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Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica

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The Cutting Edge

Volume XX, Number 4, October 2013

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

Al-Shehbaz, I. A. 2013. A revision of the Central American genus Romanschulzia (Brassicaceae). Harvard Pap. Bot. 18: 1–12.

Romanschulzia comprises 14 spp. (according to this account) of herbs and subshrubs distributed from northern Mexico to western Panama, generally at elevations of 1800 m and higher. The genus is noteworthy for its “massive production of flowers,” the staminal filaments of which are “considerably dilated at the base” and surrouned by confluent nectaries “far more developed…than in any other genus of the Brassicaceae.” Ten of the spp. are Mexican endemics, while two are restricted to Guatemala and two others occur in Costa Rica (one of the latter extending into westernmost Panama). There are no significant changes for Costa Rica: Romanschulzia apetala Rollins is our endemic, while (ironically) R. costaricensis (Standl.) Rollins verges into Panama. This treatment, by Manual Brassicaceae contributor Ihsan Al-Shehbaz (MO), is rather synoptic in nature (the sp. entries may lack discussions, the specimen citations are evidently representative, and there are no indices or illustrations), but boasts most of the features of a standard revision (full synonymy and typology, technical descriptions of the genus and all spp., and a key to spp.). The brief introduction recounts taxonomic history and characterizes the genus morpologically.

Angulo, D. F., R. Duno de Stefano & G. W. Stull. 2013. Systematics of Mappia (Icacinaceae), an endemic genus of tropical America. Phytotaxa 116: 1–18.

The small genus Mappia, with four spp. recognized by these authors (vs. five in the last revision), is even more restricted geographically than suggested in the title: two of its spp. are narrowly endemic in Mexico, a third is widespread in the Mesoamerican region, and the last occupies the Greater Antilles. The widespread Mesoamerican sp., Mappia multiflora Lundell, obviously the only one of interest to us, has been collected just one time in Costa Rica (from Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio). The Manual Icacinaceae treatment by co-PI Barry Hammel (MO) employed the name Mappia racemosa Jacq. for our material, citing a geographic range that included the Greater Antilles. However, these authors have separated out the Antillean material (rather tenuously, it appears), and along with it goes the name M. racemosa. As Barry put it, “las cinco spp. de Mappia son todas muy parecidas,” and this contribution does nothing to dispel that notion. Includes synonymy and typology, technical descriptions, and distribution summaries for both the genus and spp., a key to spp., a distribution map, and comprehensive specimen citations. Two of the spp. (including M. multiflora) are depicted in composite line drawings. The introduction briefly addresses taxonomic history and (much more extensively) phylogeny, including phylogenetic analyses (separately and combined) of both morphological and molecular data.

Archila, F., G. R. Chiron & D. Szlachetko. 2013. Additions dans le genre Teuscheria (Orchidaceae, Bifrenariinae). Richardiana 13: 257–266.

Three new spp. of Teuscheria are described, of which only T. archilae Chiron & Szlachetko is attributed to Costa Rica. However, although it is alleged in the text to be distributed from Mexico to Panama, no actual specimens of T. archilae are cited, apart from the Guatemalan type. We gather that this novelty does not involve an addition to the Costa Rican flora; rather, the name Teuscheria archilae replaces T. pickiana (Schltr.) Garay for Mesoamerican material that has been passing (as in the Manual) under the latter name (now restricted to Colombia, whence its type). That is, assuming that T. archilae is validly published here (two herbaria are specified for the holotype, rather than the “single herbarium” required by ICN Art. 40.7). Includes line drawings of floral details of all three new spp. (plus T. pickiana), black-and-white photos of living flowers of two spp. (not including T. archilae), and a a dichotomous (though non-indented) key to the six spp. of Teuscheria with resupinate flowers accepted by these authors (revealing that T. archilae is separated from T. pickiana by the usual labellar details).

Bogarín, D., A. P. Karremans, R. Rincón & B. Gravendeel. 2013. A new Specklinia (Orchidaceae: Pleurothallidinae) from Costa Rica and Panama. Phytotaxa 115: 31–41.

The ridiculously named Specklinia absurda Bogarín, Karremans & Rincón hails from the eastern Cordillera de Talamanca, in the Costa Rica-Panama border region, where it has been collected (need we belabor the point?) only by the authors and their crew, at ca. 2400–2600 m elevation in the neighborhood of the Continental Divide (apparently on both slopes). The epithet alludes “to the floral morphology, especially the lip, which seems exceptional when compared to its closest relatives.” Among the most similar spp. (and the only one mentioned that is recorded from Costa Rica) is Specklinia turrialbae (Luer) Luer (i.e., Pleurothallis turrialbae Luer of the Manual), which is compared with the new sp. (together with two other spp.) in a table. Features a phylogenetic analysis of molecular data, a distribution map, and an excellent composite line drawing of the new sp., plus color photos and SEM images.

Braun, U. & B. Heuchert. 2013. D. F. K. von Schlechtendal’s examination of Arenaria and Stellaria species in C. L. von Willdenow’s herbarium published in 1816 – a nomenclatural correction. Schlechtendalia 25: 69–72.

Here it is established that numerous names in the above-mentioned genera that have been customarily attributed to “Schltdl.” (i.e., D. F. L. von Schlechtendal) were actually published by his father, D. F. K. von Schlechtendal (official IPNI standard form “D. F. K. Schltdl.”). Affected by this revelation are two names widely accepted for spp. occurring in Costa Rica: Stellaria cuspidata Willd. ex D. F. K. Schltdl. and S. ovata Willd. ex D. F. K. Schltdl. The TROPICOS data-base has already been rigorously updated with this new information by MO herbarium curator Jim Solomon.

Caruzo, M. B. R. & I. Cordeiro. 2013. Taxonomic revision of Croton section Cleodora (Euphorbiaceae). Phytotaxa 121: 1–41.

