Plant Diversity ›› 2021, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (04): 292-298.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2021.04.003

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Rhododendron kuomeianum (Ericaceae), a new species from northeastern Yunnan (China), based on morphological and genomic data

Yu-Hang Changa,b, Gang Yaoa,b, Jens Neilsenc, De-Tuan Liua,b, Lu Zhangd, Yong-Peng Maa,b   

  1. a Key Laboratory for Integrative Conservation of Plant Species with Extremely Small Populations, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan 650201, China;
    b Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan 650201, China;
    c Dobbies Garden Centre, UK-DD2 Perth, Scotland, UK;
    d Flower Research Institute, Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Kunming, Yunnan 650051, China
  • Received:2020-09-28 Revised:2021-04-07 Online:2021-08-25 Published:2021-09-07
  • Contact: Yong-Peng Ma
  • Supported by:
    We are grateful to Mrs. Rongmei Zhang for the botanical line drawing, Mr. Lianyi Li for the microscopic scanning of the leaf surface, Ms. Songting Du, Mrs. Wei Wei, and Mr. Yechun Xu for providing photos and Mr. Fengmao Yang for help during fieldwork. We also thank Mr. Shiwei Guo for his constructive comments on the manuscript. This study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31770418 and No. 31760231) the Youth Innovation Promotion Association, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. 2018428), and the Reserve Talents for Academic and Technical Leaders of Middle-aged and Young People in Yunnan Province (Grant No. 2018HB066).

Abstract: Rhododendron kuomeianum Y.H. Chang, J. Nielsen & Y.P. Ma, a new species of Rhododendron (Ericaceae) within subsect. Maddenia in sect. Rhododendron from Yiliang County, NE Yunnan, China, is described and illustrated. The new species is similar to R. valentinianum, but it can be easily distinguished by its sparse scales on the abaxial surface of the leaf blade, fewer flowers per inflorescence and white corolla with pale red margins. There are also differences in the widths of calyx lobes, leaf blade shape and indumentum characteristics of the petiole between the new species and Rhododendron linearilobum. We confirmed that R. kuomeianum is a new species closely related to R. valentinianum and R. changii with phylogenomic studies of 10 species within this subsection based on restriction site-associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq) data. These phylogenomic analyses also clarified additional taxonomic problems in this subsection previously raised by morphological analysis. Our findings make a strong case for using next-generation sequencing to explore phylogenetic relationships and identify new species, especially in plants groups with complicated taxonomic problems.

Key words: New species, RAD-seq, Phylogenetic position