Document Type



Master of Science


Biology, Evolution

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Nathan Muchhala, Ph.D.


Carmen Ulloa, Ph.D.

Robert Marquis, Ph.D.


The genus Burmeistera (Campanulaceae) consists of approximately 120 species of herbaceous trailing shrubs, found mostly in cloud forests from Guatemala to Peru. Taxonomic work is difficult for the genus because of its relatively recent diversification (5–12 mya) and the morphological lability of its species. The last monograph for the genus was completed in 1943, followed periodically by country-level treatments. For Ecuador, the most recent treatment of Burmeistera was nearly 40 years ago, in Stig Jeppesen’s 1981 treatment in the Flora of Ecuador. Jeppesen’s treatment recognized 32 species and subspecies. Since then, nine new species have been described and hundreds of new specimens have been added to herbarium collections. This thesis contains two chapters focused on updating the taxonomy of the genus Burmeistera in Ecuador. Chapter one is an in-depth morphometric analysis of a particularly difficult clade found in Ecuador, unofficially called the recurved corolla clade (RCC). The RCC has been shown to be monophyletic, but species concepts in inherited taxonomies are difficult to apply to the current range of variation seen in herbarium specimens for the group. This chapter clarifies species boundaries for the group and recognizes two new species: Burmeistera melanocarpa and Burmeistera kitrinaima. An identification key to the group is provided, as well as a discussion of relationships and ecology for each species. Photographs or scans of herbarium specimens of each species and distribution maps are included. Chapter two is a full taxonomic treatment of the genus Burmeistera in Ecuador, including a taxonomic key for all species, descriptions of each species, distribution maps, and photos of species when available. The number of recognized species in Ecuador is brought to 52, and, including the two new species from Chapter One, a total of 12 new species are described in this work.