Conservation Genetics

, Volume 6, Issue 5, pp 803–821 | Cite as

Reproductive success and genetic divergence among varieties of the rare and endangered Astragalus cremnophylax (Fabaceae) from Arizona, USA



Populations of Astragalus cremnophylax from Arizona and related A. humillimus from New Mexico were assessed for morphological, reproductive, genetic, and ecological differences. Results suggest that some of the taxa (i.e., A. cremnophylax var. cremnophylax and A. humillimus) are poor reproducers and environmental fluctuation is not likely a factor contributing to low fecundity in these species. Astragalus cremnophylax var. cremnophylax appears to have low fecundity due to inbreeding depression. Allozyme data from 18 loci show little within-population and taxon genetic variability. Most genetic variability is distributed among populations and taxa. The population of A. cremnophylax var. cremnophylax from the Grand Canyon (South Rim) was genetically depauperate, indicative of the bottleneck caused by historic trampling at this viewpoint. Cape Final, a population of A. cremnophylax var. cremnophylax on the Grand Canyon (North Rim) is genetically different from typical materials of this taxon (South Rim) and is more closely related to other taxa within this species complex. However, the other varieties of A. cremnophylax are more closely related to A. humillimus than the population at Cape Final, suggesting potential species status for Cape Final materials based on allozyme divergence.


allozymes Astragalus genetic variability seed/ovule ratio sentry milkvetch 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Integrative BiologyBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.Grand Canyon National ParkNational Park ServiceGrand CanyonUSA
  3. 3.Coos Bay DistrictBureau of Land ManagementNorth BendUSA

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