A New Variety of Phacelia Dubia (Hydrophyllaceae) and a Summary of Variation and Biogeography of the P. Dubia Complex

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Occurrences of Phacelia dubia in the Piedmont of South Carolina have been taxonomically enigmatic. Prior work had shown that there was partial reproductive isolation when plants from South Carolina were hybridized with any of the other varieties but evidence of morphological differentiation was lacking. In this study, a new morphological analysis showed South Carolina plants differed significantly in corolla lobe size, sepal size, and leaf dissection in comparisons with neighboring varieties, P. dubia var. dubia and P. dubia var. georgiana. A preponderance of evidence showing differentiation from all other varieties supports recognition of a new variety, P. dubia var. rionensis. Field work and an updated analysis of herbarium records showed the new variety is found in nine contiguous counties in the central and northern Piedmont of South Carolina and two counties in the inner Coastal Plain. We posit a hypothesized biogeographic pathway based on migration of a P. dubia ancestor from the Great Plains or Mexico to the Nashville Basin cedar glades, then to South Carolina piedmont granite outcrops, followed by a migration south to Georgia and Alabama piedmont granite outcrops and a separate migration north to rocky woodlands in North Carolina.