Glenda Gabriela Cárdenas Ramírez*, Samuli Lehtonen & Hanna Tuomisto
University of Turku, Turun Yliopisto, 20014 Finland
firstname.lastname@example.org*, Tel: +358 2 333 5635
The neotropical fern genus Salpichlaena (Blechnaceae) is interesting both because it has an unusual climbing habit and because there has been much debate during the past three decades about how many species the genus contains. Some researchers recognize 2 or 3 species in the genus whereas others consider there to be just one. The habit of these plants has caused some difficulty for taxonomical work. They have twice pinnate twining leaves that can grow more than 15 m long, and the pinnae vary considerably in both size and shape according to their distance from the rhizome. We have now systematically observed 62 morphological traits on 183 herbarium specimens of Salpichlaena. We have also sequenced three plastid genes (rbcL, rpoC1 and rps4), two plastid intergenic spacers (trnH-psbA and trnG-trnR) and a nuclear gene (pgiC) from 46 Salpichlaena and nine out‐group specimens to run phylogenetic analyses. We found that pinnule apex shape, margin and texture of the lamina, shape of scales of the costules, buds and stomata are the most informative traits for distinguishing the species. Our preliminary results indicate the presence of at least three species in the genus Salpichlaena, and that their distribution is related to geographical and ecological factors.