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Geographical variation and systematics of the tetraploid marsh orchid Dactylorhiza majalis subsp sphagnicola (Orchidaceae) and closely related taxa

Publiceringsår: 2012
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 174-193
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society
Volym: 168
Nummer: 2
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Wiley-Blackwell


Dactylorhiza majalis subsp. sphagnicola is an allotetraploid marsh orchid derived from parents closely similar to present-day D. incarnata and the western European form of D. maculata subsp. maculata, suggesting that it has a postglacial origin. It extends from northwestern continental Europe into areas formerly covered by the Weichselian ice sheet in mid-Scandinavia. Here, we studied the variation at both the plastid and nuclear marker systems to describe the geographical variation in subsp. sphagnicola and its evolutionary history. We investigated whether subsp. sphagnicola is affected by secondary hybridization and gene flow from its parental lineages or from other allotetraploid marsh orchids, and we also compared subsp. sphagnicola with other allotetraploids of similar origins. We analysed 492 plants from 50 populations. Thirty-seven populations were collected as potential Dactylorhiza majalis subsp. sphagnicola, five as subsp. sesquipedalis (D. elata), one as D. elata subsp. brennensis, one as subsp. calcifugiens, one as subsp. occidentalis and the remaining five as populations with some affinity to subsp. lapponica (including D. traunsteineri). All populations were analysed for plastid haplotypes and nuclear internal transcribed spacer (ITS) allele frequencies, and a subset of 43 populations was analysed for five nuclear microsatellite loci. Dactylorhiza majalis subsp. sphagnicola was dominated by a single plastid haplotype that was also dominant in western European D. maculata subsp. maculata, and most of the alternative haplotypes differed by only one mutation from the dominant one. There was more variation in nuclear microsatellites and ITS, and the variation was geographically structured in these markers. Subspecies occidentalis and calcifugiens shared haplotypes with subsp. sphagnicola, whereas subsp. sesquipedalis and brennensis had other haplotypes. Dactylorhiza majalis subsp. sphagnicola may have a postglacial origin within its present continental distribution. It has incorporated genetic material from D. maculata subsp. maculata by secondary hybridization and introgression, and some northern populations have assimilated strongly divergent haplotypes from the northeastern form of D. maculata subsp. maculata. Subspecies sphagnicola has also evolved morphologically divergent local populations in the north that do not differ from the typical populations in genetic markers. It may form mixed populations with other allotetraploid subspecies of D. majalis and, at least at one site, it has become integrated with subsp. lapponica, demonstrating that independently derived allotetraploids may contribute to a common gene pool. Subspecies calcifugiens seems to be derived from subsp. sphagnicola, and further studies based on a larger sample may confirm that it is better recognized as a variety. The so-called D. elata subsp. brennensis is of hybrid origin and combines markers from subsp. sesquipedalis with markers from the D. majalis core complex, possibly subsp. majalis. The new combination Dactylorhiza majalis subsp. sesquipedalis (Willd.) H.A.Pedersen & Hedren comb. nov. is provided. (C) 2012 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2012, 168, 174193.


  • Ecology
  • allopolyploidy
  • genetic diversity
  • hybridization
  • introgression
  • ITS
  • nuclear microsatellites
  • phylogeography
  • plastid DNA
  • taxonomy


  • ISSN: 1095-8339

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