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Morphological description of seeds is a required step for analysis of biodiversity in natural populations and may give clues to adaptive strategies in species evolution. A cardioid is the curve described by a point of one circumference rolling around another circumference of equal radius. Models based on adjustment of seed shape with cardioid curves have been described for Arabidopsis thaliana and the model legumes Lotus japonicus and Medicago truncatula. In this work the model is applied to analyze seed morphology in populations of two subspecies of Capparis spinosa growing in Tunisia. Adjustment of seed images to cardioid curves, followed by statistical analysis of similarity in the complete images as well as in each of four quadrants, allows an accurate description of seed shape. The results show differences in morphology between subspecies. Seeds of subsp. rupestris present higher diversity of shape than seeds of subsp. spinosa. This may indicate primitiveness of C. subsp. rupestris seeds, associated with nonspecialization. The results are discussed in relation to the ecological strategies of both subspecies in their evolution.
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