San Gorgonio Silene

San Gorgonio Silene = Krantz’s catchfly, S. krantzii T.R. Stoughton Slide1Project description: Silene verecunda is a widespread perennial herb with a peculiar distribution from coastal California in the S.F. Bay Area down into southern California, then eastward along the eastern Sierra and desert mountains into Nevada, Arizona and Utah. It is currently viewed by experts as a highly polymorphic and phenotypically plastic species, but my hypothesis is that the circumscription of S. verecunda actually includes several cryptic species on many different substrates, mostly resulting from hybridization and polyploidy. Silene verecunda has previously been found to be of allopolyploid hybrid origin involving eastern Asian and Arctic diploid progenitor species.

Project goals: Assess and clarify taxonomy in the S. verecunda species complex, including the use of various molecular, anatomical, cytogenetic tools and common garden experiments to determine the origin of Silene krantzii in the San Bernardino Mountains, a narrow endemic restricted to the alpine summit region of Mt. San Gorgonio.

IMG_0427Flower of Silene krantzii from the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio (11,500ft), San Bernardino Mountains, southern California.

IMG_0432Profile from one side of Silene krantzii flower, from the type locality at the Tarn below Mt. San Gorgonio (11,000ft), San Bernardino Mountains, southern California.

IMG_0433Plant habit of Silene krantzii from the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio (11,500ft), San Bernardino Mountains, southern California.

DSC_6309Profile from one side of Silene verecunda flower, from the Marion Mountain Trail (6,000ft), San Jacinto Mountains, southern California. (photo credit: Diana Jolles, RSABG)

2013-04-29 10.04.08Apparently my thumb isn’t completely black, we’ve got flowering plants in the greenhouse! S. krantzii (pictured here flowering in a garden setting) maintains glandular dwarf form while S. verecunda (in foreground) is non-glandular and flowers later in the season.

other notes:

Silene krantzii Stoughton published in California Fish and Game 100(1):138-152. July 2014.

– Common garden experiment expanded (comparative and crossing study) with seed material collected from San Gorgonio, San Bernardino, San Gabriel and Santa Ana Mountains to the south, and from the Santa Cruz and San Francisco Bay Areas.  Winter 2014.

– Chloroplast: length polymorphism discovered in Silene krantzii that distinguishes it from S. verecunda ssp. platyota and ssp. andersonii. Summer 2012.

– Common garden experiment initiated (comparative study) with some preliminary evidence supporting the recognition of Silene krantzii based upon morphology. Seed material collected from San Gorgonio summit populations of S. krantzii and from lower elevations along the Vivian Creek Trail for Silene verecunda, both in the San Bernardino Mountains, southern California. Spring 2012.

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