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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XI, Number 4, October 2004

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

Alford, M. H. 2003. Claves para los géneros de Flacourtiaceae de Perú y del Nuevo Mundo. Arnaldoa 10(2): 19–38.

The two keys mentioned in the title are presented separately, in Spanish, are dichotomous but unindented, and pertain to Flacourtiaceae in the traditional, broad sense (and including Lacistemataceae). However, the author provides a detailed discussion of modern, molecular-based reclassifications of the group, together with a tabular summarization of the dispositions of all genera concerned according to four recent (post-1980) systems and a key to the five or six families distinguished in his own tentative (and still unpublished) system. For the record, these are: Berberidopsidaceae (monotypic, and absent from Costa Rica); Kiggelariaceae (Carpotroche, Chiangiodendron, Lindackeria, and Mayna); Lacistemataceae (Lacistema and Lozania); Salicaceae s. str. (with Macrohasseltia and Salix in Costa Rica); and Samydaceae (with Casearia, Laetia, Lunania, Ryania, Tetrathylacium, and Zuelania in Costa Rica). The author is as yet undecided on whether to recognize a family Flacourtiaceae s. str. or lump it in Salicaceae; in Costa Rica, the following genera suffer this condition of limbo: Abatia, Banara, Hasseltia, Hasseltiopsis, Homalium, Pleuranthodendron, and Prockia. The fate of the South African taxon Achariaceae s. str. in Alford’s classification is unclear to us. Illustrated with two composite color photographic plates portraying critical morphological features.

Almeda, F., A. Rodríguez G. & A. Garita M. 2004. Una nueva especie de Monochaetum (Melastomataceae) del Parque Internacional La Amistad, Costa Rica. Novon 14: 245–248.

Monochaetum vestitum Almeda, Alex. Rodr. & Garita is endemic to Costa Rica, where it is known only from the type locality, at ca. 2300 m elevation in Sabanas Dúrika, on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca. The new sp., illustrated by a composite line drawing, is most similar to the sympatric M. trichophyllum Almeda, of Costa Rica and Panama, from which it differs most significantly in its oblong-arcuate, distinctly muriculate seeds (vs. cochleate and smooth). Monochaetum vestitum was already included in the Manual draft treatment of Melastomataceae [see The Cutting Edge 10(3): 3, Jul. 2003], pending the formal publication now effected.

Alves, M., W. W. Thomas & M. das G. L. Wanderley. 2004. Lectotypifications in neotropical Hypolytrum Rich. (Cyperaceae). Taxon 53: 551–552.

These are perfunctory lectotypifications that do not appear to affect current usage. Hypolytrum amplum Poepp. & Kunth is the only name dealt with that pertains to a taxon occurring in Costa Rica.

Barrie, F. R. 2004. (1629) Proposal to conserve the name Myrtus fragrans (Myrtaceae) with a conserved type. Taxon 53: 569–570.

The name Myrtus fragrans Sw. was illegitimate when published by virtue of the citation in synonymy of the earlier Eugenia montana Aubl. Despite this, the combination Myrcianthes fragrans (Sw.) McVaugh was perpetrated in 1963 (even though McVaugh was aware of the illegitimacy of its basionym), and has since become universally accepted. Cirilo Nelson (TEFH) recently proposed the combination Myrcianthes montana (Aubl.) C. Nelson as a replacement name for the illegitimate M. fragrans [see The Cutting Edge 7(2): 11, Apr. 2000]; however, unbeknownst to Nelson (and to your editors, who followed Nelson in Vol. I of the Manual), the name Eugenia montana correctly applies to quite another sp., “consistently recognized as distinct…for at least 150 years,” presently known as Marlierea montana (Aubl.) Amshoff. Barrie feels that “nomenclatural stability is best served…by conservation of…Myrtus fragrans” (and the consequent salvation of Myrcianthes fragrans), failing which a new combination in Myrcianthes would be required, based on Eugenia punctata Vahl.

Barringer, K. 2004. A revision of Gibsoniothamnus L. O. Williams (Schlegeliaceae). Brittonia 56: 213–237.

This rarely encountered genus of mostly epiphytic, cloud-forest shrubs comprises 11 spp., ranging from southern Mexico to the Chocó region of Colombia. Eight of the spp. are restricted to Panama (according to this revision), or virtually so, while only Gibsoniothamnus epiphyticus (Standl.) L. O. Williams and G. parvifolius Barringer are here attributed to Costa Rica. This latter fact stands in stark contrast to the Manual draft treatment of Schlegeliaceae recently submitted by Francisco Morales [see The Cutting Edge 10(2): 3, Apr. 2003], which accounts for fully six spp. in the country. In addition to G. epiphyticus and G. parvifolius, Chico cites specimens identified as Gibsoniothamnus allenii A. H. Gentry and G. grandiflorus A. H. Gentry & Barringer (both Panamanian endemics, fide Barringer), G. pterocalyx A. H. Gentry (a synonym of G. epiphyticus, in Barringer’s latest view), and an undescribed sp. The specimen vouchering Chico’s undescribed sp. is the only one of these also cited by Barringer, who assigns it to G. epiphyticus. Includes full genus and sp. descriptions, a key to spp., summaries of distribution and phenology, comprehensive specimen citations (of the limited material seen), distribution maps, and excellent composite line drawings. Discussions of morphology, distribution, and relationships are found in the opening pages. No taxonomic novelties.

