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Phenoplasticity of the Egyptian Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik. morphotypes

Botany and Microbiology Department, Faculty of Science, Cairo University, Giza 12613, Egypt
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(Received : April 13, 2019; Accepted : June 20, 2019)


Capsella is a monospecific genus in the Egyptian Flora represented by C. bursa-pastoris. The worldwide taxonomic complexity of this species is related to its wide range of phenotypic diversity. In Egypt, the field observations of C. bursa-pastoris showed the presence of high degree of phenotypic variations with and within populations. The taxonomic revision of C. bursa-pastoris was carried out on 102 populations, including 36 old populations (herbarium specimens dating to nine decades ago) and 66 recently collected ones covered the geographical range of this species in Egypt. The morphological investigation of all populations showed the presence of three morphotypes based mainly on the basal leaves composition : Lobed “L” with lobed basal leaves; Simple “S” with simple basal leaves, and Lobed-Simple “LS” with both lobed and simple basal leaves on the same individual. The “LS” morphotype had the highest phenotypic diversity among the identified morphotypes. The three morphotypes had the same geographical distribution in Egypt, and all traced as co-distributed populations in the different localities. Therefore, no significant environmental effect on the distribution of the identified morphotypes or phenotypic variations may be attributed to genetic factors. Significant infra-specific diversity in pollen grain characters between the three studied morphotypes was observed and discussed regarding size, apertures and exine ornamentation. Our data indicated the taxonomic potentiality of pollen traits for characterization of the Egyptian C. bursa-pastoris morphotypes.
Key words :Capsella bursa-pastoris, morphotypes, infra-specific diversity, pollen grains