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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 XVI, Number 4,October 2009

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

BURMANNIACEAE.  Burmannia capitata (Walter ex J. F. Gmel.) Mart. and B. flava Mart., recorded in the Manual as restricted to disparate regions of Costa Rica (the llanuras de Guanacaste and southern Valle de El General, respectively), have now been found growing together at a geographically intermediate site, Cerro Rayos (see under “News and Notes”), in such close association that we at first thought the former to be flowering material of the latter.  Their respective vouchers are Hammel et al. 25430 and 25431.

DROSERACEAE.  Is there a thrill more exquisite than finding something predictable, but at the same time not really thought probable?  Well, yes, but virtually stumbling over Drosera cf. cayennensis Sagot ex Diels on the presently moist slopes of the savannas at Cerro Rayos (see under “News and Notes”) registers right near the top on the scale of purely botanical thrills.  This material (Hammel et al. 25428) differs from the only other Costa Rican Drosera sp. (treated as “sp. A” in Jorge’s Manual draft), and likewise from the very widespread D. capillaris Poir., by the number of flowers per inflorescence, the nature of the pubescence of the peduncles and sepals, and seed ornamentation.  The genus was previously known in Costa Rica only from the Sabanas Esperanza, in the Valle de Coto Brus [see The Cutting Edge 3(4): 3, Oct. 1996].  Costa Rica is virtually the only Central American country where the real Drosera capillaris has yet to be found.

FUMARIACEAE.  A collection (J. Vásquez 102) of the Old World weedy herb Fumaria officinalis L. from the intensively cultivated southwestern slope of Volcán Irazú (see under “News and Notes”) was recently brought to Manual collaborator Jorge Gómez-Laurito (USJ) by Universidad de Costa Rica student Jefrey Vásquez.  As this represented a new family for Costa Rica falling within the alphabetical purview of our impending Vol. 5, quick work was required by Jorge and coauthor Eduardo Chacón:  lo, a full treatment of Fumariaceae already delivered, revised, and officially sealed!  Thanks also and a tip o’ the hat to Jefrey, who later led Hammel and wife Isabel Pérez directly to the small vegetable plot where his discovery had been made.  We found it again, still in flower, as an “abundant little weed” at the edge of the plot, and took the photos needed for our family heading.  N.B.:  we’d have been happy to follow the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group and subsume Fumariaceae within Papaveraceae, but the latter family has already been dispatched for the Manual, and we’re hell-bent to squeeze this record in by whatever ruse necessary!

HYPOXIDACEAE.  A sterile specimen (Hammel et al. 25397) with leaf sheaths leaving fibers at the summit of the corms from (you guessed it) a rocky savanna at Cerro Rayos seems most likely to be the rarely collected Hypoxis humilis Kunth, otherwise known in Costa Rica only from the Guanacaste lowlands.

IRIDACEAE.  Cipura campanulata Ravenna (Hammel et al. 25395) can also be added to the list of Cerro Rayos plants otherwise known only from the Guanacaste lowlands.

MELASTOMATACEAE.  Up till now, the peculiar, epiphytic genus Monolena has been known from Costa Rica by a single population of M. primuliflora Hook. f. in a remote canyon on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca. But just this month, Manual co-PI Barry Hammel, acting on a tip from amateur plant enthusiast and Puerto Quepos resident Jeff Anderson, made the first botanical collection of the genus from the Pacific slope of Costa Rica. This new population, identified tentatively as M. grandiloba R. H. Warner (jump to “Season’s Pick” for more details), was discovered in the very wet front range of the Cordillera de Talamanca in the vicinity of Quepos.

POACEAE.  A collection made by Manual co-PI Mike Grayum (#12453)on the flanks of Cerro Caraigres, on the Pacific slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca, has been determined by INB volunteer botanist Ted Bradley as Aristida schiedeana Trin. & Rupr., which had appeared to be another of the many spp. that “skips” Costa Rica (in this case, from the southwestern United States to northern Nicaragua, thence from Ecuador to Bolivia).  The Cerro Caraigres region has long been known to us as a mother lode for disjuncts of this nature.  And another in-country disjunction from Cerro Rayos (see under “News and Notes”):  the savanna grass Leptocoryphium lanatum (Kunth) Nees [AKA Anthaenantia lanata (Kunth) Benth.], vouchered by Santamaría et al. 8003; previously it was known from both the Guanacaste region and the slopes adjacent to the Valles de El General and Coto Brus.

RUBIACEAE.  Manual family contributor Charlotte Taylor (MO) reports several additions to the Costa Rican flora as a result of her July visit (see under “News and Notes”).  Faramea lehmannii Standl., previously known only from Colombia and eastern Panama, has turned up on the Atlantic slope of the northern Cordillera de Talamanca in Costa Rica (G. Herrera & Oliver 8271).  This sp. has sometimes been included in the otherwise strictly South American F. torquata Müll. Arg., but Charlotte adduces several good reasons for maintaining it as separate.  From 500 m elevation on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Guanacaste hails the first bonafide Costa Rican collection of Guettarda combsii Urb. (Rivera 1493), otherwise known from southern Mexico to southeastern Nicaragua and Cuba.  Finally, Spermacoce tonalensis (Brandegee) Govaerts, previously recorded from southern Mexico (Chiapas) to northern Nicaragua and (disjunctly) Argentina, has turned up in Zona Protectora El Rodeo, on the Pacific slope of the Valle Central at 500–600 m elevation (Kriebel & Larraguivel 3777, INB).

SOLANACEAE.  Encountered in a large batch of specimens recently returned to MO on loan from BM was a peculiar, vining Solanum with pinnate leaves, the likes of which we had never seen before.  Good reason, as it has been determined by family specialist Sandy Knapp (BM) as Solanum pentaphyllum Bitter, previously known (as far as we can tell) only from Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil.  Fittingly, the collection (Haber & Zuchowski 9863) was made in the “British Children’s Rainforest,” at 1000–1200 m elevation on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Tilarán in the Monteverde Reserve.

ULMACEAE.  Two sterile collections, made on the same day in 1993 at Parque Nacional Carara during one of the late Alwyn H. Gentry’s transect sessions, have been now identified as Ampelocera macphersonii Todzia (otherwise known from Panama to Peru and Venezuela).  This is the third sp. of Ampelocera for Costa Rica, and the second addition in less than a year [see The Cutting Edge 16(1): 2, Jan. 2009].



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