Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 131, Issue 4, pp 573–587 | Cite as

Integrated taxonomy of the Asplenium normale complex (Aspleniaceae) in China and adjacent areas

  • Yanfen ChangEmail author
  • Atsushi Ebihara
  • Shugang Lu
  • Hongmei Liu
  • Harald Schneider
Regular Paper


The Asplenium normale D. Don complex comprises several taxa that are either diploid or tetraploid. The tetraploids are assumed to have originated from diploid ancestors by relatively recent autopolyploidization or allopolyploidization. Some of the diploids are readily recognized morphologically but most of the taxa have until now been placed into a single species. However, phylogenetic studies have challenged this treatment and emphasized the notion that the taxonomic treatment of this complex needs to be revised. An integrative taxonomic approach was employed to delimit species in the complex using cytological, morphological, and DNA sequence data. Initially, we employed a diploid first approach to establish a robust taxonomic framework. Special efforts were made to collect and identify the diploid progenitors of each polyploid lineage identified in the plastid DNA based phylogenetic hypothesis. A total of six distinct diploid species were identified. The distinctive nature of the six diploids is strongly supported by sequence differences in plastid DNA and nuclear loci, as well as by the results of morphometric analysis. Diagnostic morphological characters were identified to distinguish the six diploid species, resulting in their revised taxonomy, which includes two novel species, namely, Asplenium normaloides and A. guangdongense. Further studies to strengthen the taxonomic classification of all of the tetraploid taxa are warranted.


Aspleniaceae Asplenium Species complex Morphometric Taxonomy 



We are grateful to the herbarium curators for images of type specimens and for the help they gave to us in the searching for type materials. We thank several colleagues who assisted with collections, including Yunnong Tang, Jianwu Li, Hao Zhang, Huafeng Hong, and Guocheng Zhang in China; and Tian-Chuan Hsu and Li-Yaung Kuo in Taiwan. This work was supported by the following projects: National Natural Science Foundation of China (31500171) and the Special Funds for the Young Scholars of Taxonomy of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ZSBR-008).

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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yanfen Chang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Atsushi Ebihara
    • 2
  • Shugang Lu
    • 3
  • Hongmei Liu
    • 4
  • Harald Schneider
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesMenglunChina
  2. 2.Department of BotanyNational Museum of Nature and ScienceTsukubaJapan
  3. 3.Institute of Ecology and GeobotanyYunnan UniversityKunmingChina
  4. 4.Gardening and Horticulture Department, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesMenglunChina
  5. 5.Department of Life SciencesNatural History MuseumLondonUK

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