The “giant,” pantropical genus Croton comprises some 1200 spp., of which 18 are included in the section that is the subject of this revision. Croton sect. Cleodora (Klotzsch) Baill., characterized by a lengthy suite of characters, is exclusively neotropical and “concentrated in Brazil” (whence these authors), where 12 of its spp. occur; however, a few extend northward to central Mexico, and two have been recorded from Costa Rica, viz., Croton billbergianus Müll. Arg. and C. hoffmannii Müll. Arg. Both of the latter belong to Croton subsect. Spruceani Caruzo, one of the two subsections subordinated to sect. Cleodora. The only significant new development vis-à-vis the Manual Euphorbiaceae treatment (2010) by José González (LSCR) is that Croton hoffmannii may no longer be counted as a Costa Rican endemic, having now absorbed C. longiradiatus Lanj. as a synonym and with its geographic range thus curiously extended (in disjunct fashion) to Suriname, French Guiana, and northern Brazil. Features synonymy, typology, and technical descriptions at all ranks (from section on down), a dichotomous (though non-indented) key to subsections and spp., distribution and phenology summaries, discussions of variable length, representative specimen citations, and an index to exsiccatae (though none to scientific names). Each sp. is depicted in an excellent composite line drawing (though these are ordered in some inscrutable manner). The introduction provides a cursory account of taxonomic history, distribution, and morphology. No new taxon names or combinations are validated in this paper.

Cascante-Marín, A. & A. Estrada-Chavarría. 2012. Las plantas vasculares de El Rodeo, Costa Rica. Brenesia 77: 71–128.

This is an updated and considerably augmented version of a similar effort by the same authors [see The Cutting Edge 8(1): 4, Jan. 2001] that enumerated 554 spp. of vascular plants from the Zona Protectora El Rodeo, the site of “uno de los pocos fragmentos de bosque premontano que han logrado mantenerse” in the Costa Rican Valle Central. Now, largely on the basis of extensive collections made from 2002–2005 by the authors and their colleagues at CR, that total is nearly doubled, to 1034 native or naturalized spp. (plus 47 spp. introduced and cultivated), representing 581 genera and 138 familes (vs. 395 and 115, respectively, in the first installment). According to information compiled by the authors, the most diverse families at El Rodeo (each with 37 or more spp.) are Fabaceae, Asteraceae, Poaceae, Euphorbiaceae, and Rubiaceae (suggesting that Poaceae and Euphorbiaceae, omitted from this list in the earlier contribution, had been particularly undercollected); at genus rank, the most diverse taxa are Piper (20 spp.), Solanum (14 spp.), and Ficus and Ipomoea (each with 12 spp.). Eighteen spp. (listed in an annotated table) occurring on the site are endemic to Costa Rica, or to Costa Rica plus Panama. A surprising 44% of the spp. in the reserve are herbs (another indication that Poaceae and other predominantly herbaceous families had been undercollected, since trees prevailed in this category previously), whereas just 6.8% are epiphytes. The main body of this paper is devoted to a comprehensive, vouchered checklist, annotated to indicate status (native, introduced, etc.), growth form, and habitat (terrestrial, epiphytic, etc.). The introductory section, illustrated with maps, graphs, and an aerial photo, includes a brief characterization of the reserve, a history of botanical collecting at the site, and the detailed floristic analyses referenced above. Selected spp. are depicted in five composite plates of color photos, taken in the field, at the end of the article.

This paper is just one of many in a superbly edited volume, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Brenesia and devoted entirely to the natural history of the El Rodeo reserve. While this is the only article that we are reviewing formally, several others will be of direct interest to our botanical readership, including a consideration of the exotic flora and another of the economically useful plant spp., plus a characterization of plant ecosystems and a floristic comparison with various other forest types in Costa Rica. Companion papers document the history, geography, climate, and geology of the reserve, while still others address mycology (Basidiomycetes) and selected animal groups. A very fine, color vegetation map of El Rodeo is presented as a fold-out insert. Volume editors Alfredo Cascante, Joaquín Sánchez, and Armando Ruiz are to be congratulated for this excellent contribution, along with their cohorts at the Museo Nacional.

Cornejo, X. 2013. Lectotypification and a new status for Rhizophora × harrisonii (Rhizophoraceae), a natural hybrid between R. mangle and R. racemosa. Harvard Pap. Bot. 18: 37.

The lectotypification is worth noting, but more importantly, this brief note tips us off to a previous molecular study, that we had glossed over, confirming the hybrid status of the taxon we have known as Rhizophora harrisonii Leechm. The conclusions of that study will have a significant influence on the Manual Rhizophoraceae treatment, scheduled for imminent publication.

Filardi, F. L. R., H. C. Lima, B. B. Klitgaard & Â. L. B. Sartori. 2013. Taxonomy and nomenclature of the neotropical Machaerium hirtum complex (Leguminosae, Papilionoideae). Brittonia 65: 154–170.

The complex of the title is circumscribed so as to include five mainly South American spp., with only Machaerium isadelphum (E. Mey.) Amshoff recorded from Costa Rica [though M. hirtum (Vell.) Stellfeld reaches Panama]. We detect no substantive new information regarding M. isadelphum, relative to the 2010 Manual Fabaceae treatment by co-PI Nelson Zamora, and only South American specimens are cited. Features a dichotomous and indented key to spp., full synonymy and typology, detailed descriptions, distribution summaries, specimen citations, and discussions. There are no indices. The introductory section focuses on taxonomic history and morphology (with the Machaerium hirtum complex characterized on the basis of “spinescent stipules, numerous oblong leaflets with cladodromous venation, leaf and inflorescence rachises with indument, and flowers with a purple banner petal”). All five treated spp. are depicted in rather crude composite line drawings.

Henderson, A. & I. Villalba. 2013. A revision of Welfia (Arecaceae). Phytotaxa 119: 33–44.

