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A Campanulaceous Fate: the Albanian Stenoendemic Asyneuma comosiforme in fact Belongs to Isophyllous Campanula

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The Balkan Peninsula is one of the few biodiversity hotspots in Europe, characterized by numerous endemic taxa. Due to their often-restricted distribution and the scarcity of modern phylogenetic and phylogeographic studies from this region, the phylogenetic position and taxonomy of these species are often poorly understood. One example is Asyneuma comosiforme, a stenoendemic species known only from the Shija Gorge in northeastern Albania. Since its description in 1921, the position of this poorly known species within Asyneuma has been questioned. Here, we use nuclear ITS and plastid trnLtrnF DNA sequence data to address the question of the phylogenetic position of this enigmatic species. The inferred phylogenies clearly support A. comosiforme as sister to the main clade of isophyllous Campanula species, which is supported by morphological and ecological similarities. Thus, a new nomenclatural combination, Campanula comosiformis, is proposed. Given the restricted distribution, this species should be considered at least vulnerable, but the small population size might warrant its classification as endangered.


Document Type: Regular Paper


Publication date: 2009-07-01

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