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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

Main | Family List (MO) | Family List (INBio) | Cutting Edge
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The Cutting Edge

Volume IX, Number 4, October 2002

News and Notes | Recent Treatments | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature | Season's Pick

CISTACEAE. J. Fco. Morales (INB).
The only Costa Rican representative of this smallish family, best represented in Mediterranean climes, is Helianthemum glomeratum Lag. ex DC., a cordilleran sp. disjunct from the main portion of its range in northern Mesoamerica.

Stateside Manual project coordinator Mary Merello, despite having arrived on the scene at a relatively late date, delivers in the nick of time with the full line of gymnosperm family treatments (see also under Gnetaceae, Pinaceae, Podocarpaceae, and Zamiaceae, this section), securing their inclusion in one of our first-to-be-published volumes. Cupressaceae, even when construed broadly (as here) to include Taxodiaceae, has no native spp. in Costa Rica. The only sp. formally treated is Cupressus lusitanica Mill., of northern Mesoamerica, planted on a large scale in Costa Rica and occasionally naturalized. Receiving honorable mention are the occasionally cultivated Platycladus orientalis (L.) Franco, Cryptomeria japonica (L. f.) D. Don, and Taxodium mucronatum Ten. (the latter two frequently classed in Taxodiaceae).

GNETACEAE. M. Merello (MO).
The indigenous canopy liana Gnetum leyboldii Tul., collected in Costa Rica only at the Estación Biológica La Selva, is our only representative of this odd gymnosperm family.

PINACEAE. M. Merello (MO).
This important family is not known to occur naturally in Costa Rica (even though four spp. of Pinus extend from Mexico to Nicaragua). Mary's contribution comprises treatments of three exotic spp. planted in Costa Rica on a commercial scale: Pinus caribaea Morelet, P. oocarpa Schiede, and P. patula Schltdl. & Cham. Mentioned in passing is Pinus devoniana Lindl., cultivated less extensively.

The Gondwanalandic Podocarpaceae is the most diverse gymnosperm family in Costa Rica, with two indigenous genera and four spp., as follows: Podocarpus costaricensis de Laub., P. guatemalensis Standl., P. oleifolius D. Don, and Prumnopitys standleyi (J. Buchholz & N. E. Gray) de Laub. The last-named sp. is the only member of the family (and the only gymnosperm) endemic to Costa Rica. The recently described Podocarpus monteverdeensis de Laub. is here relegated to synonymy under P. oleifolius. Afrocarpus falcatus (Thunb.) Gaussen ex C. N. Page [AKA Podocarpus falcatus (Thunb.) R. Br. ex Mirb.], an Old World sp. sparingly cultivated in the Valle Central, is discussed informally.

As the rest of us twiddle our thumbs, Chico is fast snapping up all the remaining plums. Two genera of Staphyleaceae occur in Costa Rica, each represented by a single sp. Huertea glandulosa Ruiz & Pav., a mainly South American sp., was found in Costa Rica only recently (in Parque Nacional Guayabo, near Turrialba), at which time it was misidentified as H. cubensis Griseb. [see The Cutting Edge 1(1): 10, Jan. 1994]. Subsequently, another population was discovered at Zona Protectora Las Tablas. Better known is the widespread Turpinia occidentalis (Sw.) G. Don, acknowledged by Chico as “sumamente variable,“ even though he foregoes the subspecific classification of Croat (in Woodson & Schery, Flora of Panama, Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 63: 393-397. 1976).

ZAMIACEAE. M. Merello (MO).
The Costa Rican cycads number three spp., all in the genus Zamia and all indigenous (though none is endemic): Zamia fairchildiana L. D. Gómez, Z. neurophyllidia D. W. Stev., and Z. obliqua A. Braun. A fourth sp., Zamia acuminata Oerst. ex Dyer, is a poorly understood entity included hypothetically, as it is known definitely only by the type collection, from the Nicaraguan side of the Río San Juan. The only Costa Rican record for Z. obliqua is a sterile collection from the head of Golfo Dulce. Zamia fairchildiana and Z. neurophyllidia are the commonest spp. on the Pacific and Atlantic slopes, respectively, though each has been collected once on the other's versant. The latter sp., abundant at the Estación Biológica La Selva, has long gone by the name Zamia skinneri Warsz., correctly applied to a local endemic of western Panama. Zamia pseudomonticola L. D. Gómez, typified by a Costa Rican specimen and often accepted as a distinct sp., is here synonymized under Z. fairchildiana. Denied formal treatment, but briefly mentioned, are Zamia pseudoparasitica J. Yates, an epiphytic sp. of western Panama to be sought in eastern Costa Rica, and Cycas revoluta Thunb. (of the intimately related family Cycadaceae), an Asian sp. commonly planted as an ornamental.



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