While preparing the Manual treatment of the ostensibly monospecific genus Welfia, we had noticed that disjunct material from Peru diverged somewhat from the norm, especially in its more numerous and thicker rachillae. That impression was reflected in our expression of the generic sp. total (“1 o 2 spp.”) and the geographic range of W. regia Mast. [“Hond.–Ecua. (y posiblemente Perú)”]. So we are gratified to see that additional collections from Peru have resulted in the description of Welfia albertii A. J. Hend. & Villalba, the only other sp. recognized in this revision apart from W. regia. Our only minor quibble with this contribution would be that the authors have overlooked, or perhaps ignored, what we believe to be the earliest valid publication of W. regia (by Masters, 1869; Gard. Chron. 1869: 1236), which would guarantee the priority of that name over W. georgii H. Wendl. (though the latter point is moot, as W. regia has prevailed in any event). Includes synonymy and typology, rather brief descriptions (reference being made to a more extensive genus description published elsewhere), a key to spp., distribution summaries, distribution maps, discussions, a section on excluded names, and an index to exsiccatae (which, apart from types, are not otherwise cited, though they are rather few). The opening pages feature brief accounts of taxonomic history and the authors’ morphometric methods. The new sp. is depicted in a fine composite line drawing, and both spp. in color photos of living material in situ.

Jiménez Vargas, J. E. 2012. Wimmeria pubescens (Celastraceae), un nuevo registro para la flora arborescente de Costa Rica. Brenesia 78: 78–79.

In what we believe to be his first “official” publication, José Esteban Jiménez (JVR) documents his discovery of Wimmeria pubescens Radlk. in Costa Rica [see “Leaps and Bounds,” under “Celastraceae,” in The Cutting Edge 20(2), Apr. 2013, and also under “Iridaceae,” for more on the author]. Here he provides synonymy, a key to the three spp. of Wimmeria known from Costa Rica, representative specimen citations, and a plate of color photos taken in the field.

Karremans, A. P. & D. Bogarín. 2013. Three new species of Dracontia (Pleurothallidinae, Orchidaceae) from Costa Rica. Syst. Bot. 38: 307–315.

Taxonomic work on the genus Dracontia [formerly subsumed in Stelis or, prior to that (as in the Manual), Pleurothallis], spearheaded by the first author [see, e.g., under “Karremans,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 19(4), Oct. 2012], surges forward with the description of three new spp. endemic (as far as is known) to Costa Rica. These are: Dracontia montis-mortense Karremans & Bogarín, known mainly (as implied by its epithet) from Cerro de La Muerte, at 1800–2750 m elevation, and compared with D. dracontea (Luer) Luer (i.e., Pleurothallis dracontea Luer of the Manual); Dracontia pileata Karremans & Bogarín, from the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca at 1650–1850 m elevation, compared mainly with D. conochila (Luer) Luer (i.e., Pleurothallis conochila Luer of the Manual); and Dracontia viridiflava Karremans & Bogarín, known only from the type collected at ca. 1750–1800 m elevation on the Pacific slope of the eastern Cordillera de Talamanca (Zona Protectora Las Tablas), also compared mainly with D. conochila. A dichotomous and indented key is provided for the Costa Rican spp. of Dracontia, which now number 17. All three new spp. are illustrated with composite line drawings and a composite photographic plate showing floral details. Note that we have corrected the authors’ “viridi-flava” to remove the hyphen, as specified by ICN Art. 60.9.

—— & ——. 2013. Costa Rica, land of endless orchids. Orchids (West Palm Beach) 82: 408–411.

What sounds like a lightweight travelogue cum tour-de-force survey of Costa Rican orchid diversity turns out to be something substantially less extensive though, arguably, more intriguing: it provides a fleeting glimpse into the recent work of the JBL crew, in terms of both recent discoveries and ongoing research. Recently described spp. and recent country records are itemized in Tables 1 and 2, respectively, although, curiously, neither table is comprehensive, even with respect to the cited articles by the authors and their colleagues. All of the new spp. have been reported in these pages, as have half of the new records; however, the following six new records (none of which is vouchered or detailed) are new to us: Dracula maduroi Luer, Lepanthes ankistra Luer & Dressler, L. antilocapra Luer & Dressler, L. maxonii Schltr., L. odontolabis Luer, and L. otopetala Luer (all previously believed restricted to western Panama). The authors now estimate the Costa Rican sp. total for Orchidaceae at “almost 1600,” vs. just 1318 according to Manual Vol. 3 (2003). Meanwhile, 32 (or “more than 50,” depending on which paragraph one wishes to believe) spp. are under study at JBL, of which a substantial number (including “an astonishing ten species of Lepanthes”) are expected to be new. Even so, the authors caution that “it would be quite naïve to think that a survey of Costa Rican orchid flora is close to completion.” Illustrated with color photos of selected newly discovered or described taxa.

Kriebel, R. & F. Oviedo-Brenes. 2013. A new species of Miconia from the remaining primary forest at Las Cruces Biological Station in Costa Rica. Phytotaxa 126: 55–60.

Miconia povedae Kriebel & F. Oviedo, dedicated to esteemed Costa Rican botanist Luis Poveda Álvaraz, is known by just three collections (here mapped precisely) from OTS’s Las Cruces Biological Station, at roughly 1150 m elevation in the southern Fila Costeña of Costa Rica. The new sp., pictured in a composite plate of color photos, is most similar and closely related to a group of spp. that includes Miconia dissitiflora Almeda and M. grayumii Almeda, as well as Clidemia fraterna Gleason and Conostegia cinnamomea (Beurl.) Wurdack (what’s up with these genera?), with all of which it is compared and contrasted. In what we expect to be a “first,” the holotype has been deposited in the recently established HLDG herbarium [see under “News and Notes” in The Cutting Edge 17(1), Jan. 2010].

Li, R. & J. Wen. 2013. Phylogeny and biogeography of Dendropanax (Araliaceae), an amphi-Pacific disjunct genus between tropical/subtropical Asia and the Neotropics. Syst. Bot. 38: 536–551.

A previous study [see The Cutting Edge 11(3): 11, Jul. 2004] involving the second author of his paper had suggested the possibility that Dendropanax might be polyphyletic along hemispheric lines. That notion receives partial and lukewarm support here, as two Asian spp. form a clade that is removed from the rest of the genus. However, the authors consider it “likely that this non-monophyly is due to sampling bias,” and that the issue “needs to be further examined with additional taxon sampling in the Caribbean and South America.” The remaining Old World spp. of the genus group together in a clade separate from that harboring the New World spp., but these two main clades are sister to one another. The authors postulate that Dendropanax “originated in the Old World and migrated into the New World via the North Atlantic land bridges in the early Tertiary.” Be that as it may, the New World enjoys nomenclatural primacy, as the generic type [D. arboreus (L.) Decne. & Planch.] is a New World sp. Thus the matter is of no immediate concern to us.

