The colony structure and taxonomic characterisation of apomictic Limonium (Plumbaginaceae) in the British Isles
The morphological relationships between variants of the Limonium binervosum group have been analysed, principally by a numerical taxonomic method. Widespread variation has been discovered in natural colonies with variants maintaining their differences under cultivation. The pattern of variation is of geographically distinct colonies each with one or a few obvious biotypes. Distinct but related biotypes are often found in adjacent colonies. As well as being geographically correlated some evidence is presented that the variation may also be ecological in nature. There are two cytological races; one triploid (2n = 27) and one aneuploid tetraploid (usually 2n = 35). The geographical pattern of the variation and the failure to detect any sexual or facultative sexual populations is among the 147 colonies tested suggest that the variants have arisen in situ by mutation rather than by hyperidisation A taxometric analysis of other W. European Limonium species suggests that the agamospermic taxa here have had a similar asexual origin, as well as by hybridisation. Taxonomically the L. binervosum group is here treated as 9 species: 4 are widespread (one consists of the triploid race) and 5 are geographically restricted. Less distinct variants have been described as subspecies and varieties. of the species are new to science and one is a new combination. A total of 32 new taxa have been described.