Utricularia dichotoma subsp. novae-zelandiae

Utricularia dichotoma subsp. novae-zelandiae

An alpine form of Utricularia dichotoma subsp. novae-zelandiae

In light of the recent taxonomic revision of the Utricularia dichotoma complex by Jobson (2020), I revisited some of my old photos of Utricularia in the wild. One memorable example was this specimen of Utricularia found in the alpine swamps of the Tongariro National Park. Its small stature is reminiscent of Utricularia dichotoma subsp. monanthos, and was previously considered to be part of that taxon. However, Jobson’s genetic analyses show that all the Utricularia in New Zealand cluster as a group separate from Utricularia dichotoma subsp. monanthos from Australia. This group, denoted as the subspecies ‘novae-zelandiae‘ comprises all plants in New Zealand. The group has wide range in morphology with ecoclines between north and south, and across elevations. Its similarity to subsp. monanthos may simply be due to convergent evolution for alpine habitats.

Ref: Jobson Richard W., Baleeiro Paulo C. (2020) Radiations of fairy-aprons (Utricularia dichotoma, Lentibulariaceae) in Australia and New Zealand: molecular evidence and proposal of new subspecies. Australian Systematic Botany33, 278-310.

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