ABSTRACT

Molecular analyses and cytological data have shown that Silene multinervia, which has always been placed in section Conoimorpha and often regarded as a heterotypic synonym of S. coniflora, is a separate taxon in a distinct clade. A comparison between S. multinervia and the members of section Conoimorpha is provided, showing that the species can be distinguished by both vegetative (plant height) and reproductive (flower number per inflorescence, calyx vein number, calyx length, petal apex shape, fruit length, carpophore length, and seed diameter) characters. Cytological, molecular, and morphological evidence support recognition of S. multinervia as a member of a new section endemic to southwestern California and northwestern Mexico (Baja California). Therefore, Silene sect. Californicae, sect. nov. (type: S. multinervia) is here proposed.

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