SYSTEMATICS OF TRILLIUM OVATUM L FORMA HIBBERSONII TAYLOR & SZCZAWINSKI

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  • 1 Plant Science Dept., Univ. of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. V6T IZ4, Canada

The forma now known as Trillium ovatum L. forma hibbersonii Taylor & Szczawinski (Liliaceae) was first discovered on the west coast of Vancouver Island, B.C., in 1938 by Jack Arthur Hibberson (Holotype UBC 73131). The obvious morphological differences that characterize the forma hibbersonii from T. ovatum are the dwarfing of all its parts, pink not white flower color at anthesis, and narrow lanceolate leaves. Although it has gained popularity as a garden plant, it has received very little attention in the scientific community. A description and designation as a distinct species (T. hibbersonii) was published by L. Wiley in 1968 but was considered invalid. The 1975 valid publication by T.M.C. Taylor and A.F. Szczawinski designated this taxon at the intraspecific level of forma. The present study was initiated to provide a comprehensive reevaluation of the taxonomic status: forma, separate species, subspecies, or variety? A change in taxonomic status from forma to species would elevate the taxon from rare to endangered status. This study considers morphological differences and flavonoid analysis of samples from both natural populations and cultivated plants. Habitat, dormancy requirements, and breeding strategy also were considered. Initial investigation using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) indicates this method is another valuable tool for distinguishing between the taxa.

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