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Abstract Detail

Systematics Section/ASPT

FRITSCH , PETER WARREN [1], Lu, Lu [2], Wang, Hong [2].

The species of Gaultheria ser. Trichophyllae (Ericaceae) in the Gaoligong and Biluo Snow mountains of western Yunnan Province, China.

The Gaoligong and Biluo Snow mountains comprise part of two high (over 5000 m) parallel mountain chains in far western Yunnan Province, China that flank the Salween River (Nujiang) Valley and lie at the center of the Himalaya-Hengduan mountain system, one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth. We conducted a field expedition to these ranges in September 2013 to further our studies on the systematics and evolution of Gaultheria ser. Trichophyllae (Ericaceae: Gaultherieae), a clade of high-alpine mat-forming shrublets endemic to the Himalaya-Hengduan region. Field documentation is especially important in this group because fruit characters critical for understanding species taxonomy are not adequately preserved in herbarium material, and new species continue to be discovered throughout the range of the group. This expedition, combined with subsequent herbarium studies and phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence variation, has greatly clarified the extent of species diversity and species boundaries in G. ser. Trichophyllae. We confirmed the species status of several undescribed taxa and other taxa currently recognized at the varietal level, and discovered one additional species new to science. The color of the fruiting calyx was found to be generally diagnostic for species in the series, but in one species we found a distinctive white/light blue/dark blue color polymorphism that varies among individuals. Morphological and field data indicate that two species have been included within G. eciliata, corroborating prior molecular phylogenetic studies that yielded a topology in which samples of this species are recovered in different places in the tree; an image from the British Museum suggests that the type is a mixed collection of these species. Examination of the specimens on which the name G. sinensis is based reveals that the original description incorporates elements of no less than five different species, and the type itself is also a mixed collection. Finally, new molecular phylogenetic data show that two species sharing a white fruiting calyx and a uniquely maroon fruiting capsule are sister species. Our more casual examination of various other plant groups from this region suggests that they contain taxonomic problems similar to what has been encountered in G. ser. Trichophyllae, and similarly need intensive study.

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1 - California Academy Of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, SAN FRANCISCO, CA, 94118-4503, USA
2 - Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Key Laboratory of Biodiversity and Biogeography, 132 Lanhei Road, Heilongtan, Kunming, Yunnan, 650201, PR China

new species
Himalaya-Hengduan Mountains.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 30
Location: Payette/Boise Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
Time: 4:00 PM
Number: 30009
Abstract ID:478
Candidate for Awards:None

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