Phegopteris excelsior (Thelypteridaceae): A New Species of North American Tetraploid Beech Fern

  • Nikisha R. Patel University of Vermont
  • Susan Fawcett University of Vermont
  • Arthur V. Gilman University of Vermont
Keywords: Allopolyploid, apogamy, apomixis, cryptic species, hybrid speciation, Phegopteris, Thelypteridaceae


Since the 1970s, an apomictic tetraploid beech fern (genus Phegopteris (C. Presl) Fée) has been known in northeastern North America. Previously published isozyme data suggest that this lineage is of allopolyploid origin involving long beech fern (P. connectilis (Michx.) Watt.) but not broad beech fern (P. hexagonoptera (Michx.) Fée), as originally hypothesized. Its second progenitor remains unknown. We performed a principal components analysis of the apomict and its North American congeners to elucidate morphological differences between them. We recognize the apomictic tetraploid at specific rank as P. excelsior N. R. Patel & A. V. Gilman and provide an illustration, a range map, a list of exsiccatae, and a key to Phegopteris species of North America.

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