Systematic Relationship of Weeping Katsura Based on Nuclear Ribosomal DNA Sequences

in HortScience

Sequences of the internal transcribed spacers (ITS) of nuclear ribosomal DNA were used to examine genetic divergence of the two species of katsura [Cercidiphyllum japonicum Sieb. & Zucc. and Cercidiphyllum magnificum (Nakai) Nakai] and four clones of weeping katsura (`Amazing Grace', `Tidal Wave', `Pendulum', and `Morioka Weeping'), and to characterize the affinity of these weeping katsura to both species. Our results indicate that C. japonicum and C. magnificum are genetically distinct, supporting the recognition of them as separate species. Based on our DNA sequence data and morphological evidence, all weeping selections are phylogenetically derived from C. japonicum, not C. magnificum; nor are they of a hybrid origin between C. japonicum and C. magnificum. We propose the new cultivar-group Cercidiphyllum japonicum Weeping Group to include all katsura clones of weeping or pendulous habit, and recognize the cultivar epithet `Morioka Weeping' and its application to the excurrent and upright clone obtained from Japan and distributed in North America by the Arnold Arboretum.

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