Bolmgren, K. & B. Oxelman. 2004. Generic limits in Rhamnus s. l. (Rhamnaceae) inferred from nuclear and chloroplast DNA sequence phylogenies. Taxon 53: 383–390.

Parsimony analysis of variation in both a chloroplast (trnL-F) and nuclear (ITS) DNA region provides support for the recognition of Frangula as a genus separate from Rhamnus, but not for several other occasional generic segregates. Frangula is a group of about 12 spp., most diverse in mountainous areas of the Neotropics, that differs from Rhamnus s. str. in its pinnately veined leaves with straight veins and 5-merous, bisexual flowers with erect, fleshy sepals, well-developed, short-clawed petals, and an included, unbranched style. At least two spp. occurring in Costa Rica, Rhamnus capreifolia Schltdl. and R. sphaerosperma Sw., are referable to Frangula (within which the indicated combinations are already available). N.B.: although generic recognition for Frangula is supported by this study, it is not mandated, as the last-mentioned taxon is sister to Rhamnus s. str.

Croat, T. B. & R. P. Wunderlin. 2004. New taxa of Homalomena (sect. Curmeria) from the Neotropics. Aroideana 27: 130–138.

Two new spp. and one new subsp. are validated in Homalomena sect. Curmeria (Linden & André) Engl. (Araceae), which harbors all the New World members of the genus. The only one of these novelties of interest to us is a new subsp. of Homalomena erythropus (Schott) Engl., which name was used rather speculatively in co-PI Mike Grayum’s Manual treatment of Araceae. Homalomena erythropus subsp. allenii Croat, ranging from Costa Rica to Pacific Colombia, is distinguished from the autonymic subsp. (restricted to the Amazon basin) in minor aspects of leaf texture and venation, as well as geographic distribution. Illustrated with excellent photographs of living specimens in cultivation.

Dean, E. A. 200. A taxonomic revision of Lycianthes series Meizonodontae (Solanaceae). Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 145: 385–424.

Lycianthes ser. Meizonodontae Bitter is distinctive in comprising perennial herbs with tuberous roots, in a genus consisting mostly of shrubs or lianas (sometimes epiphytic). This group of eight spp. ranges from Mexico to Costa Rica, with only Lycianthes acapulcensis (Baill.) D’Arcy represented in Tiquicia. The last-named spp., heretofore known to us under one of its synonyms (L. grandifrons Bitter), is rare in Costa Rica, where it is restricted to a few small areas at ca. 550–850 m elevation on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Tilarán and the Valle Central. Features a key to spp. (and a separate key to vars. for one sp.), full synonymy and typology, extensive sp. descriptions (but no formal description of the series), lengthy discussions of diagnostic features, comprehensive specimen citations, and numerous photos of both living material and exsiccatae. The introductory sections consider all aspects of morphology, pollinators, chromosome numbers, and sp. concept. One new sp. and two new vars. are described, none relevant to us.

Dressler, R. L. 2004. Una clave preliminar para las Trichopilia centroamericanas/A preliminary key to the species of Trichopilia in Mesoamerica. Orquideología 23: 35–48.

These indented, dichotomous keys to Mesoamerican (or is it Central American?) Trichopilia spp. (Orchidaceae) are annotated (in the Spanish version, but not the English) to indicate distribution by country, and supplemented with a semi-popular discussion of various problems in the group and two pages of exquisite color photos of living plants (mostly by the author’s wife). The unvouchered information embodied in the distribution annotations reveals no major discrepancies with the author’s recent (2003) Manual account of Orchidaceae, although Leucohyle subulata (Sw.) Schltr. is here included in Trichopilia.

Faria, A. P. G. de, T. Wendt & G. K. Brown. 2004. Cladistic relationships of Aechmea (Bromeliaceae, Bromelioideae) and allied genera. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 91: 303–319.

Cladistic analyses of morphological data (people are still doing that?) suggest that most of the subgenera of Aechmea are polyphyletic, thus refuting their recent elevation to generic rank (see, e.g., Smith and Kress, Phytologia 66: 70–79. 1989) and upholding the inclusive concept of Aechmea employed in Francisco Morales’s Manual treatment of Bromeliaceae. Several “allied genera,” including Billbergia and Ronnbergia (at least the non-Brazilian component), appear to be monophyletic. The cladogram depicts Aechmea itself as non-monophyletic, with all of the “allied genera” embedded; however, most of the branches have very low (<50%) bootstrap support.

Flores-Vindas, E. & G. Obando-Vargas. 2003. Árboles del trópico húmedo. Importancia socioeconómica. Edit. Tecnol. de Costa Rica, Cartago. 920 pp.

