Journal Article

Phylogeography and seed dispersal in islands: the case of <i>Rumex bucephalophorus</i> subsp. <i>canariensis</i> (Polygonaceae)

María Talavera, Laura Navarro-Sampedro, Pedro L. Ortiz and Montserrat Arista

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 111, issue 2, pages 249-260
Published in print February 2013 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online December 2012 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI:
Phylogeography and seed dispersal in islands: the case of Rumex bucephalophorus subsp. canariensis (Polygonaceae)

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


Show Summary Details


Background and Aims

Rumex bucephalophorus subsp. canariensis is an endemic taxon to Macaronesia with diaspore polymorphism. The origin and colonizing route of this taxon in Macaronesia was studied using molecular data and information on diaspore types.


Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) was used in 260 plants from 22 populations of R. bucephalophorus subsp. canariensis, four from the Madeiran archipelago and 18 from the Canary archipelago. Diaspore production was analysed in 9–50 plants from each population used for AFLP analysis. One hundred and one plants from the Madeiran archipelago and 375 plants from the Canary Islands were studied. For each plant the type of diaspore produced was recorded.

Key Results

Overall populations had low genetic diversity but they showed a geographical pattern of genetic diversity that was higher in the older eastern islands than in the younger western ones. Two types of dispersible diaspores were found: in the eastern Canary islands (Lanzarote, Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria), plants produced exclusively long-dispersible diaspores, whereas in the western Canary islands (Tenerife, La Gomera, El Hierro) and the Madeiran archipelago plants produced exclusively short-dispersible diaspores. Genetically, the studied populations fell into four main island groups: Lanzarote–Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Tenerife–El Hierro and La Gomera–Madeira archipelago.


A Moroccan origin of R. bucephalophorus subsp. canariensis is hypothesized with a colonization route from the eastern to the western islands. In addition, at least one gene flow event from La Gomera to the Madeiran archipelago has taken place. During the colonization process the type of dispersible diaspore changed so that dispersability decreased in populations of the westernmost islands.

Keywords: Rumex bucephalophorus subsp. canariensis; Polygonaceae; Macaronesia; Canary archipelago; Madeiran archipelago; AFLP; heterocarpy; colonization events; diaspore polymorphism

Journal Article.  8144 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.