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Title: Differences in flowering time maintain species boundaries in a continental radiation of Viburnum

We take an integrative approach in assessing how introgression and Pleistocene climate fluctuations have shaped the diversification of the coreLentagoclade ofViburnum, a group of five interfertile species with broad areas of sympatry. We specifically tested whether flowering time plays a role in maintaining species isolation.


RAD‐seq data for 103 individuals were used to infer the species relationships and the genetic structure within each species. Flowering times were compared among species on the basis of historical flowering dates documented by herbarium specimens.


Within each species, we found a strong relationship between flowering date and latitude, such that southern populations flower earlier than northern ones. In areas of sympatry, the species flower in sequence rather than simultaneously, with flowering dates offset by ≥9 d for all species pairs. In two cases it appears that the offset in flowering times is an incidental consequence of adaptation to differing climates, but in the recently diverged sister speciesV. prunifoliumandV. rufidulum, we find evidence that reinforcement led to reproductive character displacement. Long‐term trends suggest that the two northern‐most species are flowering earlier in response to recent climate change.


We argue that speciation in theLentagoclade has primarily occurred through ecological divergence of allopatric populations, but differences in flowering time were essential to maintain separation of incipient species when they came into secondary contact. This combination of factors may underlie diversification in many other plant clades.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
American Journal of Botany
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 833-849
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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