Deciphering the sexual diploid members of the Boechera suffrutescens complex (Brassicaceae, Boechereae)

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Morin, David P.
Alexander, Patrick J.
Beck, James B.
Windham, Michael D.
Bailey, C. Donovan

Morin DP, Alexander PJ, Beck JB, Windham MD, Bailey CD (2018) Deciphering the sexual diploid members of the Boechera suffrutescens complex (Brassicaceae, Boechereae). PhytoKeys 98: 15-50


Boechera is a model genus that is of particular interest for understanding apomixis due to the presence of numerous apomictic diploid lineages that are tightly correlated with hybridisation events. Boechera includes many narrowly distributed endemics and apomictic hybrid lineages that obscure morphological boundaries amongst taxa. In this study, we focus on the Boechera suffrutescens complex, a phylogenetically well-supported but taxonomically complex north-western United States Glade whose diploid species currently include the widespread B. suffrutescens and two narrowly distributed serpentine endemics, B. constancei and B. mild. Using a 15-locus microsatellite dataset, we infer ploidy and sexual vs. apomictic reproduction for all individuals and then assess species limits for all sexual diploid samples. Our results support the recognition of B. rollei and B. constancei as distinct species and reveal three divergent sexual diploid lineages within B. suffrutescens sensu lato. The latter three lineages exhibit geographic, genetic and morphological coherence and consequently warrant recognition at the species rank. These include Boechera suffrutescens s.s., which is restricted to Idaho and eastern Oregon, Boechera botulifructa, a newly described species distributed along the Cascade Mountain Province from Lassen County, California north to Deschutes County, Oregon and the heretofore dismissed species Boechera duriuscula (basionym = Arabis duriuscula), which occurs along the Sierra Nevada Province from Plumas County southwards to Fresno County, California. Our data also reveal substructure in B. constancei that is likely attributable to the highly fragmented distribution of its serpentine habitat. This refined taxonomic framework for the B. suffrutescens complex enhances Boechera as a model system, adds to our knowledge of speciation in edaphically extreme environments and provides information on ongoing conservation efforts for these taxa.

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