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Plant Biol (Stuttg). 2016 Jan;18(1):104-10. doi: 10.1111/plb.12340. Epub 2015 May 27.

Variation in heterostylous breeding systems in neighbouring populations of Oxalis alpina (Oxalidaceae).

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Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA.
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA.
Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico.
Departamento de Ecología de la Biodiversidad, Estación Regional del Noroeste, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.


The heterostylous reproductive system of Oxalis alpina in the Galiuro Mts. of Arizona was investigated using field surveys, controlled crosses in the greenhouse and measurements of reproductive morphs. Although populations in the Pinaleño Mts. to the immediate east and in the Santa Catalina Mts. to the immediate west have derived distylous reproductive systems, tristyly, the ancestral reproductive system in O. alpina, has been retained in the Galiuro Mts.


Tristylous incompatibility relationships in the Galiuro population are modified from the ancestral condition, with significant loss of incompatibility differentiation between stamen whorls of both short- and long-styled morphs. Morphological adjustments of anther positions in the Galiuro population of O. alpina match those expected in light of incompatibility modification, with divergence of the mid-level anthers away from the position of the mid stigmas of the mid-styled morph. The occurrence of tristyly in an area of Arizona where distyly is found in adjacent mountain ranges is particularly remarkable, and indicates both the isolation of populations restricted to the upper elevations of these mountain ranges and variation in the tempo of evolution over short geographic distances.


Distyly; Galiuro Mts.; Oxalis alpina; tristyly

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