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Chromosome Numbers of the East African Giant Senecios and Giant Lobelias and their Evolutionary Significance

Eric B. Knox and Robert R. Kowal
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 80, No. 7 (Jul., 1993), pp. 847-853
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2445604
Page Count: 7
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Chromosome Numbers of the East African Giant Senecios and Giant Lobelias and their Evolutionary Significance
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Abstract

The gametophytic chromosome number for the giant senecios (Asteraceae, Senecioneae, Dendrosenecio) is n = 50, and for the giant lobelias (Lobeliaceae, Lobelia subgenus Tupa section Rhynchopetalum) it is n = 14. Previous sporophytic counts are generally verified, but earlier reports for the giant senecios of 2n = 20 and ca. 80, the bases for claims of intraspecific polyploidy, are unsubstantiated. The 14 new counts for the giant senecios and the ten new counts for the giant lobelias are the first gametophytic records for these plants and include the first reports for six and four taxa, respectively, for the two groups. Only five of the 11 species of giant senecio and three of the 21 species of giant lobelia from eastern Africa remain uncounted. Although both groups are polyploid, the former presumably decaploid and the latter more certainly tetraploid, their adaptive radiations involved no further change in chromosome number. The cytological uniformity within each group, while providing circumstantial evidence of monophyly and simplifying interpretations of cladistic analyses, provides neither positive nor negative support for a possible role of polyploidy in evolving the giant-rosette growth-form.

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