Phylogeny and taxonomy of the bluebell genus Hyacinthoides, Asparagaceae [Hyacinthaceae]

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A robust phylogeny for the genus Hyacinthoides (bluebells) was established using cpDNA sequences and evaluated in light of a re-assessment of morphological diversity, cytology, distribution patterns and field observations. The genus is distributed in the western Mediterranean–Atlantic region and the northern African mountains. Within this area, there is a major divide between an eastern and western clade, each of them with their own radiations, mainly in autumn-winter flowering taxa in northern Africa and spring flowering taxa in the Iberian Peninsula. We now recognise eleven taxa and one hybrid taxon, which are separated into five clades. Polyploidy is confined to the H. non-scriptahispanica clade with diploid and triploid taxa as well as a newly recognized tetraploid taxon. For the eleven taxa, distribution ranges, taxonomy, morphology, descriptions and a new key are presented. The nomenclatural history of the genus has been reviewed. Generitypes have been designated for Hyacinthoides Heist. ex Fabr. and Endymion Dumort. and lectotypes selected for four species, three of which are combined for the first time in Hyacinthoides: H. cedretorum, H. ciliolata and H. flahaultiana. Several important questions worthy of further investigation, such as evolutionary processes and their major drivers, e.g. environmental change in the Mediterranean basin, flower morphology and associated pollinators, or sympatric versus allopatric speciation have come into sharper focus through this phylogenetic investigation.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Botany, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, U.K. 2: Royal Botanic Garden, 20A Inverleith Row, Edinburgh EH3 5LR, Scotland, U.K. 3: Laboratorio de Botánica, Facultade de Farmacia, Universidade de Santiago, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Publication date: February 1, 2010



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