Bletia purpurea is the most widespread species in its genus. Morphological variation has been recognized throughout the range of its distribution. In this paper, the morphological variation from 63 populations (583 individuals) of Bletia purpurea is assessed to determine whether more than one species were present. Forty-four quantitative and qualitative characters were examined by univariate analyses and exploratory multivariate analyses. Univariate analyses indicate that quantitative characters such as lateral sepal width, petal width, lip length, and lip width are significantly different for populations from Acazónica, Mexico. Floral parts in the populations from Acazónica are the smallest among all populations. Qualitative characters such as petals covering the lip midlobe and horizontal lip position are found exclusively in the same populations. We concluded that these populations should be described as a new species, B. riparia. Multivariate analyses indicated that morphological variation among the other populations cannot be ascribed to geographic distribution or ecological factors.
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Vol. 54 • No. 2