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Keywords:

  • dysploidy;
  • flow cytometry;
  • karyotypes;
  • polyploidy;
  • Qinghai;
  • Tibetan Plateau

Chromosome counts and genome sizes are reported from six species of Leontopodium: five from the centre of diversity in south-western China, and L. japonicum from cultivation. Previously published chromosome counts for the genus are also compiled. Genome size (1C) in diploids ranges from 0.93 pg (L. dedeckensii) to 1.14 pg (L. cf. stracheyi) and 1.93 pg for tetraploid L. sinense. Leontopodium artemisiifolium had one pair of heteromorphic chromosomes. Leontopodium japonicum accessions showed variation in ploidy levels. Polyploidy, including autopolyploidy, is frequent in the genus. Variation is seen in basic chromosome number, including between species in the centre of diversity of the genus, where x = 12 or 13, but also within species among previously published counts. This variation does not correspond to currently inferred infrageneric groupings, and indicates both the importance of large-scale chromosome evolution and the need for more in-depth taxonomic work in a genus that shows little DNA sequence variation. © 2013 The Linnean Society of London