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Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 241, Issue 1–2, pp 115–123 | Cite as

Taxonomic implications of genome size and pollen colour and vitality for species of Agapanthus L’Héritier (Agapanthaceae)

  • B. J. M. Zonneveld
  • G. D. Duncan
Article

Abstract

Nuclear DNA content (2C) and pollen vitality and colour are used as new criteria to investigate all species of the genus Agapanthus L’Héritier. The species have the same chromosome number (2n=2x=30), with exception of four triploid plants found. The nuclear DNA content of the diploids, as measured by flow cytometry with propidium iodide, is demonstrated to range from 22.1–31.6 pg. This implies that the largest genome contains roughly 1010 more base pairs than the smallest. The species could be divided in two groups based on pollen colour and DNA content: a group with lilac pollen and a DNA content between 22.3 and 24.1 pg containing the species A. campanulatus Leighton, A. caulescens Sprenger and the rarer A. coddii Leighton, and a group with yellow/brownish pollen and a DNA content from 25.2–31.6 pg containing the species A. praecox Willd., A. inapertus Beauv. and A. africanus (L.) Hoffmanns. Four other taxa, recognized by Leighton (1965) are treated as follows: A. comptonii Leighton, has a nuclear DNA content similar to A. praecox and is considered to be a synonym of A. praecox subsp. minimus Leighton. A. walshii L. Bol., has with 31.6 pg the same high amount of DNA as A. africanus from the same area and is therefore renamed as a subspecies (A. africanus subsp. walshii (Leighton) Zonn. & Duncan comb. nov.). The nuclear DNA amounts of A. dyeri Leighton, including the geographically isolated plants from Mozambique, are shown to be identical to A. inapertus. Therefore A. dyeri is considered synonymous with A. inapertus subsp. intermedius Leighton. A. nutans Leighton is identical in DNA content to A. caulescens and is considered to be synonymous with that species. Concluding there are six species: A. campanulatus Leighton, A. caulescens Sprenger, A. coddii Leighton, A. praecox Willd., A. inapertus Beauv. and A. africanus (L.) Hoffmanns. Nuclear DNA content as measured by flow cytometry and pollen colour are shown to be relevant traits to throw light on the relationships between Agapanthus species.

Keywords

Agapanthus Taxonomy DNA content flow cytometry 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of BiologyLeiden UniversityThe Netherlands
  2. 2.National Botanical InstituteKirstenbosch Botanical GardenSouth Africa

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