Phytotaxa 376 (1): 037–042
Copyright © 2018 Magnolia Press Article PHYTOTAXA
ISSN 1179-3155 (print edition)
ISSN 1179-3163 (online edition)
Accepted by Samuli Lehtonen: 19 Oct. 2018; published: 15 Nov. 2018
Monstera limitaris (Araceae), a new species from the border between Costa Rica
MARCO CEDEÑO-FONSECA1,2*, ADAM P. KARREMANS3,4 & ORLANDO O. ORTIZ5
1Programa de Posgrado en Biología / Herbario Luis Fournier Origgi (USJ), Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica.
2Instituto Agropecuario Costarricense, Escuela Técnica Agrícola e Industrial, 21002 Santa Clara.
3Jardín Botánico Lankester / Escuela de Biología. Universidad de Costa Rica, P. O. Box 302-7050 Cartago, Costa Rica.
4Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Endless Forms Group, Sylviusweg 72, Leiden 2333 BE, The Netherlands.
5Herbario PMA, Universidad de Panamá, Estafeta Universitaria, Panama City, Republic of Panama.
*author for correspondence: email@example.com
Species of genus Monstera are among the most representative hemi-epiphytic Araceae in the Neotropics. They are widely
distributed and abundant in the tropical forests of Costa Rica and Panama. During recent exploration in the border region
between the two countries, an undescribed species belonging to the genus has been identified. The new species, Mostera
limitaris, is described and illustrated here, using a color plate based on photographs of the vegetative and reproductive struc-
tures of live material.
Key words: Central America, fieldwork, Monstera, Monsteroideae, taxonomy
Araceae (Jussieu 1789: 23) is a family of herbaceous plants, mainly with tropical distribution and with highest diversity
in Asia and tropical America (Croat 1998). It includes approximately 144 genera and 3645 species (Cabrera et al. 2008;
Boyce & Croat 2018). In Central America, where the diversity of species is mainly concentrated in Costa Rica and
Panama (Croat 2017), 778 species in 23 genera are reported. In Costa Rica, the family is represented by 20 genera
and 249 species (Grayum 2003); while, in Panama, there are about 436 species in 26 genera (Ortiz et al. 2018). The
species of Araceae in both countries are broadly distributed and considered abundant, mainly found growing in the
very humid tropical lowland forest and cloud forest. The most representative genera are Anthurium Schott (1829: 828),
Philodendron Schott (1829: 780) and Monstera Adanson (1763: 470).
Monstera belongs to subfamily Monsteroideae and tribe Monstereae (Cusimano et al. 2011, 2012). It is
exclusively Neotropical and represents an abundant hemi-epiphytic group with broad distribution in the mountainous
ecosystems of Costa Rica and Panama (Madison 1977; Zuluaga & Cameron 2018). The most recent taxonomic study
comprising the genus reports 22 species in Costa Rica (Grayum 2003). Similarly, in Panama 23 species of Monstera
are reported (Ortiz et al. 2018). Despite the relatively recent revisions (Madison 1977; Grayum 2003), Monstera is
considered the least understood genus of Araceae (Grayum 2003). The wide infraspecific variation makes it challenging
to identify herbarium specimens using traditional diagnostic morphological features (Madison 1977; Grayum 2003).
Field studies of living material is therefore a necessary complement to understand and circumscribe species of Monstera
Whilst preparing a revision of Monstera for Costa Rica, an unnamed species from the border of Costa Rica and
Panama was discovered. It is formally described and illustrated here.
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38 • Phytotaxa 376 (1) © 2018 Magnolia Press
Materials and methods
Fieldwork was carried out in Costa Rica and Panama in 2017 and 2018. The material was prepared according to
Croat (1985). Herbarium specimens were compared with the collections at USJ, CR, PMA and MO. The descriptive
terminology follows Madison (1977). The methodology used by Lankester Botanical Garden for the documentation of
the Orchidaceae Jussieu (1789: 64) was used and modified for Monstera (Pupulin & Bogarín 2004). Color photographs
of each of the vegetative and reproductive structures are presented in order to compare key features of the species that
may be difficult to observe in herbarium specimens due to fragmentation. The acronyms of all herbaria mentioned are
according to Thiers (2018). An estimation of the conservation status was made based on the criteria of the International
Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN 2001).
