Despite nearly a century of research, the systematic relationships among North American pitcher plants in the genus Sarracenia (Sarraceniaceae) remain unresolved. In this study we analyzed pollen morphology of the 11 currently recognized species of Sarracenia and examined how variations in key pollen characteristics relate to our current understanding of the taxonomy of this genus. We used principal components analysis to explore variations in pollen grain size (equatorial diameter and length) and shape (number of colpi) among Sarracenia species, and used cluster analysis to compare systematic groupings of Sarracenia based on floral, vegetative, and pollen characters. We compared these results with a previously published phylogeny based on molecular data. Groupings based on pollen characteristics alone did not align completely with those based on molecular or all morphological data. In clusters based on pollen alone and those using all morphological characters, S. purpurea and S. rosea formed a single group, and S. flava, S. alata, and S. leucophylla grouped together consistently. The pollen morphology of S. jonesii and S. alabamensis differed substantially from that of S. rubra, supporting the current systematic treatment of the genus that recognizes these three taxa as distinct species.
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Vol. 113 • No. 955