Fritsch, Peter , Lu, Lu , Cruz, Boni , Wang, Hong , Li, De-Zhu .
A four-fold increase in the species diversity estimate of the Himalaya-Hengduan Mountains endemic Gaultheria ser. Trichophyllae (Ericaceae).
The species of Gaultheria series Trichophyllae (Ericaceae: Gaultherieae) form a clade of high-alpine creeping or mat-forming shrublets endemic to the Himalaya-Hengduan Mountain region of eastern Asia. The diminutive features of these plants (e.g., leaves generally less than 1 cm long) and the challenging field conditions under which they grow have hampered progress in understanding the taxonomy and evolution of this group. The most recent treatment of G. ser. Trichophyllae in 2005 recognized six species. A subsequent molecular phylogenetic study suggested, however, that actual species diversity in the group has been substantially underestimated, due in large part to the failure of herbarium specimens to preserve critical variation in fruit morphology but also through convergent characters and cryptic speciation. Here we present the results of follow-up field, morphological, and molecular studies based on these insights. The study of loaned historical herbarium material and in-situ populations in the Chinese provinces of Yunnan, Sichuan, and Xizang (Tibet) has increased the number of known species to 23. Nine of these are new to science, five are elevated from varietal rank, and three were not included in the most recent treatment. Additional molecular phylogenetic data have resolved the placement of some of the new species. Our data suggest that additional field exploration throughout the region will reveal more new species of this intriguing group of plants.
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1 - California Academy Of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, SAN FRANCISCO, CA, 94118-4503, USA
2 - Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Key Laboratory for Biodiversity and Biogeography, 132 Lanhei Road, Heilongtan, Kunming, Yunnan, 650204, China
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Location: Delaware C/Hyatt
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Time: 3:00 PM