Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 166, Issue 1–2, pp 11–30 | Cite as

Biosystematics of two sympatric species ofEucharis (Amaryllidaceae)

  • Alan W. Meerow


Eucharis candida andE. formosa are two often sympatric species of bulbous geophytes restricted to neotropical rain forest understory. The species are most common in eastern Ecuador, and are the only two east Ecuadorean species of the genus found north of the Pastaza valley. Data from phenetic, karyotypic, and preliminary isozyme electrophoretic analyses of both species are represented. The species are distinguishable phenetically and karyologically, but isozyme-based relationships are more complex. Phenetic resolution of the isozyme phenotypes supports recognition of two species in Ecuador. A Peruvian isolate ofE. formosa, though not morphologically distinct, shows both allozyme and chromosomal divergence from Ecuadorean populations. Cladistic relationships based on overall allozyme data do not support species distinction, but a novel electrophoretic phenotype for glutathione reductase is shared only by individuals ofE. candida. An apparent geographic component within the monophyletic groups resolved in the cladogram suggests that some degree of gene flow between these two species has been maintained without the complete loss of morpholgoical species identity. This may have been mediated either by artificial population structures due to a probable long history of cultivation, or via Pleistocene refugia effects. Both species may have originated in eastern Ecuador from a common ancestral population which has since radiated outward, perhaps several times.

Key words

Angiosperms monocotyledons Amaryllidaceae Eucharis Phenetics chromosome morphology isozyme electrophoresis speciation sibling species 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan W. Meerow
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Research and Education CenterUniversity of Florida-IFASFt. LauderdaleUSA
  2. 2.Fairchild Tropical GardenMiamiUSA

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