Boletín de la Sociedad Botánica de México
Print version ISSN 0366-2128
MUNOZ-URIAS, Alejandro et al. Anatomical and morphological variation in species and among Opuntia populations in the southern portion of Chihuahuan Desert. Bol. Soc. Bot. Méx [online]. 2008, n.83, pp. 1-11. ISSN 0366-2128.
Phenotypic variation in different populations of Opuntia cantabrigiensis, O. leucotricha, O. rastrera, O. robusta and O. streptacantha was evaluated by examining 28 anatomical and morphologic variables through discriminant analysis. These populations are separated from each other by distances ranging between 32 and 110 km. Altitude and annual average temperature showed no variation in the study area. Discriminant analysis separated populations of O. cantabrigiensis, which is the species having the lowest density (13 individuals ha-1), whilst some populations of other Opuntia species, whose densities were as high as 1,852 individuals ha-1, overlapped. No different ploidy levels were found among populations, although we recorded levels of ploidy between species that ranged from diploid (O. rastrera) to octoploid (O. streptacantha). Therefore, phenotypic differences between populations appear to be related to the density of individuals rather than to environmental variables, given the lack of environmental gradients or change in level ploidy.
Keywords : Anatomical and morphological variation; chromosome number; Opuntia; semi-arid environments.