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New tree species described from the island of Gotland

Hybrids between rowan, Sorbus aucuparia, and hybrid mountain ash, Sorbus hybrida, exist in only a few places around the Baltic Sea, on the Swedish island of Gotland and in southern Norway. On rare occasions these hybrids reproduce on their own and become clones of the original hybrid. Researchers have now proven that these clones are distinct from each other and constitute new species.
Habitat where garderönn, Sorbus atrata, grows.
Habitat in the southeastern part of Gotland where garderönn, Sorbus atrata, has been discovered. Photo: Mikael Hedrén

New tree species are hardly ever found in Sweden according to Mikael Hedrén, professor at the Department of Biology at Lund University. Nevertheless he and his colleagues can now describe two new species.

One is named bungerönn, Sorbus faohraei, and has been disovered at the northern part of the island of Gotland. The other one, garderönn, Sorbus atrata, has been found in the southeastern part of the island.

Close up photo of bungerönn, Sorbus faohraei.
Bungerönn, Sorbus faohraei. Photo: Mikael Hedrén

”Despite that they have the same parental species they differ between each other depending on where on Gotland they have been found”, says Mikael Hedrén.

The study has been performed by Mikael Hedrén together with Joel Levin at the Botanical garden in Lund and fellow researchers from the UK. They have studied the parental species and bungerönn and garderönn and analyzed the shape of the leaves and compared them. They have also analyzed the genetical structure of the clones and the parental species.

”The results show that garderönn and bungerönn are uniform within their own species, but differ between each other”, Mikael Hedrén says.

Close up photo of garderönn, Sorbus atrata.
Garderönn, Sorbus atrata. Photo: Mikael Hedrén

The results are published in an article in Nordic Journal of Botany.
Jan Olsson

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