Evolution, phylogeography, and taxonomy within the Viola alba complex (Violaceae)
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Taxa of the Viola alba complex were investigated using allozymes and morphometry. A taxonomic revision is presented. A wide delimitation of V. alba with only three morphological and geographical subspecies is suggested: (1) ssp. dehnhardtii distributed in the Mediterranean eastwards to Turkey; (2) ssp. alba flanking ssp. dehnhardtii in the north and east; and (3) ssp. cretica endemic to Crete. Ssp. cretica, up to now treated as a separate species, is particularly close to ssp. dehnhardtii. Viola cadevallii (NW Mediterranean) is included in the synonymy of ssp. dehnhardtii. Ssp. scotophylla (S Europe), ssp. thessala (Balkan), V. armena (Turkey), and V. besseri (Caucasus) are reduced to synonyms of V. alba ssp. alba. Viola pentelica (Greece) might represent transitional forms between ssp. alba and ssp. dehnhardtii. Glacial refugia for ssp. alba are suggested from the eastern Mediterranean via Turkey to the Caucasus, for ssp. dehnhardtii in the Mediterranean area in general, and for ssp. cretica in Crete. A key to the subspecies is provided. Taxonomic recombination: Viola alba Bess. ssp. cretica (Boiss. & Heldr.) Marcussen, comb. nov.
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