Morphological and Genetic Diversities of Habenaria radiata (Orchidaceae) in the Kinki Area, Japan

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Dec 30;22(1):311. doi: 10.3390/ijms22010311.


Floral organs have evolved from leaves for reproduction, and the morphological analyses help to understand the plant diversity and evolution. Habenaria radiata (syn. Pecteilis radiata) is a terrestrial orchid living in wetlands in Japan, Russia, South Korea, and China. The habitats of this plant in Japan have been reduced because of environmental destruction and overexploitation, and thus it is on the Red List of Japan as a Near Threatened species. One of the three petals of the H. radiata flower is called a lip or labellum, which resembles a flying white bird, egret, or white heron, with its proposed function being to attract pollinators. To understand the diversity of H. radiata plants in different areas, we examined the lip morphology and phylogeny of populations from eight habitats in the Kinki area, Japan. The complex shapes of the lips were quantified and presented as a radar chart, enabling characterization of the morphological difference among populations. Phylogenetic analysis with microsatellite markers that we generated showed the variation of genetic diversity among populations, suggesting the different degrees of inbreeding, outbreeding, and vegetative propagation. Our approach offers a basic method to characterize the morphological and genetic diversity in natural populations.

Keywords: Habenaria radiata; Orchidaceae; hawkmoth; lip (labellum); microsatellite; phylogeny.

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Plant
  • Flowers / anatomy & histology
  • Flowers / genetics
  • Genetic Association Studies*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genotype
  • Japan
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Orchidaceae / anatomy & histology*
  • Orchidaceae / classification
  • Orchidaceae / genetics*
  • Phenotype*
  • Phylogeny


  • DNA, Plant