Phenetic analyses were the basis for recognizing several distinct species within the Tovomita weddelliana species complex, requiring resurrection of synonyms and description of new taxa. The Tovomita weddelliana complex is characterized vegetatively by terminal leaves clustered near the branch apex, subsessile leaves, stipule-like scars around branches (observed to form from the developmental breaking away of the leaf blade bases from the stem at maturity), and prominent midrib with inconspicuous lateral veins. The coriaceous persistent sepals may also help distinguish the complex. Numerous herbarium specimens spanning all morphological variation and geographic distribution in the complex were measured for continuous morphological characters and subjected to multivariate and univariate analyses. Measured traits included vegetative and reproductive characters such as internode length, branch diameter, leaf morphology, pedicel length and thickness, peduncle length, and bud diameter. Canonical variates analysis (CVA) with sequential removal of distinct groups showed separation of all predetermined taxa, indicating that there are multiple morphologically distinct species currently subsumed under the name Tovomita weddelliana. Evidence based on locality and geography also elucidated the circumscription of the taxa within the species complex.
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Vol. 40 • No. 4