Natural hybridization is common in the genus Lespedeza. No hybrids between Lespedeza leptostachya Englem. and Lespedeza capitata Michx. are formally recognized in any of the current floras, however observations in the field suggest that hybridization might occur in many of their shared habitats. Putative hybrids were compared to L. leptostachya and L. capitata using morphological measurements and screened for the presence of species-specific trnL-F gene region (cpDNA) and the ITS gene region (nrDNA). A discriminate analysis of 10 morphological measurements identified the hybrids as intermediate to both parents with two PCA axes explaining 99% of the variation between taxa. The presence of hybrids was confirmed by genetic markers with individuals morphologically identified as hybrids having cpDNA trnL-F genotypes identical to L. leptostachya and the ITS (nrDNA) phenotypes in most cases contain the ITS genotype of both parents, however, some putative hybrid individuals contained the ITS genotype of only one parents. Those individuals with L. leptostachya ITS and trnL-F could be a case of misclassification, but the presence of both L. capitata ITS genotypes and L. leptostachyatrnL-F genotypes suggest segregation has occurred, which may result from either selfing or backcrossing.
- Genetic introgression
- Morphological introgression
- Threatened species
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics