THE CUTTING EDGE

Volume II, Number 3, July 1995

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NEWS AND NOTES | RECENT TREATMENTS | LEAPS AND BOUNDS | GERMANE LITERATURE

REGRETS. This is the first time we have been materially late with an issue of the EDGE. With the present (July) issue hitting the stands in September, we have decided to forego our October issue (Vol. II, Number 4). We promise to be back on track in January with Vol. III, Number 1, and will try not to let it happen again.

PI GRAYUM's recent six-week visit to Costa Rica is largely to blame for the delay. This included a brief (two-week) but intense collecting sortie, the last in a series of NGS-funded botanical inventories of mid-elevation sites on the Atlantic slope of the Cordillera de Talamanca. An additional 10 days or so were lost in organization and preparation. The expedition (apologies to Dan Janzen) penetrated the basin of the Río Chirripó, not previously explored botanically as far as we are aware. [N. B.: Three major Costa Rican rivers confusingly bear the name Chirripó. Two of these drain the massif of Cerro Chirripó, the highest point in the country: one (also called the Río Chirripó Pacífico) to the Pacific Ocean (along the way it becomes the Río General and, further downstream, the Río Térraba); the other (also known by the Cabécar name "Duchí") to the Atlantic Ocean (where it is called the Río Matina). The third, inexplicably named, arises near Guápiles as an effluent of the Río Sucio, flows into the Río Colorado (itself an effluent of the Río San Juan), and thence into the Atlantic. "Ours" was the "Duchí."] Over 1000 numbers were gathered during the trip, which featured Museo Nacional botanist Gerardo Herrera and INBio pteridologist Alexander Rojas, as well as the indispensable cook, scout, negotiator, logistics expert, and sometime collector William Gamboa-a veteran of Talamanca expeditions dating back to Gerrit Davidse's epic 1983-1984 sojourns. The adventure highlight of the trip was a hair-raising crossing of the Río Chirripó on the morning of the fourth day out.

FINAL REMINDER TO MANUAL MONOCOT CONTRIBUTORS: Please do not forget our January, 1996 final deadline for submission of first drafts. This is a mere four months away! Even though you may have other priorities and demands on your time, this deadline is a real and very significant one for us. If we have not received your manuscript by the first of the year, we will be contacting you directly shortly thereafter to evaluate your situation and decide how to proceed.

STORK CLAIMS ANOTHER VICTIM. Congratulations to stateside Manual Project Coordinator Karen Bynum, who gave birth to Emily Kathryn (6 lbs., 3 oz.; 19") on 28 April. We should say "former" coordinator, as Karen decided to resign as of 1 June in order to care for her new daughter. This is the fourth time the stork has struck the Project, and the second time an employee has been carried off. We will certainly miss Karen's agreeable personality and conscientious work habits. Contributors should expect a delay of several months in receiving material from the most recent shipment (comprising 55 boxes, which arrived here quite some time ago).

HONDURAN ADVENTURE. INBio botanist José González and parataxonomist Reinaldo Aguilar (arguably the most accomplished tree collector around) journeyed to Honduras for several weeks in April as invited participants in one of MO curator Randy Evans's NGS-funded expeditions in search of the mysterious Haptanthus hazlettii Goldberg & C. Nelson, the familial affinities of which remain unknown. Although a good and profitable experience was had by all, the principal quarry continued to elude.

MANUAL WWW SITE. The Manual database on the World Wide Web site at INBio:

http://www.inbio.ac.cr/bims/PLANTAE.html

first announced in the January 1995 issue of this newsletter-was updated in mid-July and again on 1 September. Specific searches can be made from "Buscar en Manual de Plantas de CR," but these may be rather slow, particularly if not taxonomically based, and are only for strings; combinations such as "Talamanca, Clusia" will find hits only for "Talamanca." Collection numbers can be searched in the form, e.g., "Hammel 19027," but will be found only for material identified to species. We now have color images for 124 angiosperm families (the smaller image first, in gif format, the larger-not always just a magnification of the smaller!--in jpeg format; click on the smaller). More importantly, Costa Rican distribution maps for each species are now available. See maps by going to the species of interest and clicking on "Mapa de distribución." These maps are produced on-line by programming that sends the data-base coordinates to a map-server in California, which then sends back the map with the appropriate dots.

IMAGES OF TYPES ON INBio's WWW SITE. Thanks to a collaboration between PI Barry Hammel and INBio Web manager Werner Böhl, color images of all types deposited at INB are now available at:

http://www.inbio.ac.cr/tipos/herbario/tipos.html

Flatbed scanners, unexpectedly, give very good depth of field and are a very quick method for capturing images. Check them out.

PHONE NUMBERS CHANGE AGAIN. For the second time in as many years, INBio telephone numbers have changed. The new numbers are: (506) 244-0690 (receptionist) and (506) 244-2816 (fax). Unlike the previous change, this one is local rather than national; Museo numbers, for example, are not affected.

