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Low incidence of polyploids and high uniformity of karyotypes displayed by Delphinium (Ranunculaceae) in the Hengduan Mountains region of south-west China




The chromosome numbers and morphology in 92 populations belonging to 49 species and three varieties in the genus Delphinium L. (Ranunculaceae), mostly from the Hengduan Mountains region of south-west China, were studied. Forty seven species and three varieties were diploid, with 2n = 16, one species was tetraploid, with 2n = 32, and one species had diploid and tetraploid cytotypes. Three species had B chromosomes, representing the first time the occurrence of B chromosomes has been reported in the genus. The karyotypes of all the diploid species were quite uniform, commonly bimodal, and usually consisted of one pair of large median-centromeric (m), one pair of large submedian-centromeric (sm), five pairs of medium-sized subterminal-centromeric (st), and one pair of smaller sm (rarely st) chromosomes. The low incidence of polyploids in Delphinium from the Hengduan Mountains region indicates that polyploidy has played a minor role in the speciation of this highly diversified genus in the region. © 2008 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2008, 158, 172–188.