Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 266, Issue 1–2, pp 91–103 | Cite as

Consequences of the pollination system on genetic structure and patterns of species distribution in the Andean genus Polylepis (Rosaceae): a comparative study

  • A. N. Schmidt-Lebuhn
  • P. Seltmann
  • M. Kessler


As a member of the Sanguisorbinae, taxonomically complicated Polylepis Ruiz & Pav. from the South American Andes is one of the few wind-pollinated genera of Rosaceae. Here, it is suggested that problems traditionally faced in species delimitation and phylogeny reconstruction may be in part due to a combination of weak reproductive barriers and the large distances that can be covered by genetic information as a result of wind pollination. The pattern of species distribution as well as molecular data (AFLP) of Polylepis were contrasted with those of an unrelated, insect-pollinated genus of similar species number and distribution, Minthostachys (Griseb.) Spach (Lamiaceae). In the present case, extensive pollen-mediated gene flow may explain the homogenization of genetic variability over larger distances and a lower number of species restricted to individual countries in the wind-pollinated genus Polylepis, but more examples will have to be studied before arriving at final conclusions.


AFLP genetic structure Minthostachys pollination Polylepis Rosaceae 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Systematic Botany, Albrecht-von-Haller-Institute of Plant SciencesGeorg-August-University GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Geobotany and Botanical GardenMartin-Luther-University Halle-WittenbergHalleGermany

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