Organisms Diversity & Evolution

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 339–348 | Cite as

Floral scent and its correlation with AFLP data in Sorbus

  • Martin FeulnerEmail author
  • Stefan Pointner
  • Lisa Heuss
  • Gregor Aas
  • Juraj Paule
  • Stefan Dötterl
Original Article


Comparisons between floral scent-based and DNA-molecular-based taxonomies are rare, yet such comparisons indicate that scent can provide useful taxonomic information. Here, we correlate the phytochemical differentiation in floral scent to the DNA-molecular-based differentiation in the genus Sorbus. Inflorescence scent patterns of the apomictic and endemic Sorbus latifolia microspecies Sorbus franconica, Sorbus adeana, and Sorbus cordigastensis originated by hybridization as well as their parental taxa Sorbus aria agg. and Sorbus torminalis were investigated with the dynamic headspace method. The scent data (presence/absence of compounds) were used to construct an UPGMA tree, to calculate a similarity matrix, and to correlate them with the published amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) data of the same individuals, populations, and taxa. Flow cytometry was used to estimate the DNA-ploidy level of the taxa. Scent analyses showed a total of 68 substances, among them aromatic compounds, terpenoids, aliphatics, and nitrogen-containing compounds. The scent patterns were taxon-specific, and the number of scent components differed among taxa. The correlations with the published AFLP data on population and individual level are highly significant, indicating that the scent and AFLP data are highly congruent in the plants studied. Scent therefore provides useful taxonomic characters in Sorbus.


AFLP Apomixis Correlation analysis Floral scent Rosaceae Taxonomy Sorbus 



We thank S. Liede-Schumann and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Feulner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stefan Pointner
    • 1
  • Lisa Heuss
    • 1
  • Gregor Aas
    • 2
  • Juraj Paule
    • 3
  • Stefan Dötterl
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Plant SystematicsUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  2. 2.Ecological-Botanical GardensUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  3. 3.Department of Botany and Molecular EvolutionSenckenberg Research Institute & Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F)Frankfurt/MainGermany
  4. 4.Department of Organismic BiologyUniversity of SalzburgSalzburgAustria

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