Spatial genetic structure and clonal diversity of island populations of lady's slipper (Cypripedium calceolus) from the Biebrza National Park (northeast Poland)


E. Brzosko. Fax: (+ 48) 85 745 73 02; E-mail:


Three populations of the rare and endangered plant species Cypripedium calceolus were included in a study of genetic diversity and spatial genetic structure in the Biebrza National Park, northeast Poland. Analysis of 11 allozyme loci indicate that the populations of this species contained high genetic variability (P = 45.5%, A= 1.73). On the other hand, the genetic differentiation (FST = 0.014, P < 0.05) among C. calceolus populations was very low when compared to other species with similar life history characteristics. The observed high rate of gene flow (Nm = 18) may suggest that the populations studied derived from each other in the recent past. Five polymorphic allozyme markers identified 109 multilocus genotypes in three populations and the majority of them (67%) were population-specific. One of the populations studied, characterized by particularly extensive vegetative reproduction, showed the lowest clonal diversity (G/N = 0.15) and heterozygosity (HO = 0.111) values and the highest FIS(0.380), when compared to other two populations (G/N = 0.26–0.27, HO= 0.166–178, FIS = 0.024–0.055). This may indicate that clonal reproduction has an important influence on the genetic structure of C. calceolus populations. The longevity of genets, the out-crossing breeding system and the presence of recruitment from seeds are factors maintaining genetic diversity in C. calceolus.