panama. Bull. Nat. Hist. Mus. London (Bot.) 30: 7–11.
Just one of the new spp., Pilea conjugalis A. K. Monro, is recorded from Costa Rica. All known collections come from ca. 1500–2300 m elevation in one of three regions: the Cordillera Central and northern Cordillera de Talamanca (especially Parque Nacional Tapantí) in Costa Rica, and the Cerro Punta/Cerro Pate Macho area of western Panama (Prov. Chiriquí). Explicit comparison is made to the most similar sp., Pilea pittieri Killip, as well as to P. gracilipes Killip, with which P. conjugalis has also been confused. Illustrated with a composite line-drawing.

Pipoly, J. J., III & J. M. Ricketson. 1999. Discovery of the Indo-Malesian genus Hymenandra (Myrsinaceae) in the Neotropics, and its boreotropical implications. Sida 18: 701–746.

This paper delivers much more than is promised in the title, as it is actually a full-scale revision of Hymenandra for the New World. The neotropical contingent of the genus has coalesced from a small group of spp. previously included by most workers in the protean Ardisia, but scattered by Cyrus Lundell among three splinter genera (Auriculardisia, Chontalesia, and Icacorea). Hymenandra is distinct in its peculiar growth habit (Fagerlind's Architectural Model) and stamen morphology (filaments fused basally in a tube adnate to the base of the corolla tube, and anthers connate along their longitudinal dehiscence sutures). Seven spp. range in the Old World from Bangladesh through Malaya to Borneo, while nine spp. are accepted in the Neotropics, bringing the generic total to 16. The New World distribution of the genus is quite restricted, from Atlantic Nicaragua to Pacific Colombia, at ca. 0–1400 m elevation. Six spp. occur in Costa Rica, of which two [Hymenandra sordida (Lundell) Pipoly & Ricketson and H. squamata (Lundell) Pipoly & Ricketson] are endemic. All nine combinations are new, as are five synonymies, including Auriculardisia sarapiquiensis Lundell [= Hymenandra wilburiana (Lundell) Pipoly & Ricketson] and Ardisia cutteri Standl. [= Hymenandra pittieri (Mez) Pipoly & Ricketson]. Ardisia pittieri Mez is lectotypified. Includes artificial keys to Mesoamerican genera of Myrsinaceae and New World spp. of Hymenandra, detailed descriptions of the genus and all New World spp., bibliographic and typological data for every name, comprehensive specimen citations, excellent composite line renderings of each sp., and an index to exsiccatae. The introductory section features discussions of morphology, ecology, and biogeography. This work was accomplished by means of conventional morphological investigation, without the benefit of cladistic analyses. Thus, even granting that Hymenandra may be a natural group, it could yet prove to be nested within Ardisia s. l.

Rico, M. de L. 2000. A new name for Albizia elegans (Ducke) L. Rico (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae). Kew Bull. 55: 404.

The stately, emergent tree known to early La Selva hands as Pithecellobium pedicellare (DC.) Benth. suffers the latest in a dizzying series of name changes. It was soon redetermined as Pithecellobium elegans Ducke, which evolved to Balizia elegans (Ducke) Barneby & J. W. Grimes, then Albizia elegans (Ducke) L. Rico. But the last turns out to be a later homonym of the Asian A. elegans Kurz, prompting the new Albizia duckeana L. Rico. End of story? Probably not. By Rico's own account (Novon 9: 555. 1999), A. duckeana is after all "very closely related to" and "perhaps even conspecific with" Pithecellobium pedicellare—later Balizia pedicellaris (DC.) Barneby & J. W. Grimes, now Albizia pedicellaris (DC.) L. Rico. So, with genus and species circumscriptions both unsettled, six different names are in contention for our tree, and we will not be at all surprised if Gary Hartshorn's original identification comes out smelling like a rose.

Robinson, H. & V. Funk. 2000. (1467) Proposal to conserve the name Wulffia against Tilesia

Tilesia baccata (L.) Pruski, a widespread neotropical liana that arguably occurs in Costa Rica, was known universally as Wulffia baccata (L.) Kuntze until just four years ago (see Pruski, Novon 6: 404–418. 1996). This proposal seeks to restore the well-known Wulffia, for this and three or four congeners, at the expense of the nomenclaturally correct Tilesia, "essentially a name from nowhere."

Skog, L. E. & L. P. Kvist. 2000. Revision of Gasteranthus (Gesneriaceae). Syst. Bot. Monogr. 59: 1–118.

