<div><p>The Strait of Gibraltar, the gateway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, has a convulsive geological history, with recurring closing and opening events since the late Miocene. As a consequence, this region has played a major role in the evolutionary history of many species. <i>Cynara baetica</i> (Compositae) is a diploid perennial herb distributed in both sides of this strait. It is currently subdivided into two subspecies: <i>C</i>. <i>baetica</i> subsp. <i>baetica</i> for the Spanish populations, and <i>C</i>. <i>baetica</i> subsp. <i>maroccana</i> for the Moroccan ones. Following three different approximations of species delimitation, including phylogenetic and population genetic analyses (based on three AFLP primer combinations and two intergenic spacers of cpDNA), ecological niche modeling (ENM) and morphological studies, this taxon is investigated and reinterpreted. The results obtained showed a clear genetic, morphological and ecological differentiation between the two taxa and the important role played by the Strait of Gibraltar as a geographical barrier. Based on this evidence, the current taxonomic treatment is modified (both taxa should recover their specific rank) and specific conservation guidelines are proposed for the newly delimited taxa.</p></div
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