Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 204, Issue 3, pp 233-256

First online:

Hybridization and evolution inCardamine (Brassicaceae) at Urnerboden, Central Switzerland: Biosystematic and molecular evidence

  • Krystyna M. UrbanskaAffiliated withGeobotanical Institute SFIT Zürich
  • , Herbert HurkaAffiliated withSystematic Botany, University of Osnabrück
  • , Elias LandoltAffiliated withGeobotanical Institute SFIT Zürich
  • , Barbara NeufferAffiliated withSystematic Botany, University of Osnabrück
  • , Klaus MummenhoffAffiliated withSystematic Botany, University of Osnabrück

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Hybridization between two diploid (2n = 2x = 16) species ofBrassicaceae, Cardamine rivularis andC. amara, at Urnerboden, Central Switzerland, resulted in the rather unusual triploid hybridC. insueta (2n = 3x = 24), and later on in the amphiploidC. schulzii (2n = 6x = 48). The hybrid and the neopolyploid species colonized successfully some man-made biotopes. Plants ofC. insueta are mostly functional females with non-dehiscent anthers, but true hermaphrodite individuals with partly sterile pollen grains also occur within the population. Analyses of cpDNA and nuclear DNA permitted to establish the parentage of the hybrid: the maternal parent which contributed unreduced egg cells proved to beC. rivularis whereas the normally reduced pollen originated fromC. amara. The pronounced genetic variability inC. insueta revealed by isozyme and RAPD analyses, at variance with the polarized segregation, heterogamy and strong vegetative reproduction of the hybrid, is possibly influenced by recurrent formation ofC. insueta which party results from backcrosses betweenC. insueta andC. rivularis but may also proceed by other pathways. The amphiploidCardamine schulzii has normally developed anthers but its pollen is sometimes highly sterile. The surprisingly uniform genetic make-up of the new amphiploid species might be related to its possible monotopic origin and/or young phylogenetic age but should be further assessed. Site management seems to be very important to a further development of hybridogenous populations and their parent species. In conclusion, the evolution at Urnerboden is discussed in the context of the traditional concept of multiple plant origins.

Key words

Brassicaceae Cardamine amara C. ×insueta C. rivularis C. schulzii Hybridization evolution amphiploidy introgression cpDNA isozymes RAPD