J Syst Evol ›› 2018, Vol. 56 ›› Issue (5): 550-561.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12434

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Contributions toward understanding the biodiversity of Passiflora in North America: Updates and a new combination from the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico and vicinity

Harlan T. Svoboda1* and AJ Harris2†   

  1. 1Department of Environmental and Plant Biology, Ohio University, 315 Porter Hall, Athens, OH 45701, USA
    2Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, MRC 166, Washington, D.C. 20013, USA
  • Received:2017-12-01 Accepted:2018-05-17 Published:2018-09-27

Abstract: The Baja California Peninsula and surrounding landmasses harbor an abundant flora in an otherwise harsh and arid environment. Of the many plant groups native to this peninsular and insular region, passionflowers (Passiflora, Passifloraceae) are represented by several conspicuous taxa that all belong to a single lineage, section Dysosmia. Basic questions remain regarding this group, particularly the taxonomic status among the Passiflora arida complex. Therefore, we investigated the claims of endemism, habitat characteristics, and taxon boundaries with in section Dysosmia in the Baja California region using extensive sampling of herbarium specimens and iNaturalist observations. We confirmed that only one of the native Passiflora taxa (P. fruticosa) was endemic to the Baja California Peninsula, with an additional taxon (P. palmeri) considered near‐endemic. Environmental data revealed significant distinctions between the habitats of many of the native taxa as well as within the P. arida complex, especially with respect to precipitation and temperature tolerances. Geometric morphometric analyses of leaf shape were largely not successful at separating taxa, indicating leaf shape may not be a good indicator of taxon identity in this particular group. Based on ecological differences and discrete macro‐ and micromorphological features, a varietal name is here synonymized and a new combination is proposed: Passiflora pentaschista.

Key words: Baja California, climate, Dysosmia, endemism, environment, geometric morphometrics, habitat, Passi?ora, Passi?oraceae, passion?owers.