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Ramalina celastri is a highly variable, widely distributed pan-subtropical lichen species. In Australasia the species had been separated into two subspecies; R. celastri subsp. celastri and R. celastri subsp. ovalis. This study compares morphological variation, substratum preference and sequences of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and intergenic spacer (IGS) regions of ribosomal DNA from a range of specimens from New Zealand and one from Australia. Bayesian and ML trees generated using the sequence data form two well-supported clades corresponding to the two previously recognized subspecies. Molecular, morphological and geographical differences support the recognition of R. ovalis at the species rank.
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