Árboles del trópico húmedo en Costa Rica would have been a more accurate title for this massive work, which deals only with Costa Rica and, moreover, almost exclusively with the timber band of the socioeconomic spectrum. The main body of the work consists of 125 heavily formatted, multiple-page entries for individual tree spp. (or, in some cases, genera or groups of spp., e.g., “Clethra spp.,” “Dalbergia spp.,” etc.), presented in strict alphabetical sequence according to Latin binomials. Each entry includes a composite line drawing, family disposition, protologue citation, vernacular and commercial (for wood) names, a distribution summary, a formal morphological description, detailed information on wood properties, notes (where appropriate), and a multicolored Holdridge Life-Zone map upon which are plotted known collection sites. Interestingly, numerous fairly obscure spp. are featured, e.g., Chloroleucon eurycyclum Barneby & J. W. Grimes (Fabaceae/Mimosoideae), Elaeoluma glabrescens (Mart. & Eichler) Aubrév. (Sapotaceae), and Sclerolobium costaricense N. Zamora & Poveda (Fabaceae/Caesalpinioideae). A relatively brief introductory part explains (and in some cases summarizes) the information provided in the sp. entries. Altitudinal and geographic distributions, as well as uses, are presented in tabular form at the end of the volume, together with a glossary, in loose association with a set of colored drawings depicting selected characters. This is a rich and taxonomically accurate source of information for anyone concerned with the conservation or management of timber spp. in Costa Rica or adjacent countries.

Hall, J. C., H. H. Iltis & K. J. Sytsma. 2004. Molecular phylogenetics of core Brassicales, placement of orphan genera Emblingia, Forchhammeria, Tirania, and character evolution. Syst. Bot. 29: 654–669.

The enigmatic Forchhammeria, with two spp. in Costa Rica, “should no longer be classified in Capparaceae,” but is instead more closely related to Resedaceae, confirming the results of a previous study by this same group [see The Cutting Edge 10(1): 6, Jan. 2003]. Still, no formal taxonomic changes are ventured. Familial status is upheld for Tovaria, which has occasionally been referred to Capparaceae.

Hammel, B. E., M. H. Grayum, C. Herrera & N. Zamora (eds.). 2004. Manual de plantas de Costa Rica. Vol. I. Introducción. Monogr. Syst. Bot. Missouri Bot. Gard. 97: 1–299.

You’d think these idiots could have managed one more lousy page! The first volume in this series (ordinally, if not chronologically) is wholly introductory, as the title implies, with no taxonomic treatments. The five main chapters (all written by the editors and associates) cover the history of botany and floristics in Costa Rica, the physical environment, vegetation, novelties, and the Manual format. Black-and-white photos are scattered throughout the book, portraying landscapes, plant spp., and (in the history chapter) important personalities. Some graphs and maps are presented, along with an eight-page insert of color photos. An extensive “literature cited” precedes an appendix indicating family affiliation for every genus mentioned in the text, and authority names for every sp. The preface and endpapers are the same as in previously published volumes [see The Cutting Edge 10(4): 7–8, Oct. 2003], but the acknowledgments have been somewhat expanded. The narrative portions of Vol. I are entirely bilingual, Spanish/English, with the Spanish text on the left (or whatever the technical term is) and the English on the right. One new combination is validated in a footnote (p. 121). Now we can get on with the dicots!

Kim, Y.-D., S.-H. Kim & L. R. Landrum. 2004. Taxonomic and phytogeographic implications from ITS phylogeny in Berberis (Berberidaceae). J. Pl. Res. 117: 175–182.

The cladograms here presented appear to offer additional support for Berberis s. l.—i.e., including the compound-leaved spp. often segregated as Mahonia. The latter group is depicted as paraphyletic with respect to Berberis s. str.

Königer, W. 2004. Oncidium; eine Monographie/A monograph. Verlag Helga Königer, München. 256 pp.

Warning: this is not a standard taxonomic monograph, but rather one of those para-taxonomic, coffee-table type contributions that are so frequent in Orchidaceae and some other horticulturally admired taxa. There is no generic description or substantive introductory material and no key to spp., nor are there any specimen citations or taxonomic novelties. This is nothing more than a compendium of lavish portrayals of every Oncidium sp. known to the author—60 in this volume, the first in a projected series of five. Each sp. entry comprises no less than four pages: a close-up color photo of a living flower, a composite line drawing of the entire plant, a detailed description and distribution summary in German, and an English version of same. An index to scientific names (including synonyms) is usefully presented at the end of the volume.

Krapovickas, A. 2003. Sida sección Distichifolia (Monteiro) Krapov. comb. nov., stat. nov. (Malvaceae-Malveae). Bonplandia 12: 83–121.