Liede-Schumann, S. & U. Meve. 2013. The Orthosiinae revisited (Apocynaceae, Asclepiadoideae, Asclepiadeae). Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 99: 44–81.

Cladistic analysis of DNA sequence data reveals four main clades in Apocynaceae subtribe Orthosiinae Liede & Rapini, all of which are here accorded generic ranking under the names Jobinia E. Fourn., Monsanima Liede & Meve (described as new), Orthosia Decne., and Scyphostelma Baill. The authors admit that “the four genera of Orthosiinae remain difficult to distinguish,” and though they provide a rather complicated key, they caution that it “can only be used as a rough guide to the taxonomic boundaries.” Of course, this begs the question of why all these taxa were not lumped into a single, morphologically diagnosable genus; one gets the feeling that the authors’ classification was unduly influenced by the availability of genus names in association with particular clades. Whatever the case, 13 new combinations are validated in Jobinia (now with 25 spp.), one each in Mosanima (which is monospecific) and Orthosia (with approximately 31 spp.), and 26 in Scyphostelma (now with a total of 27 spp.), all in the names of “Liede & Meve.” One name is also lost to Orthosia and transferred to Ditassa (a member of a different subtribe). A quasi-synoptic treatment of the subtribe features synonymy, typology, and a list of included spp. for each genus (though no descriptions, except for the new genus). At the sp. level, entries are provided only where a new combination or (in one case) neotypification is proposed; these entries include synonymy and typology, discussions (generally brief), and specimen citations. Subtribe Orthosiinae is poorly represented in Central America (Jobinia, Monsanima, and Scyphostelma being overwhelmingly or exclusively South American), and we can account for only three spp. that have been collected in Costa Rica. Just one of these is impacted by the nomenclatural actions of this paper: the sp. known most recently as Liedea filisepala (Standl.) W. D. Stevens [see The Cutting Edge 13(1): 11–12, Jan. 2006], and before that as Cynanchum filisepalum (Standl.) L. O. Williams, here becomes Scyphostelma filisepala (Standl.) Liede & Meve, the only Central American member of its genus (and as a consequence, the genus name Liedea W. D. Stevens becomes a synonym of Scyphostelma). The status remains quo for the other two spp. of the subtribe in Costa Rica, Orthosia extra-axillaris W. D. Stevens and O. glaberrima (Woodson) W. D. Stevens, at least in nomenclatural terms; as we have previously noted in these pages [see The Cutting Edge 15(3): 8, Jul. 2008], these authors have considered Orthosia glaberrima to be a synonym of O. guilleminiana (Decne.) Liede & Meve, and by all appearances continue to do so. Selected spp. are depicted in composite line drawings and a composite photographic plate.

Mazumdar, J. & R. Mukhopadhyay. 2013. Nomenclatural notes on some members of Thelypteridaceae. II. Bionature 33: 13–34.

The authors of molecular papers that propose major classificatory changes often disdain to formally implement said changes, whether due to a lack of interest in nomenclatural formalities or an understanding that their conclusions are not adequately supported. Whatever the case, there seems to be no shortage of “vultures” waiting in the wings to dispatch all the “necessary” new combinations, and the rewards can be immense. The past decade has witnessed a movement to cut the vast fern genus Thelypteris (Thelypteridaceae) down to size, in a scenario that would see a large percentage of the Mesoamerican spp. segregated into Cyclosorus and a somewhat smaller group to the Amauropelta complex [see, e.g., under “He,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 20(1), Jan. 2013]. Some of the relevant combinations in the latter two genera are already available, but many are not. Enter the present authors, who evidently played no role in any of the preliminary work, yet do not hesitate to summarily transfer the names of 345 spp. (as well as those of several infraspecific taxa), of both the New and Old World, into Cyclosorus. This effort involved no taxonomy (the authors freely admit to having based their “compilation” on an Internet checklist), and was clearly done in great haste, as there are many errors in epithet gender and terminations as well as a few invalidly published and illegitimate names. The few nomina nova may not be superfluous in nomenclatural terms, but some are superfluous taxonomically; that is to say, the authors have made the incorrect assumption that nomina nova carry the priority of the replaced name, and thus did not account for earlier synonyms. The spp. affected by this glut of transfers were previously housed in Thelypteris subgenera Cyclosorus (Link) C. V. Morton, Goniopteris (C. Presl) Duek, Meniscium (Schreb.) C. F. Reed, and Steiropteris (C. Chr.) K. Iwats. Among the new combinations proposed in this paper, all attributable to “Maz. & R. Mukhop.,” we count 29 that pertain to spp. occurring in Costa Rica (no nomina nova are involved for us). One of the new combinations, intended to replace Thelypteris ghiesbreghtii (Hook.) C. V. Morton, is invalidly published (because the basionym is not cited), another is an illegitimate isonym [of Cyclosorus opulentus (Kaulf.) Nakaike], and we are aware of at least one sp. in our area, T. urbanii (Sodiro) A. R. Sm. (of subgen. Goniopteris), for which no combination in Cyclosorus is validated in this paper nor was previously available. For these reasons, and (more significantly) because we have no clue how to deal with Amauropelta, we do not foresee adopting this new Thelypteridaceae classification anytime soon. Continuing in our characteristically cynical vein, we wonder whether the lost opportunity for new combinations will motivate future workers to embrace alternative classification schemes for the family.

Noblick, L. R., W. J. Hahn & M. P. Griffith. 2013. Structural cladistic study of Cocoseae, subtribe Attaleinae (Arecaceae): evaluating taxonomic limits in Attaleinae and the neotropical genus Syagrus. Brittonia 65: 232–261.