RECENT TREATMENTS

ORCHIDACEAE (pro parte). Robert L. Dressler (FLAS, MO).
With over 1400 spp. enumerated in the most recent checklist (see Brenesia 37: 79-124), Orchidaceae ranks uncontestably as the largest vascular plant family in Costa Rica. Even though it is incomplete, this substantial manuscript (which represents the bulk of Manual Orchidaceae coordinator Dressler's personal contribution) easily becomes the largest we have received to date, whether measured by number of taxa covered (136 genera and 562 spp.) or number of pages (461, double-spaced). But if we take the 1400+ figure at face value, we are still less than halfway there, with a portentous total of 666 spp. treated to date (including 104 from John Atwood's previously submitted treatment of Maxillaria and Trigonidium).

The total of 562 spp. treated in full in this work includes 129 indicated as endemic to Costa Rica (plus the usual contingent shared only with western Panama), as well as 14 considered hypothetical. Only one sp. (Arundina graminifolia (D. Don) Hochr.) known solely in cultivation is included. Provisional or unpublished names are employed for 49 spp. The largest genera, among those treated here, are Oncidium (with 31 spp. in Costa Rica, including Psygmorchis), Sobralia and Encyclia (each with 30 spp.), Scaphyglottis (29 spp.), Dichaea (26 spp.), Malaxis (24 spp.), Elleanthus and Telipogon (each with 22 spp.), Erythrodes (21 spp., including Kreodanthus and Platythelys), and Habenaria (17 spp.).

Major taxa of Orchidaceae remaining to be treated for the Manual include Epidendrum and Oerstedella, the Pleurothallidinae, and most of the Spiranthinae.

LEAPS AND BOUNDS

ASTERACEAE. The peculiar rain-forest herb Sciadocephala dressleri R. M. King & H. Rob., previously known only from type collected in eastern Panama, was discovered growing in the valley of the Río Banano, Prov. Limón, by Costa Rican ecologist Alexander Rodríguez. The collection number is Rodríguez 666 (is somebody trying to tell us something?).

DIOSCOREACEAE. Dioscorea panamensis R. Knuth, until now considered a Panamanian endemic, has been collected from 360 m elevation on Cerro La Picuda, Cantón de Nandayure, Prov. Guanacaste (Pen. Nicoya), by Costa Rican ecologist Armando Estrada.

EUPHORBIACEAE. An unusual small tree collected by Monteverde sage Bill Haber in the San Carlos vicinity of Prov. Alajuela was tentatively identified by its collector (using the late Al Gentry's wonderful guide) as a sp. of Caryodendron. This ID was confirmed here at MO from an electronically transmitted image sent via our offices at INBio. The only previously reported Central American occurrence of this small, largely South American genus is of a still unidentified sp. in eastern Panama. Bill was also aided in his identification by an egg-laying female of one of Costa Rica's rarest butterflies in the genus Panacea, spp. of which he knows to feed exclusively on Euphorbiaceae. The butterflies led Bill's field assistant, Danilo Brenes, to the tree (in bud); when they returned to make a collection with flowers, all had been devoured by Panacea larvae! [La Selva lords, Deborah and David Clark, in their careful plot studies, have more recently (Feb., 1996) collected excellent fruiting material of this plant at La Selva Biological Station. Also subsequent to the original publication of this report, it became clear in William Burger's Euphorbiaceae for Flora Costaricensis (1985), that this discovery of C. angustifolia Standl., described from Western Panama, was to be expected.]

JUGLANDACEAE. Flora Mesoamericana coordinator Gerrit Davidse has passed along a report of a Carya sp. having been collected in Costa Rica by renaissance man Luis Diego Gómez. The story has it that the specimen was examined by specialist Don Stone (DUKE), who pronounced it to belong to a species previously known only from northern Central America. The specimen allegedly lacked a label. As of now we have little choice but to regard this report, however intriguing, as a mere rumor.

PIPERACEAE. An unusual Peperomia with strongly dimorphic leaves collected by Barry Hammel near the summit of Cerro Caraigres (a promising and still poorly collected site south of San José) appears to represent P. heterodoxa Standl. & Steyerm., disjunct from the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes, Guatemala.

RUBIACEAE. The tree Antirhea trichantha (Griseb.) Hemsl., until now considered a Panamanian endemic, has been collected by Nelson Zamora from near the Carara guard-post in the Carara reserve.

VERBENACEAE. Vitex gaumeri Greenm., a large tree previously known only from northern Mesoamerica, can now be reported from the Carara reserve on the basis of a Quírico Jiménez collection.

GERMANE LITERATURE

Dressler, R. L. 1995. New orchid species from Costa Rica. Novon 5: 140-145.

