Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 298, Issue 7, pp 1349–1360 | Cite as

A diploid drop in the tetraploid ocean: hybridization and long-term survival of a singular population of Centaurea weldeniana Rchb. (Asteraceae), a taxon new to Austria

  • Petr Koutecký
Original Article


A population of Centaurea weldeniana was discovered recently near Wien (Vienna). The species is reported from Austria for the first time. Determination is confirmed by morphometric analysis of Central European and additional Balkan material of the C. jacea agg. and karyological data. All sampled populations of C. weldeniana are diploid, while only tetraploids have been reported from Central Europe within the C. jacea agg. so far. Detailed morphometric analysis of the newly discovered C. weldeniana population revealed several hybrids with tetraploid C. jacea. The hybrids are tetraploid and originate from unreduced gametes of diploids. No triploids were found. Indeed, the incidence of hybridization is surprisingly low. The population was probably discovered already in 1886 (determined as C. bracteata) and was described as a new species C. argyrolepis in 1901, but these data were lost. However, this isolated diploid population has survived for at least 125 years, which provides a good example of the strength of inter-cytotype reproductive barriers in Centaurea sect. Jacea.


Centaurea sect. Jacea Chromosome number Genome size Flow cytometry Hybridization Polyploidy 



I am indebted to Milan Štech and Tereza Bad’urová for their help in the field and laboratory, to Jan Štěpánek for directing my attention to Centaurea and valuable discussions during my work, and to two reviewers for their comments on the manuscript. I am grateful to the curators of herbarium collections for help during my study, especially Ernst Vitek and Walter Till. The study was financially supported by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (grant no. 206/08/1126) and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic (grant no. MSM6007665801).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Botany, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of South BohemiaČeské BudějoviceCzech Republic

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