Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 206, Issue 1, pp 295–316

Evolutionary processes in the genusCapsella (Brassicaceae)

  • Herbert Hurka
  • Barbara Neuffer

DOI: 10.1007/BF00987954

Cite this article as:
Hurka, H. & Neuffer, B. Pl Syst Evol (1997) 206: 295. doi:10.1007/BF00987954


Capsella comprises diploid (C. grandiflora andC. rubella) and tetraploid taxa. It is argued that the tetraploidC. bursa-pastoris is of intraspecific origin despite disomic inheritance and “fixed heterozygosity”. It is of considerable age as evidenced by the fossil record and molecular data. Gene duplication by polyploidization and a mixed mating system provided the genetic flexibility for greatest colonizing success. Pronounced variation patterns at a micro- and macrogeographic scale are observed inC. bursa-pastoris for many characters including life history traits, leaf morphology and allozymes. This variation pattern can be explained by several components comprising phylogenetic age, random processes, ecotypic variation and colonization history. The adaptive strategy ofC. bursa-pastoris cannot be assigned to either ecotypic differentiation or phenotypic plasticity alone. It depends on the trait under study.

Key words

Brassicaceae Capsella Systematics speciation polyploidization colonizing ability life history traits molecular data adaptive strategies colonizing history 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Herbert Hurka
    • 1
  • Barbara Neuffer
    • 1
  1. 1.Spezielle Botanik, Fachbereich Biologie/ChemieUniversität OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany

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