Although this is actually a fully realized taxonomic revision of this group of 15 spp., the title portrays it as a strictly nomenclatural contribution formalizing a change in status (from subsection to section). Perhaps that is why we overlooked this in the April Edge, where we reviewed an adjacent paper in the same issue. From our initial perusal, it is at once apparent that the author (based in Argentina) had very little Central American material of these generally abundant, weedy plants at his disposal. Although six spp. in sect. Distichifolia are broadly characterized as being widespread in “América” or “Centro América,” but a single Costa Rican specimen (of Sida hirsutissima Mill.) is cited (though not mapped!) in the entire article. Nonetheless, our records (evaluated by Manual co-PI Barry Hammel with reference to this paper) confirm that at least four other spp. in this group occur in Costa Rica: Sida cuspidata (A. Robyns) Krapov. comb. nov., S. glomerata Cav., S. jamaicensis L., and S. ulmifolia Mill. Of the six likely candidates, only Sida acuta Burm. f. has apparently not been collected in Costa Rica [see The Cutting Edge 11(3): 4, Jul. 2004], despite the fact that it has been one of the most widely (ab)used names in the genus. Includes a brief description of the section, a key to spp., synonymy at all levels, sp. descriptions and distribution summaries, comprehensive specimen citations, distribution maps, excellent composite line drawings of selected spp., drawings of mericarps of most spp., sections on dubious and excluded names, and indices to scientific names and exsiccatae. The introductory pages feature discussions of taxonomic history and geographic distribution. In addition to the two new combinations already indicated, two new spp. and one nomen novum (none relevant to Costa Rica) are validated.

Kuijt, J. 2003. Monograph of Phoradendron (Viscaceae). Syst. Bot. Monogr. 66: 1–643.

With apologies to Stevie Wonder, “Fulfillingness’s First Finale” might be an appropriate subtitle for this monumental work, which continues the extended flowering of a lifetime of research on parasitic angiosperms by venerated specialist Job Kuijt (UVIC). The exclusively neotropical Phoradendron is the largest and most important mistletoe genus in our hemisphere, with a total of 234 spp., 78 of which are here described as new. The Costa Rican share totals 26 spp., exactly twice as many as were explicitly attributed to the country in the 1983 Flora costaricensis treatment of Loranthaceae s. l. by William Burger (F) and Kuijt (Fieldiana, Bot. n. s., 13: 29–79). The recent Manual draft treatment of Viscaceae by Francisco Morales (INB) upped the Costa Rican ante to 19 Phoradendron spp., while incorporating many of the nomenclatural changes and new records here brought to light [see The Cutting Edge 8(2): 3–4, Apr. 2001]. The seven spp. added to Chico’s already daunting work-load are: the endemic Phoradendron acutifolium Kuijt sp. nov., from two disparate sites on the Caribbean slope; P. heredianum Kuijt sp. nov., based on a single collection from near Tirimbina, in the Sarapiquí lowlands; the widespread P. hexastichum (DC.) Griseb., with one Costa Rican specimen cited, from near Cariblanco in the Sarapiquí region; P. naviculare Kuijt nom. nov. (based on Dendrophthora guatemalensis Standl.), restricted to northern Mesoamerica, except for one collection from a remote site on the Caribbean slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca; the widespread P. obtusissimum (Miq.) Eichler and P. racemosum (Aubl.) Krug & Urb., each with one Costa Rican specimen cited, from Copey de Dota (on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca) and near Los Chiles, respectively; and P. seibertii (Trel.) Rizzini [cited as a synonym of P. quadrangulare (Kunth) Griseb. in Flora costaricensis], an erstwhile Panamanian endemic now known from several locations on both slopes of (guess again!) the Cordillera de Guanacaste. One of the synonyms of Phoradendron obtusissimum is P. acinacifolium Eichler, a name that was accepted in Flora costaricensis for a montane taxon later distinguished (in Chico’s draft and by Kuijt) as P. robaloense Woodson ex Rizzini; however, it now appears that the genuine article also occurs in Costa Rica. In addition to P. acutifolium and P. heredianum, three new sp. names used provisionally by Chico are here validated: Phoradendron burgeri Kuijt, P. planiphyllum Kuijt, and P. ravenii Kuijt. Two other names accepted by Chico must be replaced: Phoradendron dichotomum (Bertero ex Spreng.) Krug & Urb. (also used in Flora costaricensis) turns out to be superfluous and must be replaced by P. berteroanum (DC.) Griseb., while P. vernicosum Greenm. falls into synonymy under P. wattii Krug & Urb. Finally, at least two of the vouchers cited by Chico are identified differently in Kuijt’s monograph.

Features full synonymy and typology and adequate descriptions at all levels, five sp. keys (segregated according to major geographical regions), specimen citations (frequently representative, with the listings for very wide-ranging spp. shunted to an appendix), discussions of variable length, distribution maps and line drawings for all spp., a (lengthy!) section on doubtful and excluded names, a summary of infrageneric classifications, compilations of hyperparasitism records, vernacular names, and uses, and indices to exsiccatae and scientific names. The well-illustrated introductory section includes discussions of taxonomic history, morphology and anatomy, chromosome numbers, dispersal and germination, hybridization, hosts, physiology, distribution, and generic and infrageneric relationships. Particularly troubling is the relationship with Dendrophthora, distinguished by a single character involving the anthers (unilocular, vs. bilocular in Phoradendron), which are “minuscule” and “not even present on female plants.” Indeed, “the anthers of the majority of species in both genera have probably never been looked at.” The possibility is raised that “the anthers of some Phoradendron species have become unilocular,” and the overall situation is discussed in the light of recent and future molecular studies. The author confesses to having himself resorted to “intuition” on occasion, and allows that “no doubt some of my decisions are in error.” A prime example relevant to Costa Rica concerns the newly described Phoradendron planiphyllum, which “joins several other species of uncertain generic assignment.” Although its male flowers have been examined, the (“possibly immature”) anthers of P. planiphyllum are “not unequivocally unilocular or bilocular.” Should they prove to be unilocular, and the sp. “therefore to belong in Dendrophthora, then separation from Dendrophthora obliqua (Presl) Wiens…becomes difficult.” Imagine the dilemma for the man on the trail!

