Speciation in Virgilia (Fabaceae): Allopatric divergence followed by introgression?

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Levels of variation revealed by starch gel-electrophoresis were compared with morphological and chemical variation within and among the species and subspecies of Virgilia: V. oroboides subsp. oroboides, V. oroboides subsp. ferruginea and V. divaricata. The data sets exhibited concordance in that all point to a very close relationship between the taxa. Differences are mostly quantitative and an overlapping east-west gradient of character variation is indicated. Analysis of morphological and chemical characters showed that V. oroboides subsp. ferruginea and V. divaricata are relatively distinct, whereas allozyme analysis indicated a high degree of genetic similarity among populations of these two taxa. The observed pattern of variation suggests relatively recent speciation with subsequent introgressive hybridisation resulting in a geographical and ecological gradient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-73
Number of pages17
JournalPlant Systematics and Evolution
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • Biochemical genetics, electrophoresis, genetic distance, speciation
  • Fabaceae, Podalyrieae, Virgilia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science


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