Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 305, Issue 2, pp 169–180 | Cite as

Morphometric analysis and the distinction between Tibouchina hatschbachii and T. marumbiensis: morphological differentiation driven from the past

  • Fabiano R. MaiaEmail author
  • Renato Goldenberg
Original Article


The taxonomic delimitation of Tibouchina hatschbachii and T. marumbiensis has been subject to some controversy. According to the original descriptions, plants from grasslands on sandstone areas were identified as T. hatschbachii, whereas plants from grasslands on granite as T. marumbiensis. Due to a considerable morphological overlap, T. marumbiensis has been recognized as a synonym of T. hatschbachii, which has yet to be quantitatively investigated in natural populations. Genetic studies have shown that recent geological movements in the Ribeira do Iguape valley (RIV) region have influenced these species distributions. These events generated two geographically structured genetic lineages, apparently separated by pre- and post-zygotic reproductive barriers, which may be reflected in the morphological variation found in them. In order to investigate these morphological patterns, twenty-two morphological characters were measured for 148 specimens from nine localities and evaluated using multivariate analyses. Our results do not support the synonymization of T. marumbiensis under T. hatschbachii. Two morphological groups structured by RIV were consistent in all analyses. Group I contains all populations on sandstone plus two populations on granite, all to the west of RIV; group II comprises two populations on granite, both to the east of RIV. We therefore suggest a new circumscription for T. hatschbachii and T. marumbiensis. In this case, T. hatschbachii would be represented by the populations to the west of RIV and recognized by the smaller floral and vegetative structures, whereas T. marumbiensis would be represented by the populations to the east of RIV, with larger floral and vegetative structures.


Melastomataceae Multivariate analyses Numerical taxonomy Phenetics Plant morphology Species delimitation 



We thank “Instituto Ambiental do Paraná” (IAP), “Instituto Florestal de São Paulo” and “Companhia Paranaense de Energia” (COPEL) for the permits and access to the study areas and V. R. C. Maia for valuable help in the field. Special thanks are due to V. P. Zwiener, who generously helped us to construct the sampling map. The authors thank V. L. G. Brito, S. Koehler, A. Barbosa, C. Palma-Silva, M. I. Zucchi, P. E. A. M. Oliveira, A. P. Souza and T. Bochorny for useful comments on previous versions of the manuscript. Financial support was provided by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq; 457510/2014-5). CNPq also supported FRM’s Ph.D. scholarship and RG’s research productivity fellowship.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

606_2018_1560_MOESM1_ESM.docx (23 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 22 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biologia Vegetal, Instituto de BiologiaUniversidade Estadual de CampinasCampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Botânica, Centro PolitécnicoUniversidade Federal do ParanáCuritibaBrazil

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