A multivariate morphometric analysis of diagnostic traits in southern Italy and Sicily pubescent oaks.

Lorenzo Antonino Gianguzzi, Paola Fortini, Piera Di Marzio, Antonio Luca Conte, Giovanni Spampinato, Romeo Di Pietro

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Abstract

Species identification within the species complex of Q. pubescens is a well-known taxonomic challenge among European botanists. Some of the specific pubescent oak binomials currently accepted in various European floras and checklists were originally described in Sicily and southern Calabria. As a consequence,several species belonging to the pubescent oaks group (Q. pubescens, Q. amplifolia, Q. congesta, Q. dalechampii, Q. leptobalana and Q. virgiliana) are reported in the taxonomic and phytosociological literature. To verify whether it was possible to associate a diverse set of morphological characters with each ofthese different taxa, thirteen natural populations of pubescent oak from Sicily and southern Calabria weresampled. A total of 391 trees, 3,887 leaves and 1,047 fruits were collected. Overall, 28 morphological characters of oak leaves and fruits were statistically analysed using univariate and multivariate procedures. The results showed that neither the groups of morphological diversity identified by cluster analysis, nor those obtained by our expert identification through the use of analytical keys, matched with the current taxonomical frameworks as proposed by the most recent floras and checklists. Nearly all of the morphological characters considered displayed a more or less continuous trend of variation, both within and among populations. In thelight of these findings it seems unlikely that more than one biological species of pubescent oak occurs in Sicily and southern Calabria.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-183
Number of pages21
JournalFolia Geobotanica
Volume55
Publication statusPublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Plant Science
  • Palaeontology

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