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Cryptic taxa should have names: Reflections in the glasswort genus Salicornia (Amaranthaceae)

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Incongruence between morphology and molecules, i.e., genetic differentiation of lineages that are morphologically identical, or morphological variation among accessions sharing identical genotypes, has been increasingly reported and is most problematic in taxa with reduced morphologies. We here review and discuss these issues for plant taxonomy, taking Salicornia, one of the taxonomically most challenging genera of angiosperms, as a model. We argue in favour of a taxonomic system that remains as much 'workable' as possible for traditional morphology-based taxonomy, but avoids merging genetically widely divergent lineages despite their morphological similarity. Our revised classification of Eurasian taxa includes four species, ten subspecies and one nothosubspecies. The molecular and morphological characteristics as well as the geographical distribution of each taxon are described. A key to the Eurasian taxa based on morphology and geographical distribution is presented.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institut für Allgemeine Botanik, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, 55099 Mainz, Germany;, Email: 2: Botanical Museum, Finnish Museum of Natural History, P.O. Box 7, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland 3: Université de Liège, Institut de Botanique, B22 Sart Tilman, 4000 Liège, Belgium

Publication date: 2012-12-14

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