The genus Alstroemeria encompasses approximately 80 species endemic to South America, with 2 centers of diversity (Chile and Brazil). In Chile, Alstroemeria represents one of the most diverse genera of vascular monocotyledons, comprising more than 50 recognized or accepted taxa (36 species, 11 subspecies and 10 varieties) from which ca. 82% are endemic to the Mediterranean zone of central Chile, one of the world’s diversity hotspots. The taxonomy of the genus is very difficult due to the great variability of the vegetative and floral traits. Moreover, a number of taxa have been recently described and several nomenclatural changes have been proposed. In order to elucidate the taxonomy of some Chilean complexes of Alstroemeria, an integrative approach including morphology, colorimetry, cytogenetic, multivariate statistical analyses of morphological variation and DNA-molecular studies have been conducted. In this chapter, we review the literature concerning these approaches; a checklist of the species growing in Chile is provided including all published names, references to the original protologues, accepted names, synonyms and the biogeographic status (endemic or native) of the accepted taxa; maps illustrating the diversity of the genus in South America and its distribution in Chile were constructed.
Part of the book: Selected Studies in Biodiversity