Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 224, Issue 1, pp 97-107

First online:

Morphological and molecular concordance for the recognition of two species in the New ZealandPolystichum richardii (Hook.) J. Smith complex

  • L. R. PerrieAffiliated withInstitute of Molecular BioSciences, Massey University
  • , P. J. LockhartAffiliated withInstitute of Molecular BioSciences, Massey University
  • , P. J. BrownseyAffiliated withMuseum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa
  • , M. F. LargeAffiliated withInstitute of Molecular BioSciences, Massey University

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The New Zealand fernPolystichum richardii is shown to comprise at least two evolutionary lineages. A narrow-scaled morphological form and a wide-scaled morphological form are recognised. Principal Component Analysis of a set of frond, soral and spore characters supports this morphological separation. Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism (AFLP) DNA fingerprinting shows that the two morphological forms are also genetically distinct. They are sympatric across a broad area of central New Zealand, and often grow together without apparent ecological separation at the local level. Both are known to form sterile hybrids withP. vestitum, suggesting that both morphological forms ofP. richardii are at least partially outcrossing. The morphological and genetic distinctiveness of these two morphological forms, combined with their sympatric distributions and their (at least partially) outcrossing mating systems, merits their recognition as separate species.

Key words

Polystichum richardii AFLP DNA fingerprinting fern systematics morphological and molecular concordance sympatric species concepts New Zealand