Anagallis arvensis subsp. foemina a relook

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Gurcharan Singh

Oct 7, 2012, 11:33:27 AM10/7/12
to efloraofindia
Dear members
I had uploaded this plant from Uri Kashmir in July 2010

 In light of my mail in the group Dec. 21, 2011 my plant from Kashmir should be Anagallis arvensis var. coerulea (L.) Gouan, Fl. Monsp. 2930. 1765., and not subsp. foemina which is now treated as a distinct species and is a distinct plant as per a a recent study:

Manns, Ulrika; Anderberg, Arne A. (2007). "Relationships of Anagallis foemina and Anagallis arvensis (Myrsinaceae): new insights inferred from DNA sequence data". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 45 (3): 971–980.

I am reproducing below the details of my earlier mail: 

The common pimpernel has confused both field workers and reputed authors alike, but luckily the confusion seems to have been resolved more recently. Carolus Linnaeus, the Father of Taxonomy described two closely related species of Anagallis:
Anagallis arvensis L., the scarlet pimpernel with orange-scarlet to scarlet flowers
Anagallis caerulea L., the blue pimpernel with blue flowers

The two are now treated as two varieties var. arvensis and var. caerulea (L.) Gouan of Anagallis arvensis L.

Schreber, Spic. Fl. Lips. 5 1771 described a related species Anagallis coerulea (note slight difference in spellings), also used by Lamarck, a taxon that had been long treated as same var. caerulea of A. arvensis. It was only in 1972 that Fergussen established it to be a synonym of a distinct species Anagallis foemina Miller (1768). The plant List treats this as Anagallis arvensis subsp. foemina (Mill.) Schinz & Thell. Important to note that this taxon always has blue flowers. This is how the two species can be differentiated:

Anagallis arvensis                                                                 Anagallis foemina
1. Flowers scarlet (var. arvensis) or blue (var. caerulea)   1. Flowers blue
2. Pedicel in flower longer than subtending leaf.                2. Pedicel in flower shorter or equal to the subtending  
3. Sepals shorter than petals especially in bud                  3. Sepals equalling or longer than petals especially in 
4. Petal margins overlapping                                              4. Petal margins not overlapping
5. Petal margins with numerous hairs tipped with               5. Petal margins with few or no hairs, which if present 
    globose glands                                                                   have elongate terminal cells.

Let us look for our blue pimpernel (blue flowered Anagallis) more closely in light of above information to find its exact identity. Who knows we may have both taxa in India.

Dr. Gurcharan Singh 
Retired  Associate Professor
SGTB Khalsa College, University of Delhi, Delhi-110007
Res: 932 Anand Kunj, Vikas Puri, New Delhi-110018.
Phone: 011-25518297  Mob: 9810359089
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