Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Foster Levy

Committee Members

Dhirena Kumar, Timothy D. McDowell


Phacelia purshii Buckley and P. fimbriata Micheaux are two species that are nearly morphologically indistinguishable. Seed germination experiments showed that the high elevation endemic, P. fimbriata requires lower temperatures to trigger germination. Following interspecific crosses, pollen tubes enter ovules and maternal tissue of the gynoecium matures but hybrid diploid and triploid organs fail to develop. DNA sequences from the ribosomal DNA internal transcribed region showed that P. fimbriata and P. purshii comprise a monophyletic clade but that P. fimbriata is more differentiated from related species. In contrast, P. purshii supported significantly higher levels of intraspecific polymorphism. Phacelia fimbriata and P. purshii are sister species with similar morphology but they are unable to hybridize, they are differentiated in physiological characteristics related to environment, and they inhabit different elevations. This pattern of relationship and differentiation suggests P. fimbriata may be the product of ecological speciation.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.

Included in

Botany Commons