Classification of the North American species of Atriplex section Obione (Chenopodiaceae) based on numerical taxonomic analysis

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Abstract:

North America is one of three main centers of species endemism for Atriplex, one of the largest genera in Chenopodiaceae. The monoecious herbaceous plants with Kranz anatomy, bibracteolate pistillate flowers lacking a perianth, cuneate to obovate fruiting bracteoles (usually broadest above the middle and connate at least to the middle), and erect seeds with superior radicles have been classified in Atriplex section Obione, which contains 32 species in North America. A numerical taxonomic analysis of the 32 species of the section, based on 30 morphological characters, was carried out to evaluate existing infra-sectional classifications. The phenetic analyses (cluster and ordination) suggest recognition of seven subsections, four of which are monotypic (Graciliflorae, Leucophyllae, Powellianae, and Truncatae). The largest group contains all species previously considered as the "pentandra group", here recognized as subsection Arenariae. Another cluster includes A. cordulata, A. depressa, A. parishii, A. pusilla, A. tularensis, and A. wolfii, supporting the recognition of subsection Pusillae. Another cluster suggests recognition of subsection Argenteae, including A. argentea and A. saccaria, which where considered previosusly as monotypic subsections. Atriplex hillmanii is left as incertae sedis, its relationship with A. truncata needing further clarification.

Keywords: ATRIPLEX SECT OBIONE; CHENOPODIACEAE; CLASSIFICATION; NORTH AMERICA; PHENETICS

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Departamento de Botánica, Instituto de Biología, UNAM, Apartado Postal 70-367, 04510 México, D. F., México.

Publication date: May 1, 2003

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