DNA BARCODING SUPPORTS AN EASIER IDENTIFICATION OF ALIEN PLANTS: THE CASE OF THE GENUS Physalis (SOLANACEAE) IN THE IBERIAN PENINSULA (SPAIN)
Keywords:alien species, European flora, floristic records, genetic markers, morphology, Spain, Solanaceae
In the present study, two species of the genus Physalis, P. acutifolia and P. angulata, are reported for the first time as casual aliens for Spain and, even for Europe, in the case of P. acutifolia. Their identification was based on a priori DNA barcoding study to reveal their taxonomic identification, which was followed by a posteriori morphological analysis to support the barcoding identification. As many authors have reported, the reduced and even inexistent information from local or regional Floras makes it difficult to distinguish those unreported taxa from distant geographical areas. Therefore, the successfully obtained results would highlight the importance of using an integrative taxonomic approach for further unidentified alien plant species. Detailed descriptions of both species and a dichotomous key of the alien taxa of Physalis are provided to facilitate their morphological identification.