Diploid and tetraploid cytotypes of Centaurea stoebe (Asteraceae) in Central Europe: Morphological differentiation and cytotype distribution patterns

  • Španiel S
  • Marhold K
  • Hodálová I
 et al. 
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The taxomically critical species Centaurea stoebe is represented in Central Europe by a diploid (2n=18) and a tetraploid (2n=36) cytotype. Their morpholog- ical differentiation and taxonomic treatment is still controversial. Karyological (chromosome numbers and flow cytometric measurements) and multivariate morphometric analyses were used here to address cytotype distribution patterns and their morphological differentiation. Material from 38 localities (771 individuals) in Slovakia, Hungary and Austria, including type localities of the names traditionally applied to the different cytotypes, was sampled and evaluated using both morphometric and karyological approaches. The morphological tendency towards cytotype differentiation is evident only at a population level, and is blurred at the level of individual plants. Diploid populations prevail in the area studied, as well as throughout Europe; mixed-cytotype populations were also found. The present data, namely the weak morphological distinction, largely sympatric occurrence of the cytotypes, and the existence of mixed-cytotype populations, favour taxonomic treatment as a single species, without recognition of infraspecific units.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Centaurea
  • Compositae
  • Multivariate morphometrics
  • Polyploidy

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