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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 V, Number 4, October 1998

News and Notes | Recent Treatments | Leaps and Bounds | Germane Literature

ARACEAE. Anthurium chiriquense Standl., a rare sp. believed endemic to western Panama, has been collected at 2400 m elevation in the Zona Protectora Las Tablas, on the Pacific slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca, by parataxonomists Enia Navarro and Annia Picado.

ARECACEAE. Prior to 1980, Cryosophila was the only fan-palm genus recorded as indigenous in Costa Rica. Since then, native populations of Acoelorraphe, Sabal, and Colpothrinax have come to light, in the order given. Sabal was first found in Costa Rica in 1985, when co-PI Grayum and future MO curator George Schatz collected S. mauritiiformis (H. Karst.) Griseb. & H. Wendl. on forested coral headlands south of Manzanillo de Talamanca, on the Atlantic coast. Shortly thereafter, rumors of a native Sabal on the Pacific slope began to circulate. In 1988, while hunting Cryosophila for his revision of that genus, Ramblin' Joe Evans, another future MO curator, observed planted specimens of a Sabal sp. in the vicinity of Gamalotillo de Puriscal, Prov. San José. This sp. was referred to as guagarón by local residents, who described it as native to the immediate region. Skeptics we remained until just last year, when itinerant collector Gerardo Rivera, discoverer of the northernmost Costa Rican population of Colpothrinax [see The Cutting Edge 4(2): 2, Apr. 1997], announced that he had located wild populations of Sabal in the central Pacific lowlands, not far from Gamalotillo. The guagarón mystery was resolved definitively this summer when co-PI Grayum and INBio botanist Quírico Jiménez accompanied Rivera to the site, ripe with anticipation of a new sp., or at least a country record. Alas, such was not to be the case, but an excellent and lavishly annotated flowering collection of Sabal mauritiiformis was made, documenting for the first time the indigenous occurrence of the genus on Costa Rica's Pacific versant. As far as we could determine, S. mauritiiformis is narrowly restricted there to the lower basin of the Río Tulín or Tusubres, at ca. 40­p;200 m elevation. The plants are highly sought after for palmito and leaves for thatching, said to last as long as 20 years; as a result, few wild individuals remain, and this population (as the Atlantic one) is gravely endangered. We were able to confirm Evans's report of guagarón as the local name for this sp.; interestingly, the more common Cryosophila guagara P. H. Allen, called guágara in the Golfo Dulce region, is here termed súrtuba, a name usually reserved for Geonoma spp. elsewhere in Costa Rica. Also, hot off the presses: Quírico Jiménez reports the discovery of Oenocarpus mapora H. Karst. in the Zona Protectora La Cangreja, Cantón de Puriscal, Prov. San José. The northern limit of this sp. was believed to have been in the vicinity of Palmar Norte. At the same site, he found a new population-just the seventh known-of the rare calciphile, Cryosophila grayumii R. J. Evans.

BRASSICACEAE. Parataxonomist Evelio Alfaro, inspired by his early experiences as a porter on Gerrit Davidse's 1983­p;1984 Talamanca expeditions, continues to impress with his critically gathered and beautifully prepared plant collections. His recent work at the uppermost elevations of Costa Rica's highest summit, Cerro Chirripó (3819 m), is yielding a bonanza of new records. Among his myriad of mystery mustards are Draba volcanica Benth. and Pennellia longifolia (Benth.) Rollins, both country records for the spp. and genera concerned (dets. by Manual co-PI Nelson Zamora).

CYPERACEAE. A dwarf, highly compact Cyperus collected by Evelio Alfaro near the summit of Cerro Chirripó was examined briefly by MO specialist Gerrit Davidse, who immediately sized it up as a sp. new to the country, if not to science.

MYRSINACEAE. INBio's Francisco Morales reports that Ardisia densiflora Krug & Urb., previously believed to reach its southern limit in Nicaragua, occurs in the Cordilleras de Guanacaste and Tilarán of Costa Rica.

ROSACEAE. Another Evelio Alfaro collection from Cerro Chirripó represents Alchemilla pinnata Ruiz & Pav., otherwise recorded from northern Mesoamerica and the Andes; this according to Francisco Morales, who had included this sp. hypothetically in his Manual treatment of the family.

RUBIACEAE. A white-flowered Deppea collected by Alexander "Popeye" Rodríguez (JVR) at El Rodeo, on the Meseta Central, is D. inaequalis Standl. & Steyerm., known previously from Chiapas to El Salvador. The determination was made at MO by visiting specialist David Lorence (PTBG).

SAPINDACEAE. Several collections from the Cantón de Acosta, in the mountains south of San José, have been identified tentatively by Francisco Morales as Serjania phaseoloides Standl. & Steyerm., described from Guatemala.

SAPOTACEAE. This important and poorly known family, comprising mostly primary forest trees, continues to yield outstanding novelties. The ditypic, mainly South American genus Chromolucuma can now be reported for the first time from Mesoamerica on the basis of two Costa Rican collections of C. rubriflora Ducke, both from the Pacific lowlands: Francisco Morales got it in the Zona Protectora La Cangreja, and Popeye in Parque Nacional Corcovado. Chrysophyllum oliviforme L., a distinctive sp. well known in southern Florida, the Bahamas, and the Antilles, has somehow popped up in the Los Mogos region, at the head of Golfo Dulce, where it was collected by parataxonomist Reinaldo Aguilar.



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