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Revised taxonomic treatment of the Alyssum montanum-A. repens complex in the Balkans: a multivariate morphometric analysis

Abstract

A multivariate morphometric study of the Balkan taxa from the diploid–polyploid complex of Alyssum montanum-A. repens (Brassicaceae) was performed. The western European species A. montanum and central European A. gmelinii were also included in the study for comparison. A total of 1969 individuals from 89 populations were studied to explore morphological differences among taxa or genetic groups revealed in a parallel study by a combination of molecular and cytometric evidence. According to our results, several Balkan taxa are clearly morphologically differentiated, namely A. handelii, A. moellendorfianum, A. pirinicum, A. rostratum and A. wierzbickii. Other species—A. bosniacum, A. montenegrinum, A. reiseri and A. vernale—exhibit overlaps in values of the most differentiating characters, but can all be steadily distinguished. Alyssum repens, which is not genetically compact, is still morphologically recognizable from other Balkan taxa. Two species, A. austrodalmaticum and A. gmelinii, despite having clear genetic differences and an allopatric distribution, only have minor morphological differences. The tentatively accepted genetically heterogeneous species A. spruneri, which includes a major portion of the Greek and central Balkan populations, is also extraordinarily variable in morphology. An identification key of the studied taxa and their synonymy are provided. The taxonomic treatments of the recognized species and their geographic distribution are discussed.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to all the colleagues who accompanied us in the field. We would like to thank to Directorate of Pirin National Park (Bansko) for permission to collect samples of Alyssum and to D. Lakušić (Belgrade) and M. Anchev (Sofia) for providing advice on the localities of Alyssum montanum s.l. in Serbia and Bulgaria, respectively. We also thank the curators of the herbaria for allowing us to access their collections. We thank Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz and Dmitry A. German for helpful comments on typifications. This study was financially supported by the Slovak Research and Development Agency (APVV, Grant no. APVV-0139-12 to J.Z.-L. and K.M.), Grant Agency VEGA, Bratislava, Slovak Republic (Grant No. 2/0133/17 to S.Š.), the Czech Science Foundation (Grant No. 16-10809S to K.M.), the European Social Fund and the state budget of the Czech Republic (CZ.1.07/2.3.00/30.0022 to S.Š.). Part of the field expenses in Bulgaria and Romania was funded by the cooperation schemes of Slovak Academy of Sciences with Romanian Academy of Sciences and Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

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Correspondence to Stanislav Španiel.

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Handling editor: Martin Lysak.

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Information on Electronic Supplementary Material

Online Resource 1. Overview of the taxonomic treatment of the Alyssum montanum-A. repens complex in the Balkans based on the present study, and previous taxonomic treatments.

Online Resource 2. Results of classificatory discriminant analyses DA 1, DA 2, DA 3 and DA 4.

Online Resource 3. Results of canonical discriminant analyses (CDA 1–CDA 6) showing total canonical structure values that express correlations of morphological characters with canonical axes.

Online Resource 4. Descriptive statistics of the measured morphological characters of the 17 taxa/genetic groups of the Alyssum montanum-A. repens complex in the Balkans.

Online Resource 5. Canonical discriminant analysis of A. spruneri subgroup ‘graecum’ based on 20 morphological characters and individuals of two predefined groups: the population from Mt. Smolikas (185SMOm, 29 plants) and all the other poulations (336 plants).

Online Resource 6. Revised herbarium specimens of selected Alyssum species in herbaria BP, BUCA, GJO, LE, PRC, SOM, W, WU, and WU-Hal.

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Španiel, S., Zozomová-Lihová, J. & Marhold, K. Revised taxonomic treatment of the Alyssum montanum-A. repens complex in the Balkans: a multivariate morphometric analysis. Plant Syst Evol 303, 1413–1442 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00606-017-1468-x

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Keywords

  • Alyssum
  • Balkan Peninsula
  • Carpathians
  • Morphology
  • Multivariate morphometrics
  • Polyploidy