Santolina is a plant genus of dwarf aromatic shrubs that includes about 26 species native to the western Mediterranean Basin. In Corsica and Sardinia, two of the main islands of the Mediterranean, Santolina corsica (tetraploid) and S. insularis (hexaploid) are reported. Along with the cultivated pentaploid S. chamaecyparissus, these species form a group of taxa that is hard to distinguish only by morphology. Molecular (using ITS, trnH-psbA, trnL-trnF, trnQ-rps16, rps15-ycf1, psbM-trnD, and trnS-trnG), cypsela morpho-colorimetric, morphometric, and niche similarity analyses were conducted to investigate the diversity of plants belonging to this species group. Our results confute the current taxonomic hypothesis and suggest considering S. corsica and S. insularis as a single species. Moreover, molecular and morphometric results highlight the strong affinity between S. chamaecyparissus and the Santolina populations endemic to Corsica and Sardinia. Finally, the populations from south-western Sardinia, due to their high differentiation in the studied plastid markers and the different climatic niche with respect to all the other populations, could be considered as an evolutionary significant unit.

An Integrated Taxonomic Approach Points towards a Single-Species Hypothesis for Santolina (Asteraceae) in Corsica and Sardinia

Bacchetta G.;Sarigu M.;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Santolina is a plant genus of dwarf aromatic shrubs that includes about 26 species native to the western Mediterranean Basin. In Corsica and Sardinia, two of the main islands of the Mediterranean, Santolina corsica (tetraploid) and S. insularis (hexaploid) are reported. Along with the cultivated pentaploid S. chamaecyparissus, these species form a group of taxa that is hard to distinguish only by morphology. Molecular (using ITS, trnH-psbA, trnL-trnF, trnQ-rps16, rps15-ycf1, psbM-trnD, and trnS-trnG), cypsela morpho-colorimetric, morphometric, and niche similarity analyses were conducted to investigate the diversity of plants belonging to this species group. Our results confute the current taxonomic hypothesis and suggest considering S. corsica and S. insularis as a single species. Moreover, molecular and morphometric results highlight the strong affinity between S. chamaecyparissus and the Santolina populations endemic to Corsica and Sardinia. Finally, the populations from south-western Sardinia, due to their high differentiation in the studied plastid markers and the different climatic niche with respect to all the other populations, could be considered as an evolutionary significant unit.
Anthemideae; Endemism; Image analysis; Mediterranean Basin; Molecular analysis; Morphometrics; Niche similarity
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/349290
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