Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 304, Issue 4, pp 549–575 | Cite as

Comparative phylogeography of capitulate Campanula species from the Balkans, with description of a new species, C. daucoides

  • Jelena M. Aleksić
  • Siniša Škondrić
  • Dmitar Lakušić
Original Article


Capitulate inflorescence is a specific, strongly adaptive and rare feature in the genus Campanula. We studied morphologically eight capitulate Campanula taxa from the Balkans (1537 individuals/52 populations) and one more species from Caucasus at the molecular level (using chloroplast markers trnGUCC-trnSGCU and psbA-trnH, 130 individuals/58 populations) to assess their relations and evolutionary histories. Although all studied taxa were well circumscribed at both the morphological and molecular levels (except morphologically distinct but genetically invariable C. moesiaca which acquired its single haplotype via past cytoplasmic introgression from C. cervicaria), their relations inferred from the two datasets were incongruent possibly due to the homoplasy of morphological characters frequently reported in Campanula. Interspecific hybridization and introgression affected majority of studied species and may be more common in Campanula than previously thought. These processes, along with incomplete lineage sorting and retention of ancestral polymorphisms, hampered our phylogenetic reconstructions and prevented us to fully resolve species relations, and to support monophyletic origin of capitulate Campanula species. Nonetheless, several cryptic taxa were delineated, and C. daucoides was described as a new capitulate Campanula species. Different evolutionary histories and multiple glacial refugia were inferred for all species represented by multiple samples (except C. moesiaca). According to our dating, their speciation was in most cases triggered by various geo-historic events such as the uplift of the Alpide belt, Messinian Salinity Crisis, or desiccation of the Pannonian Sea/Pliocene Lakes from the central Balkans, while their further diversification was mainly driven by the onset of the Quaternary and cycles of glacials/interglacials.


Campanula sp. Capitulate inflorescence Divergence time estimates Morphological characters Plastid genome The Balkans 



This work was supported by Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Serbia (Grant No. 173030 to D. Lakušić). The authors thank Dr. Zoltan Barina (Budapest) for data on C. tymphaea from Albania, Ivana Janković for making a line drawing of the newly described species, dr. K. Jones for reviewing and editing manuscript, and an anonymous reviewer who helped to improve the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jelena M. Aleksić
    • 1
  • Siniša Škondrić
    • 2
  • Dmitar Lakušić
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratory for Plant Molecular Biology, Institute of Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering (IMGGE)University of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences and MathematicsUniversity of Banja LukaBanja LukaBosnia and Herzegovina
  3. 3.Department for Plant Ecology and Phytogeography, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia

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