A MULTIVARIATE MORPHOMETRIC ANALYSIS OF THE GENUS LOTUS L., 1753 (FABACEAE, LOTEAE) FROM EGYPT

Abstract

This study aims at examining and confirming the patterns of phenetic relationships and the levels of variations within and among the species of Lotus L., 1753 in Egypt by using morphometric analysis techniques. We have evaluated 24 morphological characters from about 300 herbarium specimens representing 19 species of Lotus that are currently recognized. Based on numerical analyses of macromorphological characters (cluster analysis, principal coordinate analysis and principal component analysis), 19 species of Lotus were recognized from Egypt. These species were clustered in six species-specific groups: (I) Lotus halophilus Boiss. & Spruner, L. angustissimus L., L. glinoides Delile and L. schimperi Steud. ex Boiss., (II) Lotus glaber Mill. and L. palustris Willd., (III) Lotus polyphyllos E.D. Clarke, L. creticus L. and L. cytisoides L., (IV) Lotus gebelia Vent., L. lanuginosus Vent. and L. arenarius Brot., (V) Lotus edulis L., L. tetragonolobus L. and L. conjugatus L. and (VI) Lotus ornithopodioides L., L. peregrinus L., L. arabicus L. and L. hebranicus Hochst. ex Brand.As a result of this study, we proposed that some characters, not previously examined in detail, showed significant characters in species delimitation: pod length, seed dimensions, features of upper and lower leaflets, calyx, length of corolla, length of style, numbers of flowers and ovules.