Monstera limitaris M. Cedeño, sp. nov. (Fig. 1)
Monstera limitaris is characterized by having leaves with verruculose petioles at base, semi-persistent and convolute sheaths, crenate
geniculum margins, blades with pinnatifid margins and fenestrations along the midrib as well as by the white-yellowish acuminate
spathe, a creamy-white spadix and flowers with lateral-flattened stigmatophore and linear stigma which have a colorless stigmatic
Type: COSTA RICA. Puntarenas: Corredores. Canoas. Barrio el Triunfo, margen del Río, 8°33’56,45”N, 82°51’15,48”W, 130 m, 27
de septiembre 2017, M. Cedeño, I. Chinchilla A.P. Karremans & G. Rojas-Alvarado 1129 (holotype: USJ!, mounted on 2 sheets;
isotype: PMA!, mounted on 2 sheets).
Appressed-climber epiphyte herbs. Seedling terrestrial. Juvenile plant with stems adpressed to the host (without blades
adhered to the substrate of the phorophyte), stem light green with internodes 3–4 cm long, 4–10 mm diam. Adult plant
appressed-climber; Stem terete, brown or beige, internodes 2–3 cm long, 1.5–3.5 cm diam. Roots dimorphic; anchor
roots brown, 2–3 cm long; feeder roots light beige, suberous. Leaves numerous, erect or almost erect; petioles whitish,
30–55 cm long, 0.5–1.5 cm diam., dark-brownish verruculose on the base, smooth towards the base of the geniculum,
sheathed along its entire length; sheaths semi-persistent, convolute, ligule 2–4 mm long; geniculum with undulate
margins, 3–4.5 cm long concave, smooth, abaxially sulcate, adaxially convex; blades sub-ovate to sub-orbicular,
oblique, cordate to obtuse at base, acuminate at apex, thinly coriaceous, 35–55 × 20–35 cm, decurrent onto geniculum,
with 5–7 undulations of 3–5 mm wide, pinnatifid, the pinnae 3–6 in number on each side; midrib sulcate on the upper
surface, convex on the lower surface; primary lateral veins 17–23 per side, bifurcated or trifurcated, sunken above,
raised below; tertiary veins reticulated; collective veins prominent; fenestrate usually on both sides, the fenestrae to
within 0.2–1.3 mm from the midrib. Inflorescences in ascending stems, 1–3 simultaneously in time of flowering,
axillary or subtended by a greenish prophylls; peduncle smooth, 10–15 cm long; spathe 13–18 × 6–10 cm, thin, white
at pre-anthesis, white-yellowish externally and white internally at anthesis, open at the apical part forming a tube in
the basal region, deciduous after the antesis; spadix 9–12 cm long, 1–2.5 cm diam., white at pre-anthesis, cream at
anthesis; flowers 5–6 mm long; ovary 4–5 × 2–3 mm, rectangular and ribbed; style 1–3 × 4–5 mm, hexagonal; stigma
1–2 mm long, linear, stigmatophore lateral-flattened, stigmatic secretion colorless; stamens 4–8 mm long, filament
laminar, 2–5 mm long, anther 2–3 mm; sterile flowers not decurrent on the peduncle, 3–5 mm long. Infrutescence
erect, fruiting spadix 10–12 cm long, 2–2.5 cm diam.; stylar cap greenish at post-anthesis, white cream at maturity;
berries with white pulp; seeds 4–6 mm, lung-shape, black.
Eponymy:—The name limitaris, from the Latin “limitis”, refers to a border or boundary, alluding to the type
locality, which is on the Costa Rica and Panama border.
Distribution and habitat:—Monstera limitaris is known only from the border between Costa Rica (Puntarenas
province) and Panama (Chiriquí province) (Fig. 3). The collection sites consist of isolated trees in open agricultural
areas (potreros), on the banks of a small rivers.
Phenology:—Flowering was registered in October and May. Fruiting was registered between October and
Conservation status:—Monstera limitaris is restricted to isolated populations in a small geographic area. The
habitat where it grows, in both countries, is strongly impacted by human activities, especially due to agricultural
expansion. We consider it in the CR B2ab (ii, iii, iv, v) category according to the IUCN Red List Criteria.
