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  • Author or Editor: M. Keshavarzi x
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Tamarix L. (Tamaricaceae) is a halophytic shrub in different parts of Asia and North Africa. Taxonomy and species limitation of Tamarix is very complex. This genus has three sections as Tamarix, Oligadenia, and Polyadenia, which are mainly separated by petal length, the number of stamens, the shape of androecial disk and attachment of filament on the androecial disk. As there was no palynological data on pollen features of Tamarix species of Iran, in the present study 12 qualitative and quantitative pollen features were evaluated to find diagnostic ones. Pollen grains of 8 Tamarix species were collected from nature. Pollen grains were studied without any treatment. Measurements were based on at least 50 pollen grains per specimen. Light and scanning electron microscopes were used. Multivariate statistical methods were applied to clarify the species relationships based on pollen data. All species studied showed monad and tricolpate (except some individuals of T. androssowii). Some Tamarix species show a high level of variability, in response to ecological niches and phenotypic plasticity, which make Tamarix species separation much more difficult. Based on the results of the present study, pollen grains features are not in agreement with previous morphological and molecular genetics about the sectional distinction.

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Persicaria with 70–100 species in the world is distributed in temperate regions of both hemispheres. It has 11 species in Iran growing in moist areas and margins of rivers. Through hybridisation, plasticity and existence of overlapping habitats, species identification shows difficulty. In this study, we aimed to investigate karyotype characters and morphological features, evaluate genetic variability within and among species studied and examine species relationship using ISSR data. Nine annual taxa of Persicaria were gathered from different localities in Iran and used for studies. Our studies showed that combination of karyological, morphological and molecular data can delimit species studied. Based on karyological results, three chromosome counts (P. hydropiper (2n = 2x = 20), P. maculosa (2n = 2x = 22), P. orientalis (2n = 2x = 22)) were the first reports for the Flora of Iran. Analyses of morphological characters showed diagnostic features among taxa. STRUCTURE and AMOVA analyses showed high intraspecific genetic diversity. Our results suggested that phenotypic plasticity and hybridisation may cause genetic diversity within Persicaria species.

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Solanum

(Solanaceae) comprises cultivated and wild plants with 1400 species in the world and 14 species in Iran. Solanum is a taxonomically complex genus due to morphological similarities, phenotypic plasticity and hybridisation. Limited studies were done on anatomical features of this important genus. In this project, 10 native and exotic species of Solanum in Iran belonging to two subgenera were examined anatomically. Leaf mesophyll and midrib and indumentum were analysed using light microscope. Hand-made cross section method and Toluidine blue as colouring agent were used. Characters as length and width of main vascular bundle, thickness of collenchyma, trichome density, thickness of parenchyma strand, thickness of lamina and length and shape of midrib were diagnostic features among species studied. In UPGMA tree and PCA ordination, species of two subgenera were separated from each other. Results of this study confirmed the taxonomic importance of anatomical characters in Solanum species studied.

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Species delimitation is essential since species is regarded as the basic unit of analysis in nearly all biological disciplines, such as ecology, biogeography, conservation biology, and macroevolution. The genus Geranium (Geraniaceae) comprises about 350 species distributed throughout most parts of the world. The subg. Robertium comprises 30 species which are arranged in 8 sections. This subgenus is represented in Iran by 10 species. These species are grouped into 5 sections. In spite vast distribution of many Geranium species that grow in Iran, there are not any available report on their genetic diversity, mode of divergence and patterns of dispersal. Therefore molecular (ISSR markers) and morphological studies of 147 accessions from 10 species of Geranium (subg. Robertium), that were collected from different habitats in Iran were performed. The aims of the present study are: 1) to find the diagnostic value of ISSR markers in delimitation of Geranium species, 2) to find the genetic structure of these taxa in Iran, and 3) to investigate the species inter-relationship. The present study revealed that combination of morphological and ISSR data can delimit the species. AMOVA and STRUCTURE analysis revealed that the species of subg. Robertium are genetically differentiated but have some degree of shared common alleles.

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Geranium subg. Robertium (Geraniaceae) comprises eight sections, of which sect. Batrachioidea contains four species centred in Eurasia, Mediterranean region and the Himalaya Mountains. Three species of Geranium pusillum, G. molle and G. pyrenaicum occur in Iran show some degree of morphological overlaps that make the species delimitation difficult. Moreover, hybrids are known to be formed between these species elsewhere. Till present time, there has been no detailed information available on molecular phylogeny and genetic structure of these species in the country. Therefore, the present study was conducted with the aim to investigate species delimitation by both morphological and molecular data and to reveal genetic diversity and population structure in these three Geranium species. For this study, 216 randomly collected plants from 30 geographical populations in three Geranium species were used. We encountered extensive within species genetic and morphological diversity. ISSR molecular markers could not delimit the studied species. STRUCTURE analysis revealed the occurrence gene flow between these species. The Mantel test showed no correlation between genetic distance and geographical distance of the populations studied. Statistical analysis showed no significant difference between ITS and rbcL sequences and phylogenetic tree was constructed based on combined data set which separated outgroups from the studied species. Genetic affinity of the studied species has been discussed.

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