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Open Access Reassessment of the taxonomic status of Oxalis fabaefolia (Oxalidaceae) and the description of a unique variety of Oxalis flava from the Northern Cape Province of South Africa

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Southern African Oxalis taxonomy is complicated by tremendous morphological variation. The widely distributed Oxalis flava, for example, currently contains eight morphologically distinct forms. The remaining members of sect. Crassulae display morphological characters distinctive enough to retain specific status, despite resemblance to forms of the broadly defined O. flava. Recent collection of a taxon with strong morphological affinities to species in sect. Crassulae generated much interest. In this study we assess the placement of this new taxon to members of sect. Crassulae based on analyses of DNA sequence data of the Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) region and morphological comparisons. Results show that most members of sect. Crassulae are distantly related to O. flava. However, our morphological and molecular data strongly suggested that the newly collected taxon represents yet another form of O. flava. In addition, these data show O. fabaefolia to be nested within O. flava, suggesting that it should be synonymised under this broadly defined species. Both the new taxon and O. fabaefolia display unique morphological characters, allowing them to be considered separate subspecific taxa of O. flava. Thus the taxa O. flava var. fabaefolia and O. flava var. unifoliolata are here proposed.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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  • Blumea is an international journal on the biodiversity, evolution and biogeography of plants, including topics on systematics, floristics, phylogeny, morphology and anatomy. For floristic studies, the focus is on tropical Africa south of the Sahara, tropical Southeast Asia with a strong emphasis on Malesia, and South America with emphasis on the Guianas. Papers in Blumea are subjected to peer review and are in English. Blumea is published three times a year, comprising c. 300 pages in total.
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