It turns out that Syagrus, a largely South American genus with ca. 32 spp. (fide The plant-book), is paraphyletic with respect to several other genera, including Attalea and Cocos (to mention only those occurring in Costa Rica). As these authors put it, “the presently accepted taxonomy may not predict monophyletic groups.” They do not concern themselves with classification, but clearly, one of the potential outcomes would be the consolidation of all the involved genera under the oldest name, Cocos (presently monospecific, but we cannot imagine anyone condoning a name change for the wildly popular coconut palm, and most sp. names in Syagrus have basionyms in Cocos). For Costa Rican floristics, this would mean a genus shift for our only sp. of Attalea, now known variously as A. butyracea (Mutis ex L. f.) Wess. Boer or (e.g., in the Manual) A. rostrata Oerst. (a combination in Cocos being already available for the former). Although, of course, it would also be possible to maintain the nested genera (all of which are monophyletic) by splintering Syagrus into smaller generic units (taking the one cladogram at face value, at least 11 of these would be required).

Oliveira, L. D. D., M. J. da Silva & M. F. Sales. 2013. Synopsis of the tribe Hureae (Euphorbioideae, Euphorbiaceae). Brittonia 65: 310–329.

The titular tribe comprises 17 spp. in three genera, of which only Hura extends outside of South America. All of the component taxa are distinguished in a single, dichotomous and indented key. This is followed by the synoptic treatment, featuring full synonymy and typology, technical descriptions of the genera (only), diagnostic features for each sp., and distribution summaries. The last appear to have been compiled rather uncritically, or perhaps the authors are privy to information unavailable to us; for example, Hura crepitans L. (the only sp. in the group known to occur in Costa Rica) is attributed to Mexico, a claim for which we find no evidence, and H. polyandra Baill. to Costa Rica, which is certainly news to us (we suspect this comes from the Flora of Guatemala). There are no indices. The brief introductory portion addresses taxonomic history, morphology, and phylogeny. Seven composite line drawings serve to illustrate every sp. in the group, excepting only Hura polyandra.

Ormerod, P. 2013. Notes on neotropical liparoids (Orchidaceae: Malaxidae). Harvard Pap. Bot. 18: 39–49.

We are not certain exactly what a “liparoid” is, nor is the term defined anywhere in this paper, but clearly it refers to a subset of Orchidaceae tribe Malaxidae (or is it Malaxideae?) that includes, minimally, the genera Crossoglossa and Liparis (the subjects of this paper). There is not much of interest for us here, and what little there is pertains to Crossoglossa, for which an annotated enumeration of all 32 spp. accepted by the author is presented. Five spp. are attributed to Costa Rica, including the same four featured in Robert L. Dressler’s (2003) Manual treatment, plus the recently described Crossoglossa sotoana Pupulin & Karremans [see the fourth entry under “Pupulin,” this column, in the Cutting Edge 17(2), Apr. 2010]. The only difference is that Crossoglossa eustachys (Schltr.) Dressler, synonymized under C. tipuloides (Lindl.) Dodson in the Manual, is provisionally reinstated as the accepted name for material from Costa Rica and Panama, while C. tipuloides is correspondingly restricted to material from Colombia (not included in the geographic range of the sp. in the Manual, even though the type is from Colombia; our bad!). One new section (of Liparis) and seven new spp. (six of Crossoglossa) are described, none of which is relevant to us. The new spp., and selected others, are illustrated in composite line drawings.

Ossenbach, C., F. Pupulin & R. Jenny (eds.). 2013. Orchids in the life and work of Auguste R. Endrés. Vols. 1 (354 pp.) & 2 (536 pp.). Naturhist. Mus. [Wien].

This is really something special. Auguste R. Endrés has been “a true ghost in the history of Central American orchidology,” about whom next to nothing (not even his first name) was known as recently as a decade ago. Since that time, the JBL crew has dredged up and leaked some additional tidbits of information about Endrés [see, e.g., the second entry under “Pupulin,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 18(3), Jul. 2011], but nothing could have prepared us for such a lavish, painstaking, and thorough consideration of the man’s life as we have before us now. Endrés is now on the map, and in a very big way. The first volume of this magnificent work “presents the essential facts about…Endrés, his biography, his work as a botanist and orchid illustrator, and the natural world that formed a background to his short and productive life” (to borrow the editors’ own encapsulation); the second volume “gathers most of Endrés’ drawings…and presents a complete catalogue of the botanical treasure amassed by Endrés in his Costa Rican journey and now conserved at the Natural History Museum of Vienna, properly identified and updated to the most recent nomenclature.” While the second volume will be indispensable to orchidologists (indeed, many of Endrés’s illustrations are types), most non-specialists will find the first volume to be of greatest interest. As in the case of a similarly exhausive biography of Henri Pittier [see The Cutting Edge 9(4): 7–8, Oct. 2002] our review can convey only a general impression of the wealth of information that is presented. Auguste Endrés was born (with no middle name!) on 27 November, 1838, in the village of Herbitzheim, Alsace (France), the first son of the village schoolteacher and his wife. The family, German-speaking and Lutheran, would eventually come to include eight other children. In 1855, at just 16 years of age, Auguste emigrated to New York city with his grandfather and other miscellaneous relavites; his nuclear family followed suit in 1857, but settled in Cincinnati about a year later, while Auguste apparently remained in New York. Despite the herculean research efforts of the editors, significant gaps still remain in Auguste Endrés’s life story; for example, just one likeness of Endrés is reproduced, a recent painting (presumably commissioned by the authors) “based only on his description on the passport application,” itself pictured on the facing page (we read that Endrés was 5’7½” tall, with a high forehead, brown eyes, a “strait” nose, medium mouth, and round chin, dark brown hair, a swarthy complexion, and a full face). Also, much more information was gathered about the lives of the rest of Endrés’s family in Cincinnati (and beyond; one of his sisters was traced forward to 1925, when she died of cancer in Berkeley, CA) than about the life of Endrés himself during his time in New York. Endrés actually spent some portion of the period 1857–1866 in Europe, traveling there at least twice during those years to “continue his training in botany,” especially, it appears, in Berlin. Then, “in the last days of 1866,” he was sent to Costa Rica “with a commission to gather orchids” for James Bateman and Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach. There he remained (excepting a few months in Panama), feverishly collecting and illustrating orchids (and also collecting birds and fossils!), until “the first months of 1874,” when he returned to Europe. In the later months of that year, Endrés embarked on an ill-fated excursion to Colombia, where he would die of “pleurisy” in a small village on the northern coast, following an aborted solo ascent of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (he was not murdered, as has sometimes been suggested). Although the exact date of his death is unknown, it must have been in late November or early December, within weeks or days of his 36th birthday.

