ETS and plastid sequence data indicate a spontaneous origin of Scandinavian betony, Betonica officinalis L.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background and aims: Betony (Betonica officinalis L.) is one of the rarest and most
spectacular plants in the Scandinavian flora. A long-term question has been whether it is spontaneous or introduced, or whether it comprises both spontaneous and introduced populations. This study aimed to answer this question by analyzing sequence data from the nuclear external transcribed spacer (ETS) region and three regions of the plastid genome, the trnT–trnL intergenic spacer (IGS) region, tRNA-Leu (trnL) intron, and the trnS–trnG IGS. Materials and methods: Altogether 41 samples from 11 European countries were analyzed. A unique duplication in the trnT–trnL IGS was detected in material from Skåne (southern Sweden), the “Skåne-duplication.” Populations with this duplication are united on a moderately supported branch in the phylogeny based on plastid sequences. A distinct heath genotype from Yorkshire was discovered in the phylogeny based on plastid sequences and in a comparative cultivation. Results: Phylogeny based on ETS sequences does not support any
Scandinavian group, whereas a principal coordinates analysis ordination based on variable ETS positions indicated a spontaneous origin for all Scandinavian populations, which comprise a genetically well-defined subgroup of the species, most closely related to other spontaneous populations from adjacent parts of continental parts of northern Europe. Discussion: Seven possible naturally occurring localities remain in Scandinavia, five in central Skåne, southernmost Sweden, and two on the southwestern part of the Danish island of Lolland.


External organisations
  • Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus- Senftenberg
  • University of Bradford
  • University of Hohenheim
  • Lund University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Botany


  • Betonica officinalis, Scandinavian distribution, phylogeography, plastid and ETS sequences, parsimony analyses, PCOA ordination
Original languageEnglish
Article number10.1556/019.70.2019.27
Pages (from-to)218-239
Number of pages22
JournalBiologia Futura
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Sep 25
Publication categoryResearch