MONSTERA LIMITARIS Phytotaxa 376 (1) © 2018 Magnolia Press • 39
FIGURE 1. Lankester Composite Dissection Plate (LCDP) of Monstera limitaris sp. nov. A. Inflorescence development: B. Frontal and
back part-opened inflorescence: C. Infructescence (detachment styling cape): D. Seeds: E. Complete flower (left); cross-section flower
(right): F. style and stigma (left); Anther (right): G. Sterile flowers: H. Adult plant: I. seedling.
CEDEÑO-FONSECA ET AL.
40 • Phytotaxa 376 (1) © 2018 Magnolia Press
FIGURE 2. Comparison between Monstera limitaris (A–D), and M. dissecta (E–H). A. Adult plant. B. Brown stem. C. Flower (left);
flower in cross section (right). D. Geniculum with crenate margins (upper arrow) and petiole with semi-persistent sheath (lower arrow). E.
Adult plant. F. Green stem. G. Geniculum with entire margins (upper arrow) and petiole with persistent sheath (lower arrow). H. Flower
(left); flower in cross section (right).
MONSTERA LIMITARIS Phytotaxa 376 (1) © 2018 Magnolia Press • 41
Additional specimens examined (paratypes):—PANAMÁ. Chiriquí: distrito de Alanje, Las Moras, creciendo
en cerca viva en terrenos semi-inundable, 20 m, 8°21’46’’ N, 82°35’49’’ W, 6 Junio 2018, M. de Stapf 1307 (PMA!,
MO!, USJ!, FT!).
Discussion:—According to the classification of Madison (1977), Monstera limitaris must be included in the
section Monstera, by having exserted leaves during early juvenile phase as well as for its slender pistils and small
seeds. Monstera limitaris (Fig. 1, 2) is similar to Monstera dissecta (Schott, 1858: 179) Croat & Grayum (1987:
659) (Fig. 2), but the latter species differs in having leaves with smooth petioles (not verruculose) with persistent and
revolute sheaths, non-crenate geniculum margins, blades with entire to pinnatifid margins without fenestrations along
the midrib, a yellow-cream spathe externally, semi-conical stigmatophore and orange stigmatic secretion (Table 1; Fig.
Monstera limitaris is used by local people for flower arrangements during the religious festivities. The
leaves and the inflorescences are placed in all the churches of the town, during the festivities.
FIGURE 3. Distribution map of Monstera limitaris in Costa Rica (red circle, Puntarenas Province; holotype M. Cedeño et al. 1129) and
Panama (black star, Chiriqui Province; paratype M. de Stapf 1307).
TABLE 1. Characters distinguishing Monstera limitaris from M. dissecta (also see Fig. 2)
M. limitaris M. dissecta
Petiole surface Verruculose Smooth
Sheaths Semi-persistent and convolute Persistent and revolute
Blade margins Pinnatifid Entire to pinnatifid
Fenestrations along the midrib Present Absent
Geniculum margins Crenate Entire
Spathe color (externally) White-yellowish Yellow-cream
Stigmatophore shape Linear, lateral-flattened Semi-conical
Stigmatic secretion color Colorless Orange
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We wish to thank the director of the Herbarium of the University of Costa Rica (USJ), Alfredo Cascante Marín, for
allowing access to the specimens. As well as Christian Trejos who providing access to their database. Director Mario
Blanco, and the staff at Lankester Botanical Garden are thanked for allowing the cultivation of living plants. We owe
gratitude to María de Stapf (director of PMA Herbarium) for providing photographs and information on the folk-uses
of the species described. Isler Chinchilla and Gustavo Rojas-Alvarado are thanked for their help in the field. Jerry
Harrison is thanked for the help in editing the texts. Diego Herrera Castillo and Lilliana Miranda Reyes for their
help with elaboration of the map. Two anonymous reviewers are thanked for their insightful suggestions that greatly
improved the manuscript. We are in debt with the Vice-Presidency of Research of the University of Costa Rica for
providing support through diverse research projects. We are thankful to the Ministerio del Ambiente y Energía de
Costa Rica (MINAE) and its Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación (SINAC) for issuing the scientific permits
under which wild specimens were collected.
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