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Clinal Variation in the Halesia carolina Complex (Styracaceae)

Peter W. Fritsch and Shannon D. Lucas
Systematic Botany
Vol. 25, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 2000), pp. 197-210
DOI: 10.2307/2666639
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2666639
Page Count: 14
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Clinal Variation in the Halesia carolina Complex (Styracaceae)
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Abstract

The Halesia carolina complex has consisted of several poorly defined taxa endemic to the southeastern United States. To help resolve the taxonomy of this complex, seventeen morphological characters thought to be of taxonomic utility were measured from 286 herbarium specimens collected throughout the range of the complex and analyzed with Pearson's correlations. No character exhibits a distinct gap in character states; rather, most characters display broadly clinal patterns of variation that are significantly associated with latitude. Several characters also exhibit significant partial correlations. Principal components analysis does not reveal distinct clusters. The apparently concordant clines spanning the range of the complex suggest secondary contact of at least two formerly isolated groups, possibly a result of Quaternary glacial cycles. Morphological intergradation among populations is now so extensive as to preclude the recognition of more than a single species, H. carolina, without infraspecific divisions. The taxonomy of the complex is revised accordingly herein. An updated distribution map based on nearly 400 collections, full synonymy, and a description of H. carolina are included.

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