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25 October 2021 Taxonomic Reevaluation of Endemic Hawaiian Planchonella (Sapotaceae)
J. Christopher Havran, Stephan Nylinder, Ulf Swenson
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Planchonella (Sapotaceae) in Hawaii has a complicated taxonomic history that has resulted in considerable confusion among botanists and conservation practitioners. Up to seven different species and several varieties have been described in Hawaii, with the most recent taxonomic evaluation recognizing one species, P. sandwicensis. We have conducted a phylogenetic study of Hawaiian Planchonella using molecular (ETS, ITS, and RPB2) and morphological data to infer whether one or several species can be distinguished. In line with earlier research based on molecular data, we find that Planchonella in Hawaii is comprised of two well-supported clades distinguished by fruit color: yellow or purple. The purple-fruited clade contains individuals with flat leaf blades, long pedicels, and greenish corollas, a species corresponding to P. sandwicensis, distributed on all Hawaiian Islands except the island of Hawaii. The yellow-fruited clade possesses leaves that are frequently longitudinally rolled, wavy or distally deflexed, short pedicels, and yellow or cream (rarely greenish) corollas, a species corresponding to P. spathulata that is distributed on all Hawaiian Islands but is believed rare in Kauai. Both species can set fruit with aborted ovules, resulting in small fruits that look dissimilar to well-developed fruit. The species can occur in sympatry, where P. sandwicensis seems to be better adapted to slightly wetter forests and higher altitudes, whereas P. spathulata usually occurs at lower elevations in mesic to dry forests. Both species exhibit large morphological variation and overlap, resulting in many previous collections with inadequate label information, which has impeded correct taxonomic determinations. We refrain from recognizing infraspecific taxa because there is no morphological coherence, no molecular support, and it is unhelpful for species conservation. Five lectotypes are here designated. Both species are assessed for conservation status according to IUCN guidelines and are tentatively proposed as species of Least Concern.

© Copyright 2021 by the American Society of Plant Taxonomists
J. Christopher Havran, Stephan Nylinder, and Ulf Swenson "Taxonomic Reevaluation of Endemic Hawaiian Planchonella (Sapotaceae)," Systematic Botany 46(3), 875-888, (25 October 2021).
Published: 25 October 2021
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