The following five novelties are described: Encyclia ortizii Dressler, from the Reserva Forestal de San Ramón; Malaxis monsviridis Dressler, from Monteverde, and M. talamancana Dressler, from ca. 2000-3000 m in the Talamancas; and Sobralia dissimilis Dressler, from Monteverde, and S. doremiliae Dressler, known from several mid-elevation localities in Costa Rica and western Panama. The spelling of Sobralia carazoi (originally "corazoi") is clarified. Line-drawings are included for each new species.
Fernando, E. S. & C. J. Quinn. 1995. Picramniaceae, a new family, and a recircumscription of Simaroubaceae. Taxon 44: 177-181.
The authors' studies of rbcL sequence variation have "clearly demonstrated" the polyphyly of Simaroubaceae, supporting (among other things) the segregation of Picramniaceae Fernando & Quinn, here validated. The new family is ditypic, harboring Alvaradoa in addition to Picramnia. Picramniaceae differs morphologically from Simaroubaceae sensu stricto in having gynoecia with 2-3 fused carpels and two ovlues per locule (as opposed to 1-5+ weakly united carpels with a solitary ovule per locule). The ordinal affinity of Picramniaceae "remains to be determined," while Simaroubaceae (including Leitneria!) clearly lie "within Sapindales sensu Cronquist...closely allied with...Rutaceae, Cneoraceae, and Meliaceae."
Folsom, J. P. 1994. Dichaea discoveries: notes on the pendent plants from Costa Rica and Panama. Orchid Digest 58: 185-191.
Former MO Panama hand and "Flora of La Selva" collector Jim Folsom (HNT) is now getting around to effectively publishing, in the nick of time (for us), the new taxa proposed in his 1987 Ph.D. dissertation entitled "A systematic monograph of Dichaea section Dichaea (Orchidaceae)" (University of Texas, Austin). Here, six new sp. are described, three of which hail (at least ostensibly) from Costa Rica: Dichaea eligulata Folsom is based on specimens "almost certainly planted" on trees at the Las Cruces (i.e., Wilson) Botanical Garden, and "probably" native to "W [sic] Costa Rica and adjacent Panama"; D. sarapiquinsis Folsom is described from a single collection from ca. 300 m elevation on property adjacent to the Estación Biológica La Selva; and D. schlechteri Folsom from 600-2000 m elevation in Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo (just the type and a single "representative specimen" are cited). Each entry is accompanied by an extensive descriptions and a pictorial floral analysis.
Harling, G. 1995. (1161) Proposal to conserve 9544 Jungia L. f. (Compositae, Mutisieae) against Jungia Heist. ex Fabr. (Labiatae) and Jungia Boehm. (Acanthaceae). Taxon 44: 243-244.
Self-explanatory and routine stuff bearing on a composite genus occurring in Costa Rica.
Holmgren, P. K. & N. H. Holmgren (editors). 1995. Herbaria and institutions. Taxon 44: 251-266.
In which the official acronym (INB) of the INBio herbarium is formally published (p. 253), along with lots of other pertinent and useful information, in the standard Index Herbariorum format.
Luer, C. A. & J. Hermans. 1995. Four new species of Lepanthes Sw. from Costa Rica. Orchid Rev. 103: 60-67.
The new taxa are Lepanthes amplectens Luer & Hermans and L. ferrelliae Luer, from 1400-1500 m on the Pacific slope near Monteverde; and L. clareae Luer & Hermans and L. hermansii Luer, from 2750 and 2000 m (respectively) on Cerro de la Muerte. All are illustrated with detailed line-drawings and color photos. With the exception of L. ferrelliae, all are known only from the type specimen brought to flower in cultivation.
McDonald, J. A. 1995. Revision of Ipomoea section Leptocallis (Convolvulaceae). Harvard Pap. Bot. 6: 97-122.
This is an exclusively New World group, centered in Mexico, comprising 8 spp. and 8 varieties. One new variety and two new combinations are validated. All of the spp. occur in Mexico, and just two (according to the author) extend south from Guatemala. No taxa are here reported from Costa Rica, though Ipomoea capillacea (Kunth) G. Don is attributed to both Nicaragua and Panama. Nonetheless, we have Costa Rican records for both I. capillacea and I. ternifolia Cav. on the Manual data-base. Key, maps, descriptions, exsiccatae; no illustrations.
Taylor, C. M. 1995. New species and combinations in Rubiaceae from Costa Rica and Panama. Novon 5: 201-207.
The following new spp. are described from Costa Rica: Manettia longipedicellata C. M. Taylor, widespread in the Atlantic lowlands; Pentagonia lobata C. M. Taylor, from the Golfo Dulce region; Psychotria burgeri C. M. Taylor and Rudgea laevis C. M. Taylor, from the Monteverde region; and Psychotria saltatrix C. M. Taylor, from Zurquí, Tapantí, and southward to Colombia. Line-drawings are provided for all the above novelties.
Tjaden, W. L. 1995. Regarding gender and number of generic names supposedly ending in -anthema. Taxon 44: 213-216.
The only affected name on our data-base is Trianthema L. (Aizoaceae). The author's conclusion that it should be corrected to Trianthemum (as per Chrysanthemum) seems totally undermined by Dan Nicolson's editorial note expressing a contrary opinion. Where titans clash over such trivial matters, we go with the status quo; Trianthema shall prevail in our court.