Salient features of the first meiotic division are independent segregation of chromosomes and homologous recombination (HR). In non-sexually reproducing, homozygous species studied to date HR is absent. In this study, we constructed the first linkage maps of homozygous, bivalent-forming Oenothera species and provide evidence that HR was exclusively confined to the chromosome ends of all linkage groups in our population. Co-segregation of complementary DNA-based markers with the major group of AFLP markers indicates that HR has only a minor role in generating genetic diversity of this taxon despite its efficient adaptation capability. Uneven chromosome condensation during meiosis in Oenothera may account for restriction of HR. The use of plants with ancient chromosomal arm arrangement demonstrates that limitation of HR occurred before and independent from species hybridizations and reciprocal translocations of chromosome arms-a phenomenon, which is widespread in the genus. We propose that consecutive loss of HR favored the evolution of reciprocal translocations, beneficial superlinkage groups and ultimately permanent translocation heterozygosity.