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Keywords:

  • Centaurea -;
  • Oligochaeta -;
  • Zoegea.

Although it has been recognized for many years that the genus Centaurea L. is an artificial assemblage of taxa, its partition into more natural affiliations has been impossible due to its incredible complexity. One of the most reliable characteristics for establishing the phylogeny within this group is the type of pollen. Most of the classification difficulties centre in the Jacea group, which has a characteristic Jacea pollen type. Recent molecular studies indicate that this assemblage is probably polyphyletic. Specifically, previous DNA sequence analyses indicate that Centaurea pulchella and the genera Oligochaeta and Zoegea represent different lineages. This finding prompted an investigation of their pollen types, using scanning electron microscopy, and for some species, transmission microscopy. For a rigorous comparison, the study also included a wide representation of other species across the entire Jacea group. Results showed that both Oligochaeta and Zoegea, but not C. pulchella, can be clearly distinguished from the Jacea group on the basis of pollen morphology. The genus Oligochaeta has a peculiar pollen type that may represent a simplified form of the Serratula pollen type, and the genus Zoegea has Serratula pollen type.