Despite his comparatively brief residence in the country, Auguste Endrés qualified as “the most proficient and dedicated botanist who visited Costa Rica during the nineteenth century.” At least, that is the claim made (with “no exaggeration”) by the editors, and it is rather a bold assertion, considering that the competition includes the likes of Anders Oersted, Henri Pittier, Josef von Warszewicz, and Hermann Wendland (to name just a few). Nonetheless, a compelling case is made, based largely on the sustained intensity of Endrés’s activities over a short period of time. But there the comparison with somebody like Pittier ends, we would contend. Endrés, who collected only a relative handful of poorly (if at all) annotated specimens and published virtually nothing during his lifetime, could never match the unparalleled productivity and influence of Pittier, who (in addition to collecting and publishing prolifically) hired and supervised a corps of crack field botanists, organized major expeditions and botanical inventories (covering most of Costa Rica), founded the Herbario Nacional, and initiated the first Costa Rican flora (to mention only his botanical activities!), while at the same time managing a vibrant and chaotic domestic life featuring wives and children (distractions that Endrés seems never to have suffered). Endrés was certainly an intriguing character, who deserves to be better known, and who might have achieved something approaching Pittier’s stature had he lived as long (Pittier was nearly 50 when he left Costa Rica, and over 90 at the time of his death); indeed, by all evidence Endrés was, at least desultorily, working toward the completion of a major work on Costa Rican orchids. Still, nothing is gained by lionizing the bloke.

What truly cannot be exaggerated is the staggering degree of scholarship and dedication evidenced by this publication, one of the crowning achievements, to date, of the astoundingly prolific JBL conglomerate. In addition to Endrés’s biography, the first volume (we are basically ignoring the second) features a detailed account of his collecting itineraries, including a glossary (some of it lifted verbatim, and with neither permission nor acknowledgment, from our online Gazetteer, though for the record we don’t care!); analyses of Endrés’s training and methods as both a botanist and illustrator; brief biographies (sometimes accompanied by portraits) of some important people in Endrés life (a few of whom have been nearly as obscure as Endrés, e.g., Franz Theodor Koschny and Wilhelm Nanne); accounts of the rich materials of Endrés deposited in the Natural History Museum in Vienna; and an enumeration of orchid spp. based on Endrés’s specimens or illustrations. Throughout, the text is abundantly, perhaps even excessively illustrated, but illustrations are always appreciated and help to sell books; and while some of the illustrations (a painting of Linnaeus?) may be deemed gratuitous, others (six pages of sepia-toned photos of the Costa Rican countryside taken in 1873!) may alone be worth the price of these volumes (which we would assume to be exorbitant, considering the high quality of the binding and the very heavy paper used).

Reveal, J. L. & K. C. Nixon. 2013. The palm type collection (Arecaceae) in the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium (BH). Phytoneuron 2013-79: 1–46.

The herbarium (BH) at Cornell University houses one of the world’s most important collections of palms, including many types of former curators Liberty Hyde Bailey, Hal Moore, and Natalie Uhl. Here, “each specimen of the 474 types…is confirmed as to its status, and a full bibliographic citation is provided.” Furthermore, the “disposition of duplicate type material…is noted,” and numerous lectotypes, neotypes, and epiphytes are designated. Two of the new lectotypes pertain to names currently in use for spp. occurring in Costa Rica, viz., Astrocaryum standleyanum L. H. Bailey and Oenocarpus panamanus L. H. Bailey. The application of these names is unaffected.

Rijckevorsel, P. van. 2013. (2149) Proposal to conserve the name Dalbergia monetaria against Pterocarpus ovalis (Leguminosae). Taxon 62: 635–637.

Well, this was predictable. [For further details, see under “Moraes,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 19(3), Jul. 2012.] There seem to be folks who revel in the changing of names, and others who bristle at the mere thought. We sometimes find ourselves in a state of nomenclatural limbo, as these opposing factions battle it out. This is one of those times.

Rojas-Alvarado, A. F. 2013. Novelties in Grammitis Sw. and Stenogrammitis Labiak (Polypodiaceae) from Costa Rica, Colombia, and Venezuela/Novedades en Grammitis Sw. y Stenogrammitis Labiak (Polypodiaceae) para Costa Rica, Colombia y Venezuela. Actual. Biol. (Medellín) 35: 5–10.

Five new spp. are described in this paper, all but one of which are known only from the type specimen. That includes the sole sp. described from Costa Rica, the endemic Stenogrammitis grammitoides A. Rojas, collected once (by the author) on Isla del Coco. The new sp. (illustrated with a reduced, composite line drawing) is alleged to be closely related to the Jamaican Cochlidium proctorii (Copel.) L. E. Bishop, with which it is compared; based on this apparent relationship, the author suggests that C. proctorii should probably be transferred to Stenogrammitis, though he does not validate the implied combination. Our readers may recall that Stenogrammitis is a recent segregate of the Grammitis segregate Lellingeria [see under Labiak, this column, in The Cutting Edge 18(3), Jul. 2011].

——. 2013. Notas taxonómicas en Danaea Sm. (Marattiaceae) para Costa Rica, Panamá y Colombia/Taxonomic notes in Danaea Sm. (Marattiaceae) from Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia. Actual. Biol. (Medellín) 35: 11–20.

Two of the three spp. described as new in this paper occur in and are endemic to Costa Rica: Danaea epilithica A. Rojas, of Isla del Coco (whence it has been collected on numerous occasions), and D. moralesiana A. Rojas, from 1500–1600 m elevation on the Pacific slope of the eastern Cordillera de Talamanca (Estación Biológica Las Alturas, where it has been found just twice, by the author). Danaea epilithica is compared with the widespread D. nodosa (L.) Sm., and Danaea moralesiana (the epithet of which honors USJ botanist Carlos O. Morales) with D. media Liebm. All the new spp. are depicted in a single composite line drawing. The author also takes the opportunity to “revalidate” four of his previously proposed new spp. that were consigned to synonymy in a subsequent paper [see the second entry under “Christenhusz,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 17(4), Oct. 2010]. The only Costa Rican entity involved in this controversy is Danaea tuomistoana A. Rojas [see The Cutting Edge 14(4): 12, Oct. 2007], based on a collection from the Península de Osa and later synonymized under D. moritziana C. Presl. The two are contrasted in a lengthy table, one of two serving this function for a variety of spp. (and alleged spp.).

