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Research statement

Pteronia (L.) L. (Asteraceae; Astereae) is a large genus of shrubs with over 70 species. With the exception of one species in Zimbabwe, all taxa occur in Southern Africa. The center of diversity for Pteronia is the Karoo-Namib region of Southern Africa although 12 species occur in the fynbos biome in the Cape Region of South Africa (Goldblatt and Manning, 2000). Members of the genus cover vast expanses in the Karoo and often are often dominant taxa in many plant communities. Pteronia species are perennial and woody varying from dwarf shrubs to shrubs up to 1 meter tall. Morphologically the taxa have diversified with respect to leaf indumentum (glabrous to variously hairy), capitulescence (single heads to secondary capitula), leaf shape and arrangement (alternate or opposite), flower color (yellow, white, pink, or greenish, pappus size and color (white, yellow, red, and purple), and cypsela size, shape, and indumentum (msb.unm.edu/herbarium/pteronia). The species-level variation is virtually unknown due to the lack of detailed field and herbarium studies. The last major revision of Pteronia was published in 1917 by J. Hutchinson and E. P. Phillips. The genus has not beeen revised since 1917. The taxa are poorly known in terms of distribution and morphological variation within and among species. Several undescribed taxa are currently known. Furthermore little is known concerning the evolutionary relationships of the genus and its constituent species.

Tim Lowrey
Tim Lowrey is spearheading a collaborative research program to produce a monograph of the genus that will include data from morphology, ecology, DNA sequences, scanning electron microscopy, and species distributions. Collaborators include Paul Herman (South African National Biodiversity Insitute), Terry Hedderson (University of Cape Town), Tony Verboom (University of Cape Town), Sue Miton (University of Stellenbosch), and Ian Oliver (Karoo Desert Botanic Garden, Worcester, South Africa).

Last update: 16 February 2005, Jane Mygatt

 
 

Design: J. Mygatt, last updated 22 July 2005
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