Pollen Morphology of the Platycodonoid Group (Campanulaceae s. str.) and Its Systematic Implications

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Abstract

In this study, we examined the pollen morphology of the platycodonoid group in Campanulaceae s. str. using a scanning electronic microscope. We used pollen grains of 25 accessions representing 24 species of the Codonopsis complex (including Campanumoea, Cyclocodon, Leptocodon, and all three subgenera of Codonopsis), which is extremely controversial among authors for taxonomic treatment. Pollen morphology of all the other genera in the group observed by previous authors is taken into account in our discussion. A total of nine pollen types with two subtypes in the group were recognized and named for the first time. Molecular and morphological data imply that each pollen type corresponds to a natural group at generic level, and thus the mergence of Leptocodon with Codonopsis and the restoration of Cyclocodon as a separate genus are justifiable, and Codonopsis subg. Pseudocodonopsis, subg. Obconicicapsula, and two species of Codonopsis subg. Codonopsis (C. purpurea and C. chimiliensis) may be better classified as three independent genera separate from the core Codonopsis.

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