The Witheringia solanacea complex consists of three species, W. asterotricha, W. meiantha, and W. solanacea, native to Central and South America. The three taxa are morphologically similar, and their distinctions and relationships have been the subject of taxonomic controversy. To investigate breeding systems and potential for hybridization among the taxa of the complex, two Costa Rican accessions per species were used in a crossing program. All plants were self-incompatible except for one accession of W. solanacea. Hybrid plants resulted from all crosses among accessions of W. asterotricha and W. solanacea. Most crosses were unsuccessful using W. meiantha in combination with either of the other two taxa. It is suggested that W. meiantha and W. solanacea be recognized as separate taxa, but that W. asterotricha be considered a synonym of W. solanacea.
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Vol. 32 • No. 1