Li, J., C. Christophel, J. G. Conran & H.-W. Li. 2004. Phylogenetic relationships within the ‘core’ Laureae (Litsea complex, Lauraceae) inferred from sequences of the chloroplast gene matK and nuclear ribosomal DNA ITS regions. Pl. Syst. Evol. 246: 19–34.

Several genera, including Litsea (the only one occurring in Costa Rica), “were polyphyletic in all analyses,” and “there was no support for traditional generic characters such as 2- versus 4-celled anthers.” The latter point, especially, portends grave problems for the classification of Lauraceae in general, as characters such as the number and disposition of anther cells have been used (sometimes exclusively) to separate many large and well-known genera. As for Litsea itself, the sample size of this study was much too small to permit any definitive resolution, and neither the generic type (L. chinensis Lam.) nor the sole Costa Rican sp. (L. glaucescens Kunth) were included.

Luna, I. & H. Ochoterena. 2004. Phylogenetic relationships of the genera of Theaceae based on morphology. Cladistics 20: 223–270.

In contrast to recent molecular studies supporting the segregation of Ternstroemiaceae from Theaceae [see, e.g., The Cutting Edge 9(3): 4, Jul. 2002], this morphological analysis suggests that Theaceae s. str. (with only Gordonia in Costa Rica) is paraphyletic with respect to Ternstroemiaceae, and concludes that a single family should be recognized. However, in agreement with molecular work, certain other taxa that have occasionally been referred to Theaceae are here excluded, e.g., Pelliciera (Pellicieraceae), which occurs in a sister-group relationship with Tetrameristaceae.

Malécot, V., D. L. Nickrent, P. Baas, L. van den Oever & D. Lobreau-Callen. 2004. A morphological cladistic analysis of Olacaceae. Syst. Bot. 29: 569–586.

This analysis of 80 characters, involving all 28 genera of Olacaceae plus 26 selected genera from five other santalalean families, concurs with several previous studies in suggesting “a paraphyletic or polyphyletic Olacaceae.” However, some details remain unresolved, and formal reclassification of the family is withheld pending the publication of (apparently) ongoing molecular analyses.

Michelangeli, F. A., D. S. Penneys, J. Giza, D. Soltis, M. H. Hils & J. D. Skean, Jr. 2004. A preliminary phylogeny of the tribe Miconieae (Melastomataceae) based on nrITS sequence data and its implications on inflorescence position. Taxon 53: 279–290.

Miconieae DC., characterized by partially to totally inferior ovaries and baccate fruits, is the most diverse tribe of Melastomataceae, with 30 genera and over 2200 spp. Moreover, with such sp.-rich genera as Clidemia, Conostegia, Leandra, Miconia, Ossaea, and Tococa, tribe Miconieae is almost singlehandedly responsible for the reputation of Melastomataceae as one of the paramount families of understory shrubs in primary wet forests of the Neotropics. Ecologists will thus be particularly unhappy to learn that the integrity of nearly all of these well-known genera is now threatened, with sweeping nomenclatural changes on the distant horizon that may dwarf (in their impact to neotropical biology) those impending for Acacia. The beginning of the end dates back nearly 20 years, to Walter S. Judd’s studies on the variation of inflorescence position, an important diagnostic character in the group (Brittonia 38: 150–161. 1986). This, and subsequent contributions by Judd and colleagues, suggested that the generic classification of Miconieae might be highly artificial. The present paper finds the tribe itself to be nearly monophyletic, with only Bellucia, Henriettea, Henriettella, and Loreya segregated in a distant clade. At the generic level, however, chaos reigns supreme: Miconia is paraphyletic to all the other genera (as well as polyphyletic), and all the latter are polyphyletic, with the exception of Conostegia (possibly) and Maieta (which is nested in Clidemia). Among those melastome genera extrinsic to Miconieae s. str. that were included in the study, Henriettella and Meriania also emerge as polyphyletic. The authors postpone taxonomic changes that “might be inevitable in the future,” pending more extensive sampling of taxa.

Moran, R. C. 2004. A natural history of ferns. Timber Press, Portland, OR. 301 pp.

