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Taxonomy and Taximetrics of Stellaria media (L.) Vill., S. Neglecta Weihe and S. pallida (Dumort.) Pire

F. H. Whitehead and R. P. Sinha
The New Phytologist
Vol. 66, No. 4 (Oct., 1967), pp. 769-784
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the New Phytologist Trust
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2430464
Page Count: 16
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Taxonomy and Taximetrics of Stellaria media (L.) Vill., S. Neglecta Weihe and S. pallida (Dumort.) Pire
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Abstract

Three species of Stellaria (S. media, S. neglecta and S. pallida) have different ecological amplitudes, S. media is ubiquitous and S. pallida and S. neglecta have well-defined and circumscribed ecological niches. They also differ in phenological behaviour and cytology. In morphological attributes, the differences are less marked so that they have always presented difficulties in identification. The present paper is concerned with the morphometrical aspect of an integrated approach to the taxonomy of the Stellaria media complex. Twelve variables were used and data were collected from the floral parts of 253 British herbarium specimens. The data were employed in both canonical variate and principal component analyses utilizing a computer. The three species were shown by these methods to be quite distinct. Morphometrically, S. pallida was found to be clearly separable from the other two species. These latter, although separable, were found to have intergrading morphometric features. The characters seed length, seed weight, length of tubercles and pollen diameter were shown to be the most significant in discrimination and, therefore, suitable for the construction of a key to separate the three species. The advantages of canonical variate and principal component analyses in the future development of taxonomy are discussed.

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