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Keywords:

  • Crocus ser;
  • phytogeography;
  • taxonomy;
  • Versicolores

Crocus imperati Ten. and Crocus suaveolens Bertol. are the most controversial endemic crocuses in Italy; they have been interpreted by various authors as different species or infraspecific entities and their chorologies are afflicted by numerous misidentifications. This work, by means of an extensive in vivo study across the whole ranges of the two taxa, and using biometrical investigations, aims at clarifying their status. The names C. imperati and C. suaveolens are typified, several taxonomical complications are discussed and an accurate chorology is outlined. The results show that a single qualitative character is constant (the presence or absence of a bracteole) and two other characters allow discrimination in most cases; their combined use, therefore, ensures certain identification of any single individual. No hybrid individual or intermediate populations were detected and the distributional ranges of the two species were confirmed to be contiguous but not overlapping. As a consequence, treatment of the two taxa at specific level appears to be the most appropriate. © 2008 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2008, 158, 194–214.