Are Palmer’s Elm-Leaf Goldenrod and the Smooth Elm-Leaf Goldenrod Real? The Angiosperms353 Kit Provides Within-Species Signal in Solidago ulmifolia s. l.

J. Beck, M.L. Markley, M.G. Zielke, J.R. Thomas, H. Hale, L.D. Williams, and M.G. Johnson, Systematic Botany (2022).

This paper was a collaboration with James Beck’s lab at Wichita State University.

Abstract—The genus Solidago represents a taxonomically challenging group due to its sheer number of species, putative hybridization, polyploidy, and shallow genetic divergence among species. Here we use a dataset obtained exclusively from herbarium specimens to evaluate the status of Solidago ulmifolia var. palmeri, a morphologically subtle taxon potentially confined to Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri. A multivariate analysis of both discrete and continuous morphological data revealed no clear distinction between S. ulmifolia var. palmeri and Solidago ulmifolia var. ulmifolia. Solidago ulmifolia var. palmeri’s status was also assessed with a phylogenomic and SNP clustering analysis of data generated with the “Angiosperms353” probe kit. Neither analysis supported Solidago ulmifolia var. palmeri as a distinct taxon, and we suggest that this name should be discarded. The status of Solidago delicatula (formerly known as Solidago ulmifolia var. microphylla) was also assessed. Both morphological and phylogenetic analyses supported the species status of S. delicatula and we suggest maintaining this species at its current rank. These results highlight the utility of the Angiosperms353 probe kit, both with herbarium tissue and at lower taxonomic levels. Indeed, this is the first study to utilize this kit to identify genetic groups within a species.