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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XVIII, Number 4, October 2011

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

ANNONACEAE. A collection (G. Herrera & A. Chacón 2691, INB) discussed under Unonopsis costaricensis R. E. Fr. in a recent revision [see The Cutting Edge 15(2): 7, Apr. 2008] as perhaps representing an undescribed sp. has been determined by Manual Annonaceae collaborators George Schatz (MO) and Nelson Zamora (INB) as U. cauliflora Maas & Westra (validated in the same revision on the basis of Colombian material). Although their determination is tentative, the two Manual specialists would rather treat this distinctive entity as a range extension of the latter sp. (with leaf blades at the lower end of the size range) than bury it within the discussion of the former—to which, they say, it bears little resemblance in any case (partly, but not exclusively, due to its manifest cauliflory).

ARACEAE. A new population of the Costa Rican endemic Syngonium wendlandii Schott has been discovered by Reinaldo Aguilar near Puerto Jiménez, on the Península de Osa. We were easily able to verify the identification from Reinaldo’s excellent photos. He reports that the sp. is locally common growing on trees in pastures dominated by Erythrina fusca Lour. (Fabaceae). As far as we know, S. wendlandii has never been found growing wild south of the Carara vicinity; all of its other stations are in a small sector of the central Pacific slope, mainly in the basin of the Río Grande de Tárcoles and often in relatively dry (“bosque húmedo”) habitats. Interestingly, Puerto Jiménez is located in a slice of “bosque húmedo” along the east side of the Península de Osa. Reinaldo encourages botanical collectors to look twice at seemingly familiar plants before passing them by: what you think you know at first glance may prove to be something quite different when viewed more closely.

FABACEAE. Not until every single large tree has been sampled can the flora of the Estación Biológica La Selva be considered adequately known! That has been our mantra for several decades now, and continued exploration on the property has only served to strengthen the argument. A specimen collected from a 40 m tree growing in a still poorly inventoried corner of La Selva (LEP 1650) by Enrique Salicetti (#395) has proven to represent Ormosia subsimplex Spruce ex Benth., which becomes the latest addition to the flora of the reserve. According to its known distribution in Costa Rica (as summarized in the Manual Fabaceae treatment by co-PI Nelson Zamora), this sp. was to have been expected in the La Selva vicinity. We are much obliged to José González (LSCR) for this report (and, we presume, the identification).

MARSILEACEAE. Reinaldo Aguilar sends us photos of another of his collections, from near the same place that he found Syngonium wendlandii (see this column under “Araceae”), that can readily be identified as Marsilea polycarpa Hook. & Grev. This is a very rare sp. in Costa Rica, whence it is known to us by just three prior collections. One of these is sterile, and dubiously determined, and none is from further south than the Tivives region. Certainly this is the first record of the sp. from the Península de Osa, where Reinaldo found it growing in a pond surrounded by pasture.

MYRTACEAE. INB firebrand Daniel Santamaría has apparently been focusing on this family of late, as evidenced by the two reports that follow [see also this column, under "Myrtaceae," in The Cutting Edge 18(2), Apr. 2011]. Using the Manual, Daniel was unable to identify a mystery Myrcia he had collected in the Atlantic foothills of the Cordillera Central. Turning to Flora mesoamericana, he arrived at M. magnoliifolia DC., a sp. otherwise reported only from Panama and South America. However, to his surprise, Daniel discovered a previous Costa Rican record for M. magnoliifolia in TROPICOS, A. Rodríguez & Ramírez 4493, a sterile specimen collected at 100 m on the Llanura de San Carlos. Although the latter specimen was determined in 2004 by the authors of both the Flora mesoamericana and Manual Myrcia treatments, the sp. in question was not attributed to Costa Rica in either work. According to Daniel, M. magnoliifolia will key to Myrcia sp. A in the Manual treatment; it differs from that entity by its longer petioles and leaf-blades. Daniel reports a similar experience with Syzygium grande (Wight) Walp., an Old World native that is occasionally cultivated elsewhere in the tropics. The Costa Rican specimen Fco. Quesada 862 (F, INB), cultivated at Golfito, was identified in 2005 (according to TROPICOS) by the author of both the Flora mesoamericana and Manual treatments, yet eluded capture by both publications. This sp. would not have been treated in full in the Manual, merely mentioned in the genus discussion.

ROSACEAE. A collection (L. D. Vargas 4287, INB) from 2722 m near Tierra Blanca, on the southwest (Atlantic) slope of Volcán Irazú above Cartago, has been determined by INB volunteer Ted Bradley as Duchesnea indica (Andrews) Focke. This Old World adventive, resembling a strawberry (Fragaria sp.) with yellow petals, is a familiar weed in North America, so Ted—a retired botany professor from George Mason University in Virginia—had no trouble recognizing it. For good measure, his determination was seconded, on the basis of a photo of the specimen, by Fred Barrie (MO), author of the yet-to-be-published Flora mesoamericana Rosaceae manuscript, wherein the sp. in question will be treated (in accordance with recent molecular evidence) as Potentilla indica (Andrews) Th. Wolf. We expect that Francisco Morales’s (INB) Manual treatment of Rosaceae (currently being edited for our next volume) will follow suit. We believe this to be the first collection of P. indica from anywhere between Guatemala and Colombia. Nevertheless, from past examples reported in these pages (most recently that of Fumaria officinalis L.), our readers will probably not be surprised by the discovery. As Manual co-PI Barry Hammel recently stated: “One sort of dreads a thorough inventory of the slopes of V. Irazú; the entire Indo-European weed flora lies waiting there.” Incidentally, the first Costa Rican collection of Potentilla indica had been misdetermined as Ranunculus repens L. (Ranunculaceae), rather an understandable error.


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