Ongoing evolution in the genus crocus: Diversity of flowering strategies on the way to hysteranthy

Teresa Pastor-Férriz, Marcelino De-Los-Mozos-Pascual, Begoña Renau-Morata, Sergio G. Nebauer, Enrique Sanchis, Matteo Busconi, José-Antonio Fernández, Rina Kamenetsky, Rosa V. Molina

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


Species of the genus Crocus are found over a wide range of climatic areas. In natural hab-itats, these geophytes diverge in the flowering strategies. This variability was assessed by analyzing the flowering traits of the Spanish collection of wild crocuses, preserved in the Bank of Plant Germplasm of Cuenca. Plants of the seven Spanish species were analyzed both in their natural environments (58 native populations) and in common garden experiments (112 accessions). Differences among species observed in the native habitats were maintained under uniform environmental conditions, suggesting a genetic basis for flowering mechanisms. Two eco-morphological types, au-tumn-and spring-flowering species, share similar patterns of floral induction and differentiation period in summer. The optimal temperature for this process was 23 °C for both types. Unlike Irano-Turanian crocuses, spring-flowering Spanish species do not require low winter temperatures for flower elongation. Hysteranthous crocuses flower in autumn prior to leaf elongation. We conclude that the variability in flowering traits in crocuses is related to the genetic and environmental regulation of flower primordia differentiation and elongation prior to emergence above the soil surface. The elucidation of the physiological differences between eco-morphological types of crocuses: synanthous with cold requirements and synanthous and hysteranthous without cold requirements, unlocks a new approach to the flowering evolution of geophytes in Mediterranean regions. Crocus species can serve both as a new model in the study of the molecular basis of hysteranthy and for the purposes of developing the molecular markers for desirable flowering traits.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-18
Numero di pagine18
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021


  • Biodiversity
  • Flower development
  • Flowering time
  • Genetic variability
  • Hysteranthous
  • Synanthous


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