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Keywords:

  • Biometric analysis;
  • Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis);
  • fossil cones;
  • late Pleistocene;
  • British Columbia;
  • Canada

Summary

Late Pleistocene and early Holocene fossil Picea cones and modern cones of Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr. from Cape Ball, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia were compared for morphological variability. Modern cones of P. sitchensis from Cape Ball are most similar to populations in the area of Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The fossil cones resemble most closely modern P. glauca (Moench) Voss. and allopatric P. sitchensis × P. glauca in cone size, scale size and phyllotaxy, which suggests introgression between P. sitchensis and P. glauca in late Pleistocene time on the north coast of British Columbia. These results suggest that P. glauca and P. sitchensis migrated northward shortly after deglaciation along the coast and that P. sitchensis maintained P. glauca cone characteristics before assuming more or less independent distributional ranges along the coast of British Columbia.