Our good friend and Manual correspondent Robbin Moran (NY) is a rare breed indeed: a tropical botanist, highly respected among his peers, whose prolific field and laboratory work is complemented with an ability to write vivid and absorbing prose of a non-technical nature. All of Robbin’s talents are abundantly evidenced in his newest book, a concise and elegantly rendered treasure trove of fern biology and lore. The book comprises six chapters, as follows: “ The life cycle of ferns,” “Classification of ferns,” “Fern fossils,” “Adaptations by ferns,” “Fern geography,” and “Ferns and people.” Each chapter is subdivided into a varying number (four to seven) of vignettes, carefully selected to illuminate significant aspects of the subject at hand in an interesting and instructive manner. Robbin’s narrative, personal as well as personable, is colorfully informed by his field experiences throughout the world (including Costa Rica, where he has long served as an instructor on OTS courses); however, there is no gratuitous dropping of place-names, as several countries in which Robbin has worked extensively (e.g., Honduras and Peru) are not so much as mentioned. The many illustrations include both black-and-white and color photos, line drawings, maps, and graphs, and the volume closes with a glossary, bibliography, and index. Highly recommended reading for anyone with an interest in ferns or plants in general, from novices to professionals. Clearly, this was a labor of love.

--, S. Klimas & M. Carlsen. 2003. Low-trunk epiphytic ferns on tree ferns versus angiosperms in Costa Rica. Biotropica 35: 48–56.

Field studies at four geographically and ecologically disparate sites in Costa Rica reveal that epiphytic ferns are more abundant on tree-fern trunks than on angiosperm trunks of similar diameter, and are represented there by significantly more spp. (average 3–5, vs. 1–2). Whereas no epiphytic fern spp. showed a clear preference for angiosperm trunks (but see two entries hence!), 11 spp. (of the total of 106 at all four sites) occurred more frequently on tree-fern trunks, seven of these exclusively. The authors postulate that the coarse root-mantle of tree-fern trunks possesses both physical and chemical properties favorable to the establishment of epiphytic fern prothalli and the attachment of their sporophytes; however, they could not exclude the possibility that the tree ferns sampled were simply much older, on average, than the angiosperms, hence with more time to accrue a lusher and more diverse epiphyte community.

-- J. T. Mickel. 2004. Three new neotropical species of Elaphoglossum (Elaphoglossaceae) with subulate scales. Brittonia 56: 200–204.

Just one of these new spp. is from Costa Rica, that being Elaphoglossum minutissimum R. C. Moran & Mickel. This novelty is proclaimed as “the world’s smallest species of Elaphoglossum,” a remarkable fact on two accounts: first, because Elaphoglossum is a pantropical genus with “c. 400” spp., fide The plant-book (but with perhaps a third that number in Costa Rica alone); second, because the type (and only known) locality is along a route (San Ramón to Bajo Rodríguez) that has been heavily and continuously botanized since the heyday of Alberto Brenes (and even before that, by A. R. Endres). Perhaps this latter circumstance only serves to underscore the diminutive stature of this new sp., as well as the perspicacity of its discoverer (the first author), who detected it growing among mosses on a vertical cliff face along the Río Cataratas, at ca. 750 m elevation. In addition to its tininess (sterile leaf-blades mostly 1–3 cm long), Elaphoglossum minutissimum is distinguished from E. piloselloides (C. Presl) T. Moore and other close relatives by various morphological details. Illustrated with a composite line drawing.

-- R. V. Russell. 2004. The occurrence of Trichomanes godmanii (Hymenophyllaceae) on Welfia georgii (Arecaceae) at the La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica. Amer. Fern J. 94: 70–76.

Field studies at the Estación Biológica La Selva establish that the small, thalloid, epiphytic fern Trichomanes godmanii Hook. shows a statistically significant preference for the trunks of the locally abundant subcanopy palm Welfia georgii H. Wendl. ex Burret (now more generally known as W. regia Mast.) over trunks of dicotyledonous trees of similar diameter. Not only is T. godmanii more frequent on Welfia trunks, it is also more abundant, forming exceedingly dense colonies. These findings confirm, in a general way, earlier anecdotal reports of T. godmanii favoring Welfia trunks at La Selva; however, the possibility of a preference for palm trunks in general was not considered. The authors discuss various hypothetical explanations for this instance of host-specificity, a rare phenomenon among epiphytic ferns.

-- J. E. Watkins Jr. 2004. Lomariopsis ×farrarii: a new hybrid fern between L. japurensis and L. vestita (Lomariopsidaceae) from Costa Rica. Brittonia 56: 205–209.

Hybridization involving Lomariopsis japurensis (Mart.) J. Sm. and L. vestita E. Fourn., both reasonably common spp. on the Atlantic coastal plain of Costa Rica, had been suspected by the first author on the basis of an old herbarium collection from near Puerto Limón. His notion was confirmed by the recent discovery (by both authors) of a single individual, at the Estación Biológica La Selva, convincingly characterized as intermediate between its putative parent spp. in numerous morphological aspects, both qualitative and quantitative (e.g., pinnae 14–18, vs. 8–12 in L. japurensis and 20–35 in L. vestita). The evidence is documented with black-and-white photos and xerographic illustrations. Because the hybrid plant was sterile, spore development could not be assessed. This incidence of hybridization is of particular interest in that Lomariopsis japurensis and L. vestita had been assigned to different subgroups of their genus in the first author’s recent revision [see The Cutting Edge 7(2): 10–11, Apr. 2000]. The new hybrid is christened as Lomariopsis ×farrarii R. C. Moran & J. E. Watkins, on the persuasively argued notion that binomials are more stable than formula names.

