J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2010, Vol. 52 ›› Issue (9): 844-851.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2010.00970.x

• Molecular Ecology and Evolution • Previous Articles    

Natural Hybridization between Rhododendron delavayi and R. cyanocarpum (Ericaceae), from Morphological, Molecular and Reproductive Evidence

Yong-Peng Ma1,2,3, Chang-Qin Zhang1,2*, Jing-Li Zhang4 and Jun-Bo Yang5   

  1. 1Kunming Botanic Garden, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650204, China
    2Key Laboratory of Resource Plants and Biotechnology, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650204, China
    3The Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    4Yunnan Agricultural University, Kunming 650201, China
    5Key Laboratory of Biodiversity and Biogeography, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650204, China
  • Received:2010-03-08 Accepted:2010-05-04 Published:2010-09-01
  • About author:*Author for correspondence Tel: +86 871 522 3630; Fax: +86 871 521 6345 E-mail: zhangchangqin@mail.kib.ac.cn

Abstract:

The natural hybridization that occurs between two sympatric species of Rhododendron subgenus Hymenanthes in Yunnan, China, was investigated. In field observations, it was noted that the putative hybrids between R. delavayi Franch. and R. cyanocarpum (Franch.) Franch. ex W.W. Sm. had intermediate morphologies. On the basis ofmorphology, chloroplast DNA (trnL-rpl32) and nuclear DNA (waxy), hybrids and parental species were identified. Hybridization occurred in both directions, but was asymmetrical, with R. delavayi as the major maternal parent. Reciprocal hand pollination treatments showed that either species, as pollen donor or pollen receiver, could produce fruits. It was noted that fruit set varied among treatments. The same pollinators (bumblebees) were shared in both parental species. From these results, we conclude that individuals with intermediate morphologies are indeed of hybrid origin from natural hybridization between R. cyanocarpum and R. delavayi. Furthermore, we presume the hybridization at the study site could have been initiated by habitat disturbance in the 1950s, and we may hence witness the early stages of hybrid swarm formation.

Ma YP, Zhang CQ, Zhang JL, Yang JB (2010) Natural hybridization between Rhododendron delavayi and R. cyanocarpum (Ericaceae), from morphological, molecular and reproductive evidence. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 52(9), 844–851.

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