The ancestry, phylogenetic differentiation and systematic classification of the worldwide-distributed genus Anemone have been debated for many years. In this paper 11 Anemone, three Pulsatilla species and Hepatica nobilis were subjected to detailed karyotype analysis with the aim of obtaining new cytogenetic data that will contribute to karyotype evolutionary studies of the tribe Anemoninae. The results are interpreted in a phylogenetic context, established from the intergenic nontranscribed spacer (NTS) of 5S rDNA and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) of 35S rDNA. One to three 35S and one to three 5S rDNA loci are present in diploid and polyploid taxa. The 35S rDNA loci are located terminally on the short arm of acrocentric chromosomes, while for 5S rDNA there is no preferential chromosomal position as it exhibits terminal, subterminal, interstitial or pericentromeric positions, and is located either on acrocentric or metacentric chromosomes. The karyotype of hexaploid A. baldensis (2n = 6x = 48) is presented for the first time, and A. sylvestris is proposed as one of its putative parental species. Chromosome fusion/translocation is proposed as the key mechanism involved in reduction of the basic chromosome number from 8 in the Anemone subgenus to 7 in the Anemonidium subgenus. The cytogenetic data obtained are mainly supported by ITS and NTS phylogeny. Diversification of the genus Anemone was accompanied by a large reduction of heterochromatin, from the Mediterranean anemones that have large amounts of heterochromatin to the New World anemones without any detectable heterochromatic blocks.
© 2011 German Botanical Society and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands.