J Syst Evol ›› 2017, Vol. 55 ›› Issue (5): 437-445.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12245

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Insights into the plastid diversity of Daphne blagayana Freyer (Thymelaeaceae)

Živa Fišer Pečnikar1, Nataša Fujs1, Robert Brus2, Dalibor Ballian3,4, and Elena Buzan1*   

  1. 1Department of Biodiversity, Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies, University of Primorska, Glagoljaška 8, 6000 Koper, Slovenia
    2Department of Forestry and Renewable Forest Resources, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Večna pot 83, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
    3Faculty of Forestry, University of Sarajevo, Zagrebačka 20, 71000 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
    4Slovenian Forestry Institute, Večna pot 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Received:2016-07-26 Published:2017-09-20

Abstract: Daphne blagayana is a small decumbent bush from the family Thymelaeaceae with a fragmented distribution range, comprising the Balkan Peninsula and the southern Romanian Carpathians. Due to its rarity it is protected by national legislation in almost all countries within its range. The aim of this work was to assess the plastid diversity of Daphne blagayana from 21 locations throughout its distribution range using the chloroplast intergenic regions psbA-trnH and trnK–matK with the gene matK. Moreover, we tried to determine with DNA and morphometric characters whether the division of the species into subspecies and varieties, which were mentioned in some literature (subsp. lerchenfeldiana, var. kellereri, subsp. zogovićii), reflects its phylogeographic structure. The results suggest the existence of three clusters: the northwestern cluster (ESU1), including Slovenian and Italian populations, the southern cluster (ESU2), including populations from Macedonia, Montenegro and some populations from southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the central cluster, including the remaining populations (Bulgaria, Romania and rest of the populations from Bosnia and Herzegovina). The results of the genetic as well as morphometric study do not support the existence of subsp. lerchenfeldianaand var. kellereri as distinct infraspecific categories of D. blagayana, thus we suggest that ESU's should be used instead in planning conservation actions.

Key words: Balkan Peninsula, conservation genetics, cpDNA, endemic plants, genetic structure, refugia