Siqueiros-Delgado, M. E., M. Ainouche, J. T. Columbus & A. Ainouche. 2013. Phylogeny of the Bouteloua curtipendula complex (Poaceae: Chloridoideae) based on nuclear ribosomal and plastid DNA sequences from diploid taxa. Syst. Bot. 38: 379–389.

DNA sequence analysis has seldom been employed below the rank of genus, but these authors apply that methodology to the sp. complex of the title, with interesting results. Three taxa of this complex have been attributed to Costa Rica: Bouteloua curtipendula (Michx.) Torr. var. caespitosa Gould & Kapadia, B. disticha (Kunth) Benth., and B. media (E. Fourn.) Gould & Kapadia. We have often noted, with some aggravation, that determinations of our collections in this group tend to vary among specialists and to change over time, implying an unusual degree of uncertainty. If this study is to be believed, there is a good reason for this: all three of the aforementioned taxa (as well as all but one of the 11 others in the B. curtipendula complex) are non-monophyletic. The authors suggest that “the four characters principally used to circumscribe taxa [in the complex]…are clearly homoplasious,” and consider that “a thorough taxonomic revision…is needed in order to accurately circumscribe taxa, in accordance with understanding of their evolutionary history.”

Smith, J. F. & J. L. Clark. 2013. Molecular phylogenetic analyses reveal undiscovered monospecific genera in the tribe Episcieae (Gesneriaceae). Syst. Bot. 38: 451–463.

The title tells much of the story: four new monospecific genera are described, and the consequent new combinations at sp. rank validated. Just one of the new genera is germane to Costa Rican floristics, that being Pachycaulos J. L. Clark & J. F. Sm., erected to house the former Neomortonia nummularia (Hanst.) Wiehler. We have been aware for some time of problems with the prevailing concept of Neomortonia (as presented in the Manual Gesneriaceae treatment by Ricardo Kriebel), due mainly to previous contributions involving these same authors [see, e.g., under “Clark,” this column, in The Cutting Edge 20(1), Jan. 2013]. To wit, Neomortonia was polyphyletic, a dilemma now resolved by the validation of Pachycaulos nummularia (Hanst.) J. L. Clark & J. F. Sm., with N. rosea Wiehler (the generic type sp.) staying put in the now apparently monospecific Neomortonia. Pachycaulos nummularia is portrayed in both a composite line drawing and a composite color photographic plate of living material. Note that we have corrected the authors’ spelling (“nummularium”) of the epithet, originally a noun in apposition (presumably based on the old genus name Nummularia Hill) that should not vary according to the gender of the genus name. Also, although the authors’ spelling of the epithet implies the neuter gender, we believe Pachycaulos to be properly masculine (the gender of the Greek noun “caulos”), according to ICN Art. 62.2.

Stern, S., L. Bohs, L. Giacomin, J. Stehmann & S. Knapp. 2013. A revision of Solanum section Gonatotrichum. Syst. Bot. 38: 471–496.

Solanum sect. Gonatotrichum Bitter comprises eight New World spp. characterized by their herbaceous or subshrubby habit, pubescence generally of simple hairs, and explosively dehiscent fruits. Only one sp., Solanum deflexum Greenm. (widespread in the Mesoamerican region), is represented in Costa Rica, so there is not a whole lot here for us. This is a standard revision, boasting synonymy, typology, and technical descriptions for the subgenus and each of its spp., a dichotomous, indented key to spp., and distribution and phenology summaries, a conservation evaluation, comprehensive specimen citations, and a discussion for each sp., as well as distribution maps and an index to exsiccatae (but none to scientific names). The introductory section addresses taxonomic history, important morphological features (with SEM micrographs of trichome and seed types), breeding systems, distribution, and phylogenetic relationships. Each sp. is depicted in at least one color photo, mostly (as in the case of S. deflexum) of living material.

Taylor, C. M. & R. E. Gereau. 2013. The genus Carapichea (Rubiaceae, Psychotrieae). Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 99: 100–127.

When Carapichea was salvaged from Psychotria on the basis of molecular evidence 11 years ago [see The Cutting Edge 9(4): 4, Oct. 2002], just three spp. could be positively assigned to the genus. That number doubled during the ensuing decade and now, on the basis of the careful morphological survey presented here, has mushroomed to 23. As is the case for many taxa distinguished on molecular grounds, Carapichea is tough to diagnose morphologically. The best character (as for many Rubiaceae) involves the stipules, which are “interpetiolar, apparently lack glands on the margins and external (i.e., abaxial) surface, and are marcescent or deciduous in a characteristic way: the margins become brown and dry, then the stipule body becomes a little indurated and sometimes also yellowed, then the stipule breaks up via fragmentation with age.” Also helpful are the inflorescences (“capitate or branched to one to two orders with the flowers sessile to shortly pedicellate”), pollen (“aperturate…of a generalized form”), and seeds (lacking “ethanol-soluble pigments in the testa”). On the other hand, pyrene features emphasized by previous authors turn out to be too variable for identification purposes (as documented in a composite line drawing). This is a synoptic treatment of Carapichea and includes synonymy and typology at all ranks, a revised morphological description of the genus, and a key (dichotomous and indented) to its spp. The sp. entries (organized into seven informal groups) are accompanied only by discussions, of varying length, indicating (minimally) geographic and altitudinal distribution. One name in Carapichea is excluded from the genus. Consistent with the first author’s Manual draft treatment of Rubiaceae, only two spp. are attributed (at least indirectly) to Costa Rica: Carapichea affinis (Standl.) L. Andersson and C. ipecacuanha (Brot.) L. Andersson. The introductory section of the paper is highlighted by an unusually exhaustive review of taxonomic history and a consideration of critical morphological features. One new sp. name and 16 new combinations are validated, though none of these is pertinent to Costa Rican floristics.

