Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 291, Issue 3–4, pp 211–220 | Cite as

Chromosome numbers in the genus Mimosa L.: cytotaxonomic and evolutionary implications

  • Nair Dahmer
  • Marcelo F. Simon
  • Maria Teresa Schifino-Wittmann
  • Colin E. Hughes
  • Silvia Teresinha Sfoggia Miotto
  • Julio Cesar Giuliani
Original Article


Chromosome numbers were determined for 125 accessions of 92 taxa of Mimosa from all five of Barneby’s (Mem New York Bot Gard 65:1–835, 1991) taxonomic sections. For 69 species, 1 subspecies and 8 varieties, chromosome numbers are presented for the first time, for 6 species and 1 variety previously published data have been confirmed and for 3 species and 2 varieties different numbers were found. Results show that 74% of the accessions were diploid (2n = 2x = 26) and 26% polyploid, these mostly tetraploid (2n = 4x = 52) but with two triploid (2n = 3x = 39). These results double the number of Mimosa species for which the chromosome count is known from less than 10% previously reported to more than 20%, representing an important advance in the cytotaxonomy of this legume genus. These results together with literature data show that ca. 78% of Mimosa species are diploid. Polyploids are present in most of the taxonomic sections and in different lineages across the genus. No particular chromosome number is restricted to a given section or lineage. A possible relation between geography, species distribution, polyploidy and invasiveness was detected, however, further studies based on more accessions, especially from higher latitudes, are required before firm conclusions can be drawn.


Mimosa Chromosome numbers Cytotaxonomy Evolution Intraspecific variability Leguminosae 



We thank CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, Brazil) for a PhD grant to the first author and financial support and the Millenium Seed Bank of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Euan James, Sergio de Faria, Joan Sutherland, Tiina Sarkinen, Carolyn Proença, Rosaura Grether, Sara Camargo-Ricalde, John Wood, Chris Fagg and Luciano de Queiroz for provision of samples and assistance in the field.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nair Dahmer
    • 1
  • Marcelo F. Simon
    • 2
  • Maria Teresa Schifino-Wittmann
    • 1
  • Colin E. Hughes
    • 3
    • 4
  • Silvia Teresinha Sfoggia Miotto
    • 5
  • Julio Cesar Giuliani
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Plantas Forrageiras e Agrometeorologia, Faculdade de AgronomiaUFRGSPorto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.EMBRAPA Recursos Genéticos e BiotecnologiaBrasíliaBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Plant SciencesUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  4. 4.Institut für Systematische BotanikZurichSwitzerland
  5. 5.Departamento de BotânicaInstituto de BiociênciasPorto AlegreBrazil

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