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Journal Article

Variation in Leaflet Morphology Among Populations of Caribbean Cycads (Zamia)

Sandra J. Newell
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 76, No. 10 (Oct., 1989), pp. 1518-1523
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2444439
Page Count: 6
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Variation in Leaflet Morphology Among Populations of Caribbean Cycads (Zamia)
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Abstract

Caribbean cycads (Zamia L.) are well known for variation in leaflet morphology. Here, I examine the variation in leaflet morphology among five populations of Zamia in Florida. Variables measured were leaflet length and width, leaflet length: width ratio, leaflet surface area, rachis and petiole lengths, number of leaflets per leaf, and total leaf area. In addition to comparisons among the Florida populations, these populations are compared with three previously studied populations in Puerto Rico (Newell, 1986). For the most part, the populations exhibited significant differences in all variables. In spite of the extensive morphological variation in this group of plants, leaflet morphology has long been important in Zamia taxonomy. The Florida populations would be considered by some to be either one, two, or three different species. The Florida and Puerto Rico populations together might be considered as few as one species or as many as five species. Based upon the data presented here, the five Florida populations appear to represent a single species; and the three Puerto Rico populations appear to represent two additional species. Further clarification of the taxonomy of Caribbean Zamia will require additional characters such as cone morphology and protein or DNA patterns.

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