Udulutsch, R., M. A. Assis & P. Dias. 2013. Taxonomic update of Adenocalymma (Bignoniaceae): emendations, new synonyms, typifications, and status change. Türk. Bot. Derg. 37: 630–543.

This contribution formalizes or validates numerous taxonomic and nomenclatural conclusions that were debuted in the first author’s 2008 doctoral dissertation. One new combination is involved, as well as numerous new synonymies and typifications. Although Adenocalymma is a relatively important neotropical genus, with 47 spp. total, only A. inundatum Mart. ex DC. is recorded from Costa Rica. Thus there is little here to interest us, although A. inundatum acquires a new synonym, A. i. var. surinamense Bureau & K. Schum., and both names are lectotypified.

Wei, R., H. Schneider & X.-C. Zhang. 2013. Toward a new circumscription of the twinsorus-fern genus Diplazium (Athyriaceae): a molecular phylogeny with morphological implications and infrageneric taxonomy. Taxon 62: 441–457.

The large and important fern genus Diplazium is shown to be paraphyletic with respect to several segregate genera, including Callipteris, which recently enjoyed a brief renaissance during which it embraced several spp. occurring in Costa Rica. Callipteris was resurrected as a genus in 1999 (post Flora mesoamericana), to the accompaniment of mild criticism in these pages [see The Cutting Edge 7(1): 9–10, Jan. 2000], but within seven years had already been returned to Diplazium in a major new fern classification [see The Cutting Edge 13(4): 9–10, Oct. 2006] involving the second author of the present paper. The latter decision is well supported by this new evidence (based on more extensive taxon sampling than was employed in previous studies), revealing that Callipteris is not only nested within Diplazium, but seriously polyphyletic as well. The authors opted to recognize an inclusive Diplazium, rather than accord generic ranking to the four main clades they recovered, which would have required “the introduction of two new genera and a large number of new combinations,” creating “taxonomic instability that should be avoided.” Instead, their four clades are distinguished as subgenera, resulting in one new taxon name and two new combinations at subgeneric rank; the name Callipteris is retained for one of the subgenera (evidently the largest one), though it is not even remotely congruent with the recently espoused generic concept. Features synonymy, typology, and brief descriptions for Diplazium and each of its subgenera, as well as a key to the latter. Four new combinations are validated at sp. rank, but do not concern us.

Weigend, M., F. Luebert, F. Selvi, G. Brokamp & H. H. Hilger. 2013. Multiple origins for Hound’s tongues (Cynoglossum L.) and Navel seeds (Omphalodes Mill.) – the phylogeny of the borage family (Boraginaceae s.str.). Molec. Phylogen. Evol. 68: 604–618.

Let it be said at the outset that, although Boraginaceae will be treated in the traditional inclusive sense in the Manual, the only genera represented in Costa Rica that remain within the “Boraginaceae s. str.” of these authors are Borago (sparingly cultivated), Cynoglossum (introduced), Hackelia, and Moritzia. This molecular study reveals serious phylogenetic concerns for two of these genera (as well as several others) that will require “large-scale re-arrangements of generic limits,” none of which is ventured here (the vultures are hovering!). Hackelia appears paraphyletic, and the authors suggest lumping of the nested taxa as a resolution; thus, H. mexicana (Schltdl. & Cham.) I. M. Johnst., the only sp. occurring in Costa Rica, may be safe (it was not included in the study). Also, “Cynoglossum as currently defined is highly poly- and paraphyletic,” but the future for C. amabile Stapf & J. R. Drumm., an Asian native naturalized in Costa Rica, looks bleaker; it occurs in a clade, distinct from that harboring the generic type sp. (C. officinale L.), for which Lindelofia Lehm. is the oldest available genus name. The authors promise “the publication of a revised infra-familial classification of the family in the near future”—hopefully in time for our final Manual volume!

Wong S. Y., Tan P. J., Ng K. K., A. S. Othman, Lee H. B., F. B. Ahmad & P. C. Boyce. 2013. Phylogeny of Asian Homalomena (Araceae) based on the ITS region combined with morphological and chemical data. Syst. Bot. 38: 589–599.

We don’t ordinarily concern ourselves with infrageneric classification, especially involving Asian taxa, but the results of this paper portend virtually inevitable consequences for one genus occurring in Costa Rica, and potential consequences for another. Certain to be impacted is Homalomena, traditionally regarded as a genus of at least 120 spp. distributed both in tropical Asia and the Neotropics. The distribution of the genus is quite asymmetrical, however, as the New World contingent comprises just 10 described spp., commonly segregated in Homalomena sect. Curmeria (André) Engl. These analyses demonstrate that Homalomena as currently circumscribed is polyphyletic, with sect. Curmeria sister to Philodendron subgen. Pteromischum (Schott) Mayo. This scenario promises “patently significant taxonomic changes,” the least nomenclaturally disruptive of which would affect only Homalomena sect. Curmeria (with four spp. in Costa Rica) by submerging said taxon into Philodendron. Two other options would require the establishment of a distinct genus, under the name Adelonema Schott, to house the members of sect. Curmeria; however, both of these options would also impact Philodendron, because subgen. Pteromischum (with 16 spp. in Costa Rica and ca. 75 altogether) would have to be either subsumed within Adelonema or segregated in yet another distinct genus, under the name Elopium Schott. The authors delay a decision on these issues, pending “much more comprehensive sampling, especially of Pteromischum.” From a practical perspective, we would advocate the merger of sect. Curmeria in Philodendron, based on both nomenclatural considerations (mentioned previously) and taxonomic expediency (most generalists cannot distinguish Homalomena from Philodendron anyway); however, the other options offer greater rewards in terms of the ego-serving coinage of new combinations.

Yang, M.-Q., R. van Velzen, F. T. Bakker, A. Sattarian, D.-Z. Li & T.-S. Yi. 2013. Molecular phylogenetics and character evolution of Cannabaceae. Taxon 62: 473–485.

The only news here of passing interest to us is that the genus Trema, with two spp. in Costa Rica, appears paraphyletic with respect to Parasponia. To remedy this problem, the authors suggest that the latter genus (with five spp. of Malesia and the western Pacific region) “should be merged with Trema.”


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