Morphology corroborates DNA sequence data in the species-level recognition of Gaultheria trichophylla var. tetracme (Ericaceae)

  • Peter W. Fritsch Botanical Research Institute of Texas
  • Lu Lu Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Plant Germplasm and Genomics Center; Germplasm Bank of Wild Species, Kunming Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of Sciences and School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Yunnan Key Laboratory of Pharmacology for Natural Products, Kunming Medical University
  • Ming-Ying Zhang Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Plant Germplasm and Genomics Center; Germplasm Bank of Wild Species, Kunming Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Hong Wang Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Plant Germplasm and Genomics Center; Germplasm Bank of Wild Species, Kunming Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • De-Zhu Li Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Plant Germplasm and Genomics Center; Germplasm Bank of Wild Species, Kunming Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of Sciences
Keywords: China, Ericaceae, Gaultheria, Gaultheria series Trichophyllae, Himalaya-Hengduan Mountains, new species

Abstract

Gaultheria trichophylla var. tetracme of G. series Trichophyllae (Ericaceae) has been distinguished from the nominate variety of G. trichophylla by the presence of two awns on each anther theca (versus one). Phylogenetic data based on plastid DNA sequences placed G. t. var. tetracme in a different clade than the nominate variety with strong statistical support, suggesting that G. trichophylla is not monophyletic. To investigate this further, we studied the morphology of these two taxa in the field and with herbarium material. We found that G. t. var. tetracme differs substantially from the nominate variety in morphology, not only by the number of anther awns, but also the larger size of many features, e.g., plant height, leaves, and pedicels, a greater number of leaf marginal setae, and a distinct geographic range. On this basis, we elevate G. t. var. tetracme to the species level as Gaultheria tetracme, endemic to the Hengduan Shan in Sichuan Province, China. We note the wide morphological variation in the remainder of G. trichophylla and indicate specific problems that should be investigated in more detail for better understanding the taxonomy of this species.

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Published
2017-11-29
How to Cite
Fritsch, P. W., Lu , L., Zhang, M.-Y., Wang, H., & Li, D.-Z. (2017). Morphology corroborates DNA sequence data in the species-level recognition of Gaultheria trichophylla var. tetracme (Ericaceae). Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, 11(2), 343-349. Retrieved from https://journals.brit.org/jbrit/article/view/1074

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