Searching for diamonds in the apomictic rough: a case study involving Boechera lignifera (Brassicaceae)

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Windham, Michael D.
Beck, James B.
Li, Fay-Wei
Allphin, Loreen
Carman, John G.
Sherwood, David A.
Rushworth, Catherine A.
Sigel, Erin
Alexander, Patrick J.
Bailey, C. Donovan

Windham, Michael D.; Beck, James B.; Li, Fay-Wei; Allphin, Loreen; Carman, John G.; Sherwood, David A.; Rushworth, Catherine A.; Sigel, Erin; Alexander, Patrick J.; Bailey, C. Donovan; Al-Shehbaz, Ihsan A. 2016. Searching for diamonds in the apomictic rough: a case study involving Boechera lignifera (Brassicaceae). Systematic Botany, vol. 40:no. 4, January 2016:pp. 1031-1044(14)


The genus Boechera is one of the most difficult species complexes in North America, with about 70 sexual diploids and hundreds of apomictic taxa representing diverse combinations of nearly every known sexual genome. In this study, we set out to clarify the taxonomy of Boechera lignifera, which currently includes a small number of sexual diploid populations in addition to the widespread apomictic diploid upon which the name is based. Using data from cytological studies, microsatellite DNA analyses, geography, and morphology, we demonstrate that the apomictic populations are genetically quite divergent from the sexual diploids. We propose the name Boechera kelseyana to accommodate the sexual diploid taxon, which occurs entirely south of the geographic range of B. lignifera. Boechera kelseyana is consistently separable from B. lignifera based on pollen and seed morphology, the length and proximal orientation of fruiting pedicels, differences in the branching and orientation of trichomes on the lowers stems, and the number of flowers and cauline leaves on unbranched fertile stems.

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