Morrone, O., S. S. Denham & F. O. Zuloaga. 2004. Revisión taxonómica del género Paspalum grupo Eriantha (Poaceae, Panicoideae, Paniceae). Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 91: 225–246.

The latest salvo in the authors’ serial assault on Paspalum [see The Cutting Edge 9(4): 6, Oct. 2003] targets this group (not accorded formal recognition by the authors) of five spp., widely distributed throughout the continental regions of the Neotropics. Paspalum erianthum Nees ex Trin. is the only sp. extending beyond South America, with collections cited here from southern Mexico (Oaxaca), Honduras, and Nicaragua. A Costa Rican record of P. erianthum cited in Francisco Morales’s Manual treatment of Poaceae (and, indeed, in Flora mesoamericana Vol. 6) is not considered here. Features a key to distinguish the Eriantha group from related taxa in Paspalum, a formal description of the group, a kep to spp., and generous sp. accounts including full synonymy and typology, lengthy descriptions and discussions, comprehensive specimen citations, distribution maps, and superb composite line drawings. History, morphology, distribution, and relationships are addressed in the opening pages, and an index to exsiccatae terminates the paper.

Pozner, R. 2004. A new species of Echinopepon from Argentina and taxonomic notes on the subtribe Cyclantherinae (Cucurbitaceae). Syst. Bot. 29: 599–608.

A supplementary key provides numerous characters distinguishing Cyclanthera and Rytidostylis, both represented in Costa Rica.

Ranker, T. A., A. R. Smith, B. S. Parris, J. M. O. Geiger, C. H. Haufler, S. C. K. Straub & H. Schneider. 2004. Phylogeny and evolution of grammitid ferns (Grammitidaceae): a case of rampant morphological homoplasy. Taxon 53: 415–428.

Cladistic analyses of sequences from two cpDNA genes and of morphological characters reveals that several segregate genera of Grammitis s. l. are not monophyletic; among these are Grammitis s. str., Lellingeria, Micropolypodium, and Terpsichore. On the other hand, several other Grammitis segregates, including Ceradenia, Cochlidium, Enterosora, and Melpomene, were indeed strongly supported as monophyletic. Although the authors forego revisionary changes in lieu of more extensive sampling, they affirm that the monophyletic genera “should continue to be recognized taxonomically.” Perhaps, but at what rank? Considering the paucity (or absence) of morphological synapomorphies for these taxa (as enumerated by the authors), together with the recent proposal (involving several of these same authors) that Grammitidaceae be absorbed into Polypodiaceae [see The Cutting Edge 11(3): 12, Jul. 2004], the reconstitution of the traditional Grammitis s. l. (incorporating all of these technical segregates) must now be regarded as one of the more sensible classificatory options.

Rico, M. de L. 2004. Pithecellobium campylacanthus M. Sousa & L. Rico (Leguminosae: Mimosoideae), a spelling correction. Kew Bull. 59: 167.

Pithecellobium campylacanthus L. Rico & M. Sousa (the title has it backwards!), applying to a sp. only recently found in Costa Rica [see The Cutting Edge 8(2): 5, Apr. 2001], was originally so spelled, but (according to sp. co-author Lourdes Rico) the epithet ought to have agreed in gender with the genus name, i.e., campylacanthum. In validating the combination Havardia campylacanthus (L. Rico & M. Sousa) Barneby & J. W. Grimes, the extraparenthetical authors commented that the original epithet “appears to be a noun in apposition and is so retained.” Here, Rico confirms her preference for an adjectival epithet, and formally emends the foregoing spellings to Pithecellobium campylacanthum and Havardia campylacantha. Our postscript: even as a noun in apposition, the ending -acanthus would appear to be incorrect; according to Botanical Latin, the Greek word for “spine” or “thorn” is feminine, “Acantha.” Thus, a spelling change is mandated here, regardless of the author’s preferences, and campylacantha must be correct (in Havardia) under any scenario.

Starr, J. R., S. A. Harris & D. A. Simpson. 2004. Phylogeny of the unispicate taxa in Cyperaceae tribe Cariceae I: generic relationships and evolutionary scenarios. Syst. Bot. 29: 528–544.

Analyses of ribosomal DNA internal and external transcribed spacer sequences indicate that Carex is artificial, with certain androgynous, unispicate spp. grouping with Uncinia (and a few other genera). This would mean that closed perigynia must have evolved more than once in the group. A paper in press from the same lab “will examine the limits and infrageneric classification of Uncinia” (the inclusion of which in Carex has occasionally been suggested).