Gasteranthus, a neotropical assemblage of understory herbs and subshrubs, was reestablished as separate from Besleria by Hans Wiehler in 1975 (Selbyana 1: 150–156). This genus of 35 spp. is strongly centered in Colombia and Ecuador, with 25 spp. occurring in western Ecuador alone. The insular, cloud-forest distribution of many Gasteranthus spp. in the latter region has rendered them exceptionally vulnerable to extinction, especially in the nearly extirpated lower-elevation habitats: the authors estimate that 11 of the 15 spp. occurring below 1000 m elevation in western Ecuador are extinct or endangered. Considering the overall range of the genus, at least seven Gasteranthus spp. "may already be extinct," and another 10 spp. "may be seriously at risk." Worse yet, just one of the possibly extinct spp. is known to be in cultivation. The picture is perhaps rosier for the Costa Rican slate of five spp., none of which appears to be in immediate danger. Our only endemic is Gasteranthus osaensis L. E. Skog & L. P. Kvist sp. nov. (some material of which was distributed by us as "Gasteranthus reconditus Chavarría & Hammel sp. nov. ined."), also the only member of the genus found on the Península de Osa. It is quite similar to G. acropodus (Donn. Sm.) Wiehler, of the Atlantic lowlands in the Sixaola region (and to east-central Panama). This leaves Gasteranthus delphinioides (Seem.) Wiehler, of the humid Pacific lowlands and extending to northwestern Colombia; G. imbricans (Donn. Sm.) Wiehler, from 0–1000 m on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca and into adjacent Panama; and the widespread, montane G. wendlandianus (Hanst.) Wiehler, which ranges southward to Bolivia. A fully realized revision, with lengthy descriptions, a key to spp. and subspp., distribution maps, citations (sometimes representative) of exsiccatae, and indices to collections and scientific names. Introductory sections focus on taxonomic history, taxon delimitation, pollination, distribution, and conservation, with an especially extensive consideration of morphology. Both the morphological discussion and the taxonomic part are richly illustrated with superb line drawings, many presumably from live material.

Sousa S., M. 1999. Especie nueva de Lonchocarpus (Leguminosae) de Nicaragua y Costa Rica. Anales Inst. Biol. Univ. Nac. Autón. México, Bot. 70: 137–140.

Lonchocarpus chiangii M. Sousa (Fabaceae/Papilionoideae) belongs to a poorly resolved sp.-group that includes L. oliganthus F. J. Herm., to which most Costa Rican collections of the new sp. were previously referred. Its smaller leaves, pendulous inflorescences, and narrower fruits distinguish L. chiangii from L. oliganthus. In Costa Rica, the new sp. occurs at 550–1300 m elevation, mainly on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Tilarán, with one collection from the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Guanacaste. Features an excellent composite line-drawing.

Stevens, W. D. 2000. New and interesting milkweeds (Apocynaceae, Asclepiadoideae). Novon 10: 242–256.

Seven new spp., 13 new combinations, one new name, and two new lectotypifications are published here, together with one clarified typification and one corrected synonymy. Of these, just two new spp. and (apparently) one new combination are germane to Costa Rican floristics. Marsdenia veronicae W. D. Stevens, widespread in Nicaragua, enters Costa Rica only in the Guanacaste region; the new sp. had been considered part of M. macrophylla (Humb. & Bonpl. ex Schult.) E. Fourn., now restricted to Panama and South America. Matelea furvescens W. D. Stevens likewise occurs only in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, where it is known by just two collections from ca. 900 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Tilarán. The new combination Gonolobus fimbriatiflorus (Morillo) W. D. Stevens, based on Matelea fimbriatiflora Morillo, is justified partly on the basis of "recent collections...from Panama and Costa Rica." However, we find no Costa Rican specimens identifed by either name in TROPICOS or the Manual/INBio data-base. Features excellent composite line-drawings of all the new spp.

Zamora, N., Q. Jiménez & L. Poveda. 2000. Arboles de Costa Rica, Vol. 2. Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad, Santo Domingo de Heredia, Costa Rica. 374 pp.

This is a continuation of the Holdridge & Poveda (1975) classic, Arboles de Costa Rica, Vol. 1 (2nd Ed. 1997), which treated monocots plus dicots with compound or lobed leaves. This second volume includes some compound-leaved spp. omitted from Vol. 1, then initiates coverage of simple-leaved dicots, alphabetically by family, through to Capparidaceae. In total, 314 spp. are represented, with fine drawings by INBio's Claudia Aragón. Additionally, 30 color photos of selected spp. are presented at the end of the book. Thanks to Quírico Jiménez for this thumbnail sketch (we have yet to see the volume).


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