Stefanović, S. & R. G. Olmstead. 2004. Testing the phylogenetic position of a parasitic plant (Cuscuta, Convolvulaceae, Asteridae): Bayesian inference and the parametric bootstrap on data drawn from three genomes. Syst. Biol. 53: 384–399.

Lots of fancy talk, but for us it boils down to this: phylogenetic analysis of several chloroplast, mitochondrial, and nuclear genes places Cuscuta firmly within Convolvulaceae, with at least two nonparasitic lineages diverging before it. However, the exact sister-group relationship of Cuscuta could not be recovered, prompting the authors to remark on “the magnitude of the problem in inferring phylogenetic relationships of parasitic taxa,” even with “relatively large amounts of data.”

Struwe, L. & V. A. Albert. 2004. A monograph of neotropical Potalia Aublet (Gentianaceae: Potalieae). Syst. Bot. 29: 670–701.

The exclusively neotropical genus Potalia, long assigned to Loganiaceae and treated as monospecific (with only P. amara Aubl.), is lately regarded as a member in good standing of Gentianaceae now comprising nine spp. (including seven here described as new). Potalia amara s. str. is restricted to the Guianas and northeastern Brazil, while Central American material formerly so identified will henceforth be known as P. turbinata Struwe & V. A. Albert. The latter sp.—a seldom-seen understory shrub or treelet with large, oblanceolate leaves—occurs only in lowland forests on the Atlantic slope of Costa Rica and westernmost Panama. Features exhaustive genus and sp. descriptions, a key to spp., summaries of distribution and phenology, notes, representative specimen citations (even for new spp.!), and superb composite line drawings. The introductory part includes distribution maps and an account of taxonomic history, while discussions of morphology, phylogeny, pollination and dispersal, and ethnobotany and phytochemistry are deferred to the end of the paper.

Tejero-Díez, J. D. & L. Pacheco. 2004. Taxa nuevos, nomenclatura, redefinición y distribución de las especies relacionadas con Polypodium colpodes Kunze (Polypodiaceae, Pteridophyta). Acta Bot. Mex. 67: 75–115.

The sp. group referenced in the title is here taken to embrace five spp., including two that reach Costa Rica: Polypodium colpodes Kunze and P. flagellare H. Christ. While neither concept is foreign to us, one of the names is: Polypodium colpodes, long-forgotten, never-used, and based on a lost holotype, is dusted off, lectotypified, and trotted out to supplant the relatively recent (but by now well-entrenched) P. fuscopetiolatum A. R. Sm. for a much-collected sp. that ranges from northern Mexico to Colombia. Costa Rica is home to the autonymic var. of P. colpodes, as well as the nearly endemic P. c. var. oligomeron (H. Christ) Tejero, comb. nov. (based on P. loriceum L. var. oligomeron H. Christ), otherwise known by a single collection each from Honduras and Panama; a third var., P. colpodes var. venezuelense Tejero, var. nov., extends the range of the sp. to Venezuela, French Guiana, and the Greater Antilles. Standard features of this revision include a combined key to spp. and vars., full synonymy and typology, generous sp. and var. descriptions, comprehensive specimen citations, habitat and distribution summaries, often lengthy discussions, and color(!) photos of herbarium specimens. The single new sp. and another comb. nov. at the var. level do not concern us.

Walker, J. B., K. J. Sytsma, J. Treutlein & M. Wink. 2004. Salvia (Lamiaceae) is not monophyletic: implications for the systematics, radiation, and ecological specializations of Salvia and tribe Mentheae. Amer. J. Bot. 91: 1115–1125.

The cosmopolitan Salvia, with over 900 spp., is the largest genus in Lamiaceae, and of course it isn’t monophyletic (was there ever a doubt?). This preliminary analysis, using the chloroplast DNA regions rbcL and trnL-F, indicates that the spp. of Salvia s. l. are found in at least two distinct clades. The clade including the generic type (S. officinalis L.), as well as numerous other Old World and a handful of New World spp., is sister to a clade containing the Eurasian genera Perovskia and Rosmarinus. The second major clade is exclusively New World, comprising Salvia subgen. Calosphace and sect. Audibertia (a possible third clade contains only East Asian spp.). The authors discuss various classificatory options, the most sensible of which (in our view) would result in all but eight of the ca. 530 New World Salvia spp. being transferred to new genera. Under this scenario, Audibertia Benth. (virtually restricted to the California Floristic Province) and Calosphace (Benth.) Raf. (widespread throughout the New World) would likely each achieve generic rank. We gather that all of the Salvia spp. occurring naturally in Costa Rica would probably wind up in Calosphace, but can be certain only of those that were included in this study, viz., S. coccinea Buc’hoz ex Etl., S. misella Kunth, S. polystachya Ortega, and S. tiliifolia Vahl. Another option would retain all of these spp. in Salvia, but require the sinking of Perovskia and Rosmarinus, and quite possibly other, much more significant genera such as Mentha, Origanum, and Thymus (all with priority equal to that of Salvia). Naturally, the authors “believe it is premature to present any taxonomic rearrangements before [they] have completed sampling across the